Imagine spending your entire life in a cage that is 6 inches taller than you and 12 inches wider and longer than you. Now imagine that you are surrounded by identical cages, like yours stacked 3 or more high, your own personal tic-tac toe board from hell. In this cage is a water and food bowl. You have no choice but to soil your environment because you don't have anywhere else to go. Unfortunately, neither do the 2 or more captives stacked above you. The waste from the other captives could very possibly fall into your water and food bowls and there is nothing you can do about your condition.
Now, if this is not quite a bleak enough picture, let me add just a few more layers. The only time that you are allowed to escape this cage is that 'special time'. The times you are in heat and are able to become pregnant. During pregnancy you are returned to your cage. Special care of your additional nutritional needs during pregnancy are not met. Your own health declines as the few vitamins and minerals available are robbed from you because the fetuses need them more. Finally, your babies are born. Now, you are sharing your cage with your pups. No worries though, at the first possible time (and maybe a bit too early) your pups are weaned, separated, and shipped off for sale, Now your cycle will begin again, as it does over and over until you are no longer able to conceive.
Where do these puppies go? Mostly, they are distributed to major pet store chains. These puppies are shipped, bathed, and groomed then put in another cage, slightly better maintained, and sold to an unsuspecting consumer.
As you are reading this, I am sure that questions are flooding your brain. You really want to believe that no-one is really cruel enough to hurt defenseless animals, right? WRONG! Puppy mills began to spring up during extreme depression of our economy. Breeding and selling puppies was a way to make money with very little overhead costs. We all have seen greed. My description of a puppy mill is the result of greed and excess.
I felt it important to arm you with this knowledge so that it will put an exclamation point on the continued education about the value of pet adoption verses purchase when deciding to add one of our 4 legged friends to your family.
Some of the reasons commonly listed as reasons to purchase a dog rather than adopt:
My family wants a AKC Registered Pure Breed
Personal Breeders ensure that my puppy will be healthy and socialized
Dogs found in shelters are riddled with behavioral problems, that is how they got there
If I buy my dog, I will know his full personal history
Shelter dogs are all mutts and no-one knows the history of the animal
Rebuttal arguments for each of these reasons:
Specific Pure Breed shelters exist for most breeds.
Just Google "how to find a reputable dog breeder". Many so called breeders are really puppy mills who sell malnourished, sick, and genetically unsound dogs that can still be called pure bred and eligible for AKC registration.
Dogs end up in shelters for many reasons. Many are surrendered by owners who chose a dog that did not fit their lifestyle, or a major change in life left them no longer able to properly care for the dog. They are not all 'problem dogs'.
Buying a dog in a pet store, even a large chain pet store, is the very worst choice if you want complete history of a dog. The minimum wage store clerk will usually not even know where the dog was born. Again, many puppy mills provide even well known pet stores with their inventory.
Shelters will take a full history of any animal that is surrendered by owner. Because their main goal is to find homes for these dogs, they will spend time with the dog. Document or witness specific behaviors and socialization with other dogs and humans. It is likely that you will be able to have a very detailed history of any dog available for adoption in a shelter.
The decision to add a dog into your families lives is a major change of lifestyle. You will really need to do your research so that your final decision is the best 'fit' for your family. There are so many animals that can provide years of companionship and happiness to you that are just waiting to be adopted. They are innocent victims of our world and are helpless to change their own fate. I hope that through your research you will understand my passion for spreading the horrors of puppy mills and the rewards of dog adoption.