Hey everyone!  Today is the third Saturday in September, Puppy Mill Awareness Day.  So let’s become aware.

If you want a dog, there are a few different ways you can get one.  One is to get one from a responsible breeder.  Responsible breeders (emphasis on the word “responsible”) keep their dogs in sanitary conditions, properly fed and vaccinated.  Not only that, most breeders verify that whoever wants to buy one of their puppies is able to properly care for the dog.

Another way is from a shelter.  Shelters deal with stray and surrendered dogs.  They also keep the dogs well cared for and update their vaccines.  Shelter dogs are various ages and breeds and mixes and straight-up mutts and they’re usually really glad to be adopted.  Even though they’re well cared for, it’s much nicer to be in a home than in the shelter.

There are also rescue dogs.  If you want a pure bred dog, rescue is an alternative to a breeder.  Rescue organizations are usually breed-specific.  They get alerted to dogs of their breed in shelters and they get them out of the shelters and into foster homes while they look for “forever homes”.

But here’s what today is all about:  puppy mills.  They don’t call themselves puppy mills, mind you.  You won’t find a listing on Google for Daisy Hill Puppy Mill.  They’re called mills because their sole purpose is to crank out puppies.  The mothers rarely see the outside of a cage — they just stay in cages and have babies.  The puppies are then removed from them earlier than they should be so they can be shipped off to pet stores.  And unfortunately, this is where most pet store dogs come from.

I don’t want to preach, but my advice is to stay away from pet stores if you want a dog.  As you can see, there are lots of better, and in some cases less expensive, ways to get a dog.  Don’t let Cruella win!  Remember, today is also Responsible Dog Ownership Day.