July 2021
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Hope’s Dog Taxi Service

On Friday, I drove down to Quonset Airport in Rhode Island to pick up some puppy mill survivors for PAWS New England. Over 40 dogs were liberated from a puppy mill in Tennessee and many of them needed to be placed in foster care here in New England. Kristian and I decided to be realistic. While my heart ached for these poor dogs (seriously, look at the pictures on the post that I linked. They’re heartbreaking.), I knew that we just couldn’t take in a foster. Not only is Gracie terrible with small dogs, it seemed really unfair to our cats. They barely tolerate Gracie as it is. Bringing a pomeranian or a chinese crested water dog into the mix seemed like it would be just asking them to start pooping on our pillows out of protest.

So, I did the next best thing I could. I gave them a small monetary donation and I volunteered to help out in some other way. Which is how I ended up driving down to Rhode Island in rush hour traffic on a Friday night.

I picked up three dogs for their foster parents; two pomeranians and a chinese crested water dog. These poor things are severely traumatized. They fear humans (we had a hell of a time chasing them down in our dining room) because all they’ve ever known from us is abuse. The chinese crested was so matted, it had to be shaved. And all three dogs’ legs were permanently stained from living in their own filth. None of them would take a treat from me. They didn’t even understand the concept of a treat.

The dogs were flown up from Tennessee by Β a pilot who volunteered his services. Most of them were transported in individual carriers. When it came time to get the chinese crested out of her carrier, she put up a fight that made my cats efforts to stay out of their carriers look like pure obedience. It took two other volunteers and me to pull her out. One woman held the carrier at an angle, another looped a leash around the dog’s neck and I pulled up on her paws so she couldn’t brace herself with them. As far as she knows, she’s pulled out of her kennel and mistreated. Humans are cruel. Humans are abusive.

(I’m kindof feeling down on humans right about now).

(Sometimes, we really suck).

Once she was out of the carrier, I picked her up and she snuggled into my arms. We took a moment while I gently pet her and tried to murmur in a vaguely soothing manner. I think she calmed down a little, but I don’t think she ever stopped shaking.

One of the pomeranians was almost friendly. Almost. The other pomeranian appears to be in her own little world. The chinese crested is going to need a lot of love before she ever trusts one of us.

The drive back was fairly uneventful and their foster parents were incredibly prompt about picking them up. I can say, with no hesitation, that these three dogs are going to wonderful, loving homes. The type of person who takes in an emergency foster dog is my kind of person. Giant hearted.

If you’re like me, you’re currently thinking, “This is a terrible situation, what can I do?” Well, PAWS can always, always use donations. I offered up cookies and a copy of my CD in exchange for donations a few months ago and I’ll do that again now. If you donate $25 or more to PAWS, send me an email with a copy of your receipt and I’ll mail you an autographed copy of my CD. If you already have a copy of my CD, let me know in your email and I’ll send you a personalized mix CD instead. If you donate $50 or more, I’ll send you a CD and cookies.

If you want to help prevent situations like this from happening in the future, there are a few basic things that you can do (special thanks to my friend Rachel for helping to educate me even further about puppy mills. Check out her blog about raising a puppy, it’s amazing):

  • First and foremost, don’t ever never don’teventhinkaboutit buy a dog from a pet store. The vast majority of pet store dogs come from puppy mills. They might look all cute and happy in the store, but I can pretty much guarantee that their parents are living in misery and squalor.
  • Don’t buy anything from a pet store that sells puppies. I hadn’t thought about this one, but Rachel dropped that knowledge on me Friday. Purchases from pet stores that sell puppies indirectly help to support the puppy mill industry. You’re increasing their bottom line, and they’re using that bottom line to expand their puppy operations.
  • Many puppy mills are clever about how they sell their puppies. They will often sell them out of what looks like a personal residence. Be very careful about buying a puppy off of the internet/craigslist. It might seem like you’re purchasing somebody’s “whoops” but there’s a good chance that you’re buying a puppy that actually came out of a puppy mill.
  • If you want to be safe, don’t buy a dog that doesn’t come from a rescue group, a reputable breeder or someone that you know personally.

There are so many dogs out there that need good homes. If you’re looking for one, here’s a list of adoptable dogs from PAWS.

My apologies for getting up on my soap box, but sometimes it all just needs to be said. It saddens me that people will abuse animals, but I am greatly cheered by the fact that organizations like PAWS exist. The volunteers that I have worked with are some of the most loving, caring people that I’ve ever had the privilege to know. They’re doing good work and I’m so glad that I was able to do my own small part to help them.

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