Recollections of a Puppy Mill Mom

Cindy on the “ground that moves” – my kayak

[NOTE:  Cindy the shih tzu has taken over today’s post.]

I first remember noise.  There was noise all around me.  I learned that it came from my mother, my brothers and sisters, and the others in the cages around us.  I made noise, too.

My family and I lived in one cage when all of us puppies were small.  When we got bigger, my sisters and I all got put into separate cages.  Some of my sisters went away, and I never saw them again.  One of my brothers got his own cage.  My other brother went away like my sisters. 

It was dark where we were.  We could see light outside, but we never went into the light.  The cage was on the ground, but below us it was brown.  It was green out in the light.  We stayed on the ground all the time.

A man came and put food and water in our cages, but he didn’t talk to us.  He cleaned up our messes sometimes.  He didn’t clean us or brush our fur, until someone else came to take one of us away.

When I got big, the man brought a boy dog and put him in my cage.  The boy dog got on top of me for a minute.  After he did that a few times, he was taken away, and I never saw him again.

Awhile later, I had puppies of my own.  I was given more food then.  I looked after my puppies the best I could.  I licked them, and they sucked from me, and we all cuddled together.  My puppies got big, and the man came and took them away.  I never saw them again.  I missed them and was sad and wondered where they were.

Another boy dog came to my cage and got on top of me.  After a little while, he was taken away, and I never saw him again. 

I had more puppies, and after I took care of them, they were taken away, too.  I don’t know where they are, but I wish I did.  I miss them.

Awhile after I had more puppies, a lady came, and the man gave me to her.  I was taken away, everything moved around me, and I was put in another cage.  There was noise there, too, but different noise.  Other dogs of all sizes.  There were animals like I’d seen where I lived, too.  They weren’t dogs.  I heard people look at them and say, “cats.”  Not at all like dogs. The people cleaned me and brushed me and cut my fur.

The people at the new place took me out into the light, and I got to stand on the green stuff.  It felt good, but I was afraid.  Afraid of everything.  I’d never seen these things before, and no one had ever touched me before except to press on my belly and look at my ears.  The people seemed to want something from me, but I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to hide. 

Some of the ground wasn’t flat, and I didn’t understand that.  The people picked me up and put me back in the cage.

Then a lady and a man came.  The people put me with the lady, and I was afraid, so I ran to a corner and hid my head.  The floor was cold on my paws.  The lady picked me up, and I couldn’t stop shaking.  She held me against her and covered me with something.  That had never happened before.  After awhile, I felt warm, and I wasn’t afraid anymore, and I went to sleep.

After the man and the lady left, it got dark and then light again.  The people where I was made a hurt on my leg, and I went to sleep, and when I woke up, my belly was sore. 

The man and the lady from before came back, and they took me with them.  The lady held me and everything moved around me.  We went into a place where there wasn’t very much noise.  There were cats in that place.  There were two big dogs, and another little dog, just like me. 

The lady put me on the ground, and I had never been in a place like this, so I hid my head and tried to be small.  The lady picked me up, then put me down into a soft place with the other little dog, who seemed like a mother to me.  I tried to hide, and the other dog lay with me.  I went to sleep.

The lady said, “Cindy,” when she looked at me, like the people in the place with the other dogs did.  Then she said, “You look like little Cindy Lou Who.”  I didn’t understand, but I liked the noise when she said, “Who-Who.”  Now that sound makes me feel so warm and happy, I put my tail up and dance.  I didn’t know I could do that.

A long time passed.  I heard many new noises and smelled new smells.  The other little dog and I ate together every day, and the food was like nothing I had ever had before.  It was good. 

I was afraid of the big dogs, but they didn’t hurt me.  One of the cats caught my fur, and the lady made him let me go.  The cat did that again and again, and one day, I barked at him!  I made the cat afraid!  The cat didn’t catch my fur anymore.

The man and the lady made me feel good, although I was afraid of the man at first, because he was big and I thought of the man where I’d lived before. 

I still don’t understand ground that isn’t flat, but the man and the lady move me from one piece of flat ground to another.  I don’t understand if anything is on the ground in front of me.  The big dogs go over it, but I can’t see how to do that, so I don’t move if something is in front of me.

One day, the lady and the man picked me up and picked my new sister up, and the big dogs were there, and we went in a big, moving box.  When we stopped, the lady put us on the ground, and it was a place I’d never been before.  I was afraid, so I hid my head.  My sister walked on the new ground, though, so I wasn’t afraid anymore, and I walked, too.  Since then, the lady and the man have taken us in the moving box to many new grounds, and my sister and I and the big dogs like to sniff the smells and walk in the green.

One time, the lady took me with her, and we sat on a ground that moved up and down.  It smelled a little bit like my water bowl.  I was afraid at first, but then I thought of my sister, who doesn’t see what is in front of her, but she isn’t afraid, so I wasn’t afraid on the moving ground then, either.

I have many soft places to sleep now, and I’m never in a cage.  I get special food called “treats” every day, and there are no more boy dogs who get on top of me.  I still wonder where my puppies are, but the lady and the man, my mommy and daddy, make me not afraid anymore, and I want to be with them always.

[Cindy was surrendered to a shelter when she was a year old.  She has a couple of facial tics (indicating possible neurological issues), so we suspect that she was only mated once or twice, and then was considered unfit to breed, making her one of the lucky ones. She was held in Amish country, where many puppy mills are sited, and where all too often, animals are nothing more than objects or tools.  We adopted her just before Christmas in 2018, and she’s come a long way toward being a normal dog, instead of a terrified, caged little girl who didn’t know what grass was.  She’s our second puppy mill mom rescue, and giving these dogs a life without fear and the physical hardship of bearing endless litters is well worth the time and effort it takes to rehabilitate them.  To see a terrified animal learn what love is, is a miraculous tribute to their capacity to forgive and to trust, despite the neglect they’ve suffered.]

on the couch in our family room

2 thoughts on “Recollections of a Puppy Mill Mom

    1. My husband and I are glad we can adopt needy cats and dogs. All 8 of the dogs we’ve had over the years have been rescues, along with all 20+ cats. Puppy mills are the worst, and Amish-run ones are the worst of the worst. They’re beyond cruel to their horses, too. Wish there was a way to abolish the mills altogether.

      Liked by 1 person

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