To get our supporters more familiar with National Mill Dog Rescue, the beneficiary of funds from the PetHub/PBC Kiss Me I'm Rescued contest, we asked one of our long time PBC advocates and NMDR adopters, Lauren Bobick, to share her rescue stories with us. As you will see, the size of her heart is only matched by the passion she has for rescue dogs, and namely putting an end to puppy mills. We feel beyond fortunate to have Lauren as an advocate for our movement and a voice for rescue dogs everywhere!
How did you hear about PBC and what do you want others to know about it?
I first learned of Project Blue Collar a little over a year and a half ago via their Facebook page. I had followed several of the puppy mill survivors from National Mill Dog Rescue, and through these contacts, stumbled upon PBC. I thought, what an amazing idea! Bringing awareness to rescue dogs! I had dedicated my free time to several rescue groups here in the Albuquerque area. What great publicity it would be, to collar all these rescue dogs with a symbol of rescue pride! Through PBC, I was able to run a booth at Animal Humane New Mexico's Doggie Dash and Dawdle: a 5k walk/run with your pet. This event brings thousands of people and dogs out to support rescues. Thanks to PBC we collared several dogs, passed the rescue message, and raised money for AHNM!
How did you learn about NMDR?
National Mill Dog Rescue is near and dear to my heart. Just over one year ago, I adopted my first mill dog from them. Based in Colorado Springs, this group makes several trips a year to puppy mills across the Midwest to save hundreds of dogs. So far, they have saved over 9,000 dogs thanks to the vision of their founder, the great Theresa Strader. A puppy mill is where your pet store pup's parents come from... but its far from an ideal environment. Dogs are in rusty wire cages only a few inches longer than they are. No veterinary care. C-sections on pregnant dogs without anesthesia. Minimal food. Dirty water from a rabbit feeder causing severe tooth decay and sometimes the rotting away of the lower jaw. Ticks. Fleas. Disease. Neglect. When you buy a puppy from a store or online, chances are this is the life that pup's parents endure. And when the breeders are "done" with the animal... they kill them. And often times, not humanely. NMDR had made a deal with several breeders: When you no longer want a dog in your mill, please, give them to us. We will show them love, care, understanding.
I never knew about puppy mills until a few years ago. That's the main problem: education. Often people buy a puppy not knowing where it came from. Via the Facebook page for puppy mill survivor Lil Olive, my eyes were open to this terrible tragedy that we allow to continue in America. Puppy mills in most states are USDA regulated. Some states, like my home in New Mexico, have NO animal protection laws for puppy mills.
What have you learned through your experience adopting from NMDR?
January 26th, 2014 was the day I went to NMDR's main campus in Peyton, CO called Lily's Haven. I adopted a 3 pound toy poodle who I named Hermes. Hermes had only 3 teeth remaining at 3 years old due to neglect at the mill. He was emaciated and very scared. He did not know how to drink water out of a dish: we had to give him IV fluids for the first two weeks until he miraculously learned how to drink on his own. Hermes was the light of my life. He unfortunately passed only 8 months later, likely due to a congenital defect at the hands of the puppy mill breeders. Hermes was not meant to be so small: breeders keep making poodles and other breeds smaller and smaller to gear towards people who wish to carry small dogs around like accessories rather than companion pets. But Hermes got to know love and freedom in the end, and that's more than I ever could have hoped for.
This past December, once my heart began to heal, I went back to NMDR and adopted a 9 year old female toy poodle named Calliope, and a 5 year old toy poodle named Ike. Each has their own health concerns: Calliope has no teeth remaining; Ike has 3 teeth, a hunched back, and a heart murmur. But they are flourishing in freedom. They love each other so much! They are learning how to play with toys. They are loving being in the sunshine. They love their warm fluffy bed. Its the little things in life that make a puppy mill survivor happy: things we take for granted at times.
Calliope, Ike, and my other rescue dogs Sooie, Loki, Zeus and Penelope are all proud PBC ambassadors. They wear their collars all the time. Whenever we are out in public, especially with Ike since he gets so much attention, we talk to total strangers about puppy mills and rescue dogs. Often people ask, "What is that blue collar?" Just by wearing a blue collar, we have helped to pass on the word of puppy mills and rescue dog to hundreds of people. Calliope and Ike also have their own Facebook page to get the message out their to their over 4,000 followers. PBC and NMDR have changed my life. I am forever grateful to these organizations and what they do for the innocent animals. PBC is rescue pride. PBC is education. PBC is love.
What can people do to spread awareness about puppy mills?
Write your local congressmen/women. Bring up the conversation to friends, family, coworkers. Education is the key to ending puppy mills. If you know of someone wanting to buy a dog, discuss with them the horrors of puppy mills and point them in the direction of rescue. The argument "you can't get purebreds at a shelter" is categorically untrue. Often times more than half the dogs at shelters are purebreds. Also, there are several local rescues that specialize in specific breeds. Here in NM for example, we have a Chihuahua, Doberman, English Bulldog, Husky, and Lab rescue just to name a few.
CLICK HERE to enter the Kiss Me I'm Rescued Contest
CLICK HERE to visit the National Mill Dog Rescue website.