Thursday, May 6, 2010

Love Your Mama

Mother's Day is quickly approaching, so I wanted to take a moment to write about a group of mothers who go quite unnoticed most of the time.

Puppymill Mothers.  You probably weren't expecting that.  And I know it isn't a very cheerful thing to think about, but that's kind of the point.  Puppymill mothers spend their entire lives in small chicken-wire cages, stacked one atop the other, in drafty barns or stuffy warehouses.  Many of them have never been spoken to kindly, they've never slept on a bed, they've never known that a human's hands can be gentle or loving.

My own Theo was a puppymill rescue, and that dear sweet little dog still has not healed.  He cowers and urinates in submission when anyone but my husband or I reaches out for him.  When he sleeps he cries out,  whimpers and moans, shivers all over until I place a warm hand on his belly and then he gasps, sighs, and lays still.  I think he has terrible nightmares.  And yet, he was a stud.  He only had to fend for himself. He never had to nurse a litter while malnourished and pregnant with another.  He never had to fight to protect six babies when he couldn't protect himself.  These are creatures who are degraded, mistreated, abused and used.  Let's show them some love on Mother's Day.

Mabel spent ten years in the same Virginia puppymill Theo came from.  She, Theo, and more than two hundred other small breed dogs ranging from Jack Russel Terriers to Westies to Chihuahuas, were rescued in the fall of 2007 thanks to effort from Best Friends and Pets Alive.  When she was rescued, Mabel was pregnant with what could have easily been her nineteenth litter.  It was clear she was due any day, her belly was quite swollen and she was obviously uncomfortable.  The veterinarians taking care of her were nervous about this birth because Mabel was well past her prime years.  They waited two days and then they gave her a C-section.  Her vets had had every right to worry.  It turned out she had only been pregnant with one pup, and by his size they could tell he was weeks over due.  And many more weeks dead.

But you can help!  You can make a difference!  Make a pledge to pass the word that Puppies Aren't Products.  Talk to your friends and family about the importance of adopting a pet instead of buying one.  And if you don't know what to get your mom for mother's day, click here to make a donation to the Best Friends Puppies Aren't Products campaign. It's the perfect way to say thank you to a lot of wonderful moms, your own included.

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