Achieving Balance and Harmony

COMMUNITY

Puppy Mills: A Cautionary Tale

Dear Cesar,

I really admire the work that you do. I think it is amazing how many lives you have transformed, both canine and human. I know at the end of your stay here on Earth you will be greeted by thousands of pets at The Rainbow Bridge. I wish you continued success with your work and I know God will continue to bless you.

I would like to share with you the story of Jesse. I want to get the word out to others so that together we can make the world a safer place for our furry & four-legged friends. I am hoping that one day you may want to place an article related to this in your magazine or on your show so that others can be educated. No person or pet should have to go through what happened to us.

Last summer I decided to adopt a "small" puppy. I needed a small breed since I have a parrot, a rescued sparrow, & two rescue bunnies at home. After months of waiting to adopt a small pup I became inpatient and went to a "breeder." I did not want to go to a pet store since I am aware they sell puppy mill pups. I ended up purchasing an 11 week old Shih Tzu/Maltese mix, "Shi-tese" as the "breeder" called him. Less than 24 hours later my pup became extremely lethargic & was coughing. I rushed him to the vet to discover he was hypoglycemic (blood sugar of 24), loaded with parasites, and had pneumonia. The vet stabilized his blood sugar but told me he had less than a 50% chance of pulling through. They suggested putting him down. I opted for taking him to the emergency hospital for intensive care. The vet was not even sure he would survive the 10 minute transport to the hospital.

I called the "breeder" who instructed me to bring him back for a refund.

He stated he could care for the pup at home. Being a registered nurse I knew there was no chance for this puppy if he went back to the "breeder", as he was in need of critical care. A few minutes later he offered me a Yorkie I was playing with in "exchange" for Jesse. However, he had previously told me the evening before, the Yorkie was sold. At this point I knew he was not a reputable breeder.

I began to research this "breeder" and discovered that other people who purchased puppies from him had similar issues. After researching what makes a breeder reputable, my sister went in pretending to be interested in his puppies. When she asked to see the parents he stated that his sister breeds them and he sells them. He stated the parents were not around for viewing. He was selling the pups from an uninhabited apartment. He kept bringing pups out of a back room for my sister to see, but told my sister she could not go back there. At this point I realized even "breeders" can sell puppy mill dogs.

Jesse spent the first two weeks of his life in the hospital. After spending over $4,000.00 in vet bills during his first two weeks of life he finally made it home, however he was still not out of the woods. Jesse battled the parasites for weeks. He was failure to thrive and had to be force fed every few hours. He began to lose all his fur as well. Thankfully he did not have mange and it was just from being so ill and malnourished. I decided to have him shaved down at that point, hoping his fur would grow in healthy...and it did. He has since been neutered and has recovered nicely.

Jesse turned a year old on April 15th. He is the cutest and sweetest puppy ever. He brings so much happiness into my life. I take him along with me wherever I can. Jesse loves watching "Dog Whisperer" with me. I have tried your techniques to get him to stop nipping bit it doesn't work for me. People tease me about the bruises on my arm and about being abused by my puppy, but I don't mind. From watching your show I know part of it is my fault from babying him so much when he was ill. I will continue to work on him and hopefully he will calm down. I have dedicated my life to keeping him happy and healthy. I have researched so much on canine care and nutrition, and I share this information with other pet owners as well. I even became certified in canine CPR and first aid.

Not once did I have to hesitate and think about saving Jesse's life.

Even though I had him for less than 24 hours, at only 11 weeks old, my heart knew he deserved a chance at life. Being a single mom behind on all my bills, I had to charge all my vet bills. However, this was the best investment I have ever made. You simply can't put a price tag on life and on love! They say be careful what you wish for...in my heart I wanted a RESCUE dog...turns out I got my own personal rescue! And a VERY SPECIAL one at that!!! Thank you Cesar for all that you do and all the lives you save!!!!!!

Maggie Benenati

Middle Village, NY

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