Friday, August 19, 2011

The Ugly Truth Of Puppy Mills

This is a big departure from what I usually write about. This entry is about the ugly truth that pet stores don't want us to know. The reason why I am writing about it is to lend a voice to the suffering animals. It is through creating awareness about the plights of these animals that we can do our part and make informed decisions to stop the brutality.

There are many kindhearted souls who are doing their best to help these poor dogs in Singapore and all around the world. Check out to learn more about cruel puppy mills and how greed drives humans to commit such heinous acts. Some photos on the site may be too graphic for some of you to handle, but it is by no means the truth and are not meant to shock you. The truth is out there, you just need to click the link to find out more.

Here's how my little fostering journey began. It all started last week on Friday, when I got in touch with to offer my help in fostering a rescued dog named Tinkerbelle. I have a sheltie of my own named Butter who is 15 months old.

This is Butter. My happy, healthy, balanced and well-trained sheltie. She is 15 months old and weighs 11.5kg.

Day 1 - This is Tinkerbelle on the day she came to us. Even though she is a sheltie like Butter, she's half the size of Butter despite being 2 years old. Sad, skinny, hairless, with itchy and flaky skin... and really stinky. She curled up in insecurity when she slept. At least she felt safe enough to sleep. :)

Day 2 - We gave her Butter's old bed to sleep in. Tinker felt safe and relaxed and now stretches out when she sleeps. Having slept on cold wet concrete floor for the past two years, this is one dog who appreciates the warmth of a soft bed. Gave her a bath with normal shampoo but she still smelled really bad. I had to use Dettol spray hourly to disinfect and to remove the funky smell in my apartment.

Day 3 - passed me the oral meds and a bottle of medicated shampoo that the vet prescribed for Tinker. It relieved her from the itch and she seemed to look and feel better. She also learnt how to use the pee tray. It took me less than 3 days to teach her the concept of doing her business on the pee tray. The trick is patience, supervision, and action. (Email me if you want to learn how I toilet trained Butter and Tinker).

Day 4 - Looking happier and in good spirits. It is amazing how TLC can transform a dog. Gave her some of Butter's toys to keep her company. Tinker's maternity instincts kicked in and I saw her licking the soft toys as if they were her puppies. I also socialise Tinker with Butter, and other dogs from the dog run and neighbourhood walk.

Day 5 - I got Tinker a little t-shirt to keep her warm (her hair is growing out). The t-shirt also serves an aesthetic purpose... so people can look at her pretty face and not judge her by her hairless body (for now).

I took her for daily walks with Butter. As Tinker is still learning how to walk (poor dog had never been walked, since she lived her life in a cage for 2 years), I had to carry her in a bag for most part of the journey.

Day 6 - Tinker has found her confidence and is now hanging out with Butter more. Dental chews are important in maintaining dental health of dogs. Tinker has very bad teeth when she first came to me but her conditions are now better as she has been chewing dental treats since day 2.

Day 7 - Tinker is now used to the routine at home. She will greet me in the morning or when I get home. She has also found her voice. She let out a little bark when she heard some noises outside. I was very relieved to hear her bark as I heard horror stories of dogs being debarked by having pipes rammed down their throats at puppy mills.

Day 8 - This is Tinker today. She learnt the commands "sit", "stay" and "ok". She now waits for my command before she approaches food or treats. She also learnt to go up and down stairs. She is a sweet and gentle dog who is willing to learn and please. There is a family that indicated interest in adopting her but she will be staying with me for a couple more weeks to learn basic obedience and manners.

I hope the story of Tinkerbelle will inspire you to adopt and not buy a puppy. Contrary to popular belief, rescued dogs are not damaged goods with emotional issues. With good and well-informed owners, rescued dogs can be happy and balanced without issues. Dogs move on from their PASTS, live in the PRESENT, with hope for their FUTURE.

Remember that you cannot buy a "perfect" dog, you can only train your dog to be "perfect". All dogs can be "perfect" with training and TLC. It depends on the owner, as the dog looks to the owner for guidance.

Please spread the message about puppy mills. Help put an end to the misery.

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