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WISCONSIN PUPPY MILL PROJECT

Can Anyone Help My Cousin Sadie?

Copyright © 2002, by Jim Willis

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Shay was considered valuable only as long as she was able to produce puppies.       I'm addressing this to all humans. I need help! My name is Stella and I'm a purebred dog - what you'd call a "breeder." I live in a huge high-volume kennel in Missouri. There are a couple thousand dogs here. I've been here about eight years (that's human years) and I figure I've had at least two hundred puppies. At least.

       Oh, I don't want to give you the wrong idea...I'm not in any danger, or anything like that. There are people here who take care of us. They probably each have about a hundred dogs with litters of puppies to take care of, but they eventually get around to each of us. I know I get at least one pat on the head per day. I have a stainless steel cage and there's room enough to lie down and turn around. We get two meals a day, just dry kibble, and at least the water is clean. They even have veterinarians who work here. At first it struck us as odd that they could find people who studied to be doctors and took an oath about compassionate care of animals to work here, but they did.

       But enough about me, it's my cousin Sadie I'm worried about. You see, I haven't seen her since we were puppies. We can't write or call of course, but I hear things occasionally through the "grapevine." Some of the delivery trucks that take all the puppies from where I am to pet shops also stop at the place where Sadie is, in Kansas. I hear things...and they worry me.

       I've heard Sadie lives in a cold and drafty barn. That's how it is in the winter, in the summer time the barn is an oven. The man who runs the place hardly has any help, and Sadie's in there with a couple hundred dogs. They have their cages up off the floor with wire bottoms, so that they're easy to hose down, dogs and all (although I hear they rarely clean them), and I'm afraid that wire must hurt Sadie's paws. I've also heard the dogs get moldy food once a day, that their water, if they have it at all, is days old and dirty. Sadie has had even more puppies than I've had and I've heard about half of them have died.

These puppies would have been killed by a backyard breeder for his own carelessness had a rescue not stepped in.       Poor Sadie! I'm just heartsick over this and I don't think there's a thing I can do about it. I expect I'll be here over the next couple of years, and after that, who knows? But I'd at least like to know how Sadie is, and I know if she were here with me living in luxury, she'd join me in asking one more question.

       If you all have enough puppies now, do you think we might go home sometime soon? I'm not really sure what a "home" is, but I hear the people here talk about going "home" at the end of the day, and they tell me my puppies have all gone to "homes." I figure me and Sadie might like to try out a "home" someday and see if it's to our liking.

       Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,

Your friend, Stella

From Pieces of My Heart
Copyright © 2002, by Jim Willis
www.crean.com/jimwillis

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"Can Anyone Help My Cousin Sadie?" Copyright © 2002 by Jim Willis, from his book Pieces of My Heart. All Rights Reserved, used with permission.
Photos Copyright © 2002, Pat Crean. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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