The Butterfly Effect

Among those that tower in summer, it is the smallest things that capture our attention –

and our hearts.

They work to feed, but in the process, they help to pollinate.

Without them – there would be no flowers.

They are not our only tiny visitors. Recently, we hosted five four-month-old puppies – although to look at them, you would think they were perhaps half their age.

“Breeder” rejects (I use that term in quotes because no reputable breeder would recognize this person as such) – they arrived malnourished, unsocialized, without vaccinations, and covered in feces and fleas.


Unsold, they were left to fend for themselves. I shudder to think what their fate might have been.

A few weeks later, they were thriving, happy, loved and loving pups ready to go home.

But these tiny things have a job to do – with your help.

Let their story and near plight inspire you to help pollinate education, please. Share with all you know the horrors of puppy mill breeders. Spread the word about the simple ways to identify and choose a responsible breeder. Create a butterfly effect.

For those who absolutely have their hearts set on a puppy, help us put puppy mill breeders out of business by sharing and embracing these important steps. (For the downloadable brochure, visit here.)

Chose a responsible breeder who:

  • Insists on meeting you and your family in person. This is the most important step you can take to make sure you’re getting a great puppy. Reputable breeders NEVER sell their beloved pups to strangers, pet stores, or over the internet.
  • Raises the puppies in the home, not a kennel. They will happily invite you to see where the pup has been raised. They are clean, well-kept, and have appropriate room to exercise.
  • Ask lots of questions about you, your family and how the puppy will be cared for and raised. They will also freely offer references.
  • Happily and proudly introduces you to the parents of the puppies. By meeting the parents – or, at the very least – the mom – you will get a sneak peek of the adult your puppy will become. The dog parents are healthy and well-socialized and never bred at ages too young or too old.
  • Socializes the puppies to people, places, and things.
  • Has a veterinarian individually examine and vaccinate each puppy and has verifiable proof of this.
  • Knows about the breed’s dispositions to certain genetic problems and has the dogs tested for them.
  • Provides a pedigree prior to purchase so you can search the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) database for health certificates.
  • Has active associations with local and/or national breed clubs, breed activities, agility training, dog shows, etc. They show a real interest in the breed other than selling dogs and they abide by the breed club’s Code of Ethics.
  • A reputable breeder is able to knowledgeably answer all of your questions – and welcomes them.
  • Guarantees that they will take their pups back at any point in their lives – for any reason – demonstrating a lifelong commitment to the puppies and to you.

Take the time to find the right breeder – not just for your dog’s sake – but for the sake of the breeding dogs and future pups to come. If the breeder you find does not meet these standards, walk away. If you see something that warrants a welfare check, contact your local animal control. If everyone followed these guidelines, disreputable breeders would be out of business. The butterfly effect: Changing one thing can change everything.

This has to stop

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I am angry.

Let me preface this with the understanding that this is a personal blog. When I speak here, I speak as an individual, not as a representative of the organization I volunteer with and love. With that out of the way…

There is a tremendous sense of fulfillment that comes with rescue. Blessings surround us daily. I heard a saying recently – “hard is hard”. There are certainly many hard things in rescue. Some of these are just strenuous physical challenges – some are difficult emotional challenges. I try to accept what comes our way with as much grace as possible: good people who surrender their dog through no fault of their own; others who surrender their dog for a myriad of reasons that, to me, are unfathomable (he got big; he got sick; my boyfriend doesn’t like him). I try to keep my judgement in check and focus on the best interest of the dog. There are dogs we could not help because they were simply dangerous; and there are those we said ‘goodbye’ to because it was unfair to let them suffer. These are the hard realities that sometimes accompany rescue. But there are some realities where grace escapes me altogether.

All across this country, rescue organizations are faced with an impossible moral dilemma as a result of irresponsible breeders who regard dogs solely as cash crops – puppy mills. Dogs that have been bred until they have outlived their usefulness; sick and broken puppies. If we take the dogs, we are enabling their operations. If we do not, the dogs are “disposed” of – often cruelly.

I am angry.

I am angry that good people with kind hearts are put in the impossible situation of having to make such a horrible choice.

I am angry that our weak laws, over-burdened law enforcement and under-funded courts make it possible for these operators to operate with impunity.

I am angry that I cannot be even more specific for fear of jeopardizing the lives of dogs we can save.

I am angry that intelligent people continue to create a market that supports this when there is a mountain of information available to put an end to it.

I am angry that dogs give us unconditional love and trust, while we allow this situation to continue.

This has to stop. If you must purchase a puppy instead of adopting, there are such obvious, simple, best practices to follow that would put an end to puppy mills. Like anything harmful to our earth and its inhabitants, if you want to stop a bad behavior – you have to stop the demand. We have the power to do that. Almost instantly. Please use it.

Here is a link to the Humane Society’s tips to avoid inadvertently supporting puppy mills. Please share them with everyone you know. http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/puppy_mills/tips/buying_puppy.html