The Box (A Puppy Mill Story)
If you're ever wondered what it might be like to be a puppy in a puppy mill, you have to read this story, written by our Shelter's Executive Director. Written from the puppy's perspective, it's sure to touch your heart!
The Box ( A Puppy Mill Story) Copyright © 2008 by Chuck Wegner
I was born in a box, a ‘birthing box” they called it. My brothers and sisters were all around me and of course mom was there too. She tended to our needs, kept us warm and fed and she tried her best to keep us clean. We had a little “sun” in the top of our box and sometimes it would go dark and then it got colder. I didn’t like that but my family was all around me so I managed.
As the weeks went by I grew a little and every once in a while a giant would come and open the small door to our box. I caught the scent of fear from mom each time that door opened. I didn’t know what the giant wanted but I knew that mom was scared of him so I was too. Then one day the giant opened the door and reached a long arm in to pick up one of my brothers. He squealed and whined and tried to hide but the giant’s hand caught him and held him up. The giant said “I’m gonna keep this one, he’s worth a lot more cuz he’s so small”. I was glad I was growing every day because I didn’t want to be the littlest one, but I wondered if the giant was going to keep my little brother, what was going to happen to the rest of us?
We all played together as best we could in our box. Each day we grew bigger and the space to move was smaller. We also started to get very bored. Sometimes we would fight with each other for something to do. I didn’t have any toys, things to chase or chew on, so I liked to chew on my littermates. We squealed and yipped a lot and I guess we stressed mom out. She got so mad that she bit me, hard. It hurt my leg and made it bleed. It never did work right after that, it kind of drags, but I can still get around ok. I couldn’t believe she would do that to me but I guess it wasn’t her fault. I heard the giant telling another one that sometimes he’s seen where the mom will chew off a puppy’s tail or even a leg and that this mom wasn’t very good anymore, she was 6 years old and used up and that she was going to auction where he hoped to get a few bucks for her. I felt bad for mom. She was so sad. It wasn’t her fault, she had tried to be a good dog but there just wasn’t anything to do except lie around in the box and raise puppies. I guess all the fun went out of her life a long time ago.
One day she perked up, her senses on full alert. The box door opened up and the giant reached in. This time he was after her. She barked at him and tried to bite his hand. We all rushed at the giants hand too but he was too big and too fast. He shoved the rest of us away. He got mom and took her away. I never did see her again and I’ll always wonder what happened to her. Sometimes I still think about her and I miss her.
Then came the day when the big truck stopped and the giant went from box to box and picked out most of the puppies. I tried to flatten myself against the back of the box so that maybe he wouldn’t see me but it didn’t work. He got angry and pulled me out by my neck. I saw that I was in a big building that was full of boxes just like mine. There were lots of other puppies and all of them were barking and whining. It was really scary because I didn’t know where my family was and the giants weren’t very nice. I heard one of them say “This load should get me some good money. Some of ‘em are bred already”. They grabbed us and threw us into the back of the truck along with lots of other puppies. It was cold and it was dark when they shut the door. I didn’t know where I was going but I knew it couldn’t be good. I wished I could be back in my box with my mom and my family.
The noise in the truck was so loud and it just wouldn’t stop. Everyone thought that if they barked loud enough, someone would come and get us out. I knew that wouldn’t work because sometimes I used to bark until I was hoarse and nobody ever came. I couldn’t get any sleep. I was cold and it was hard to breathe.
Some of the puppies and dogs in there with me were sick. They made some terrible messes and it got all over me even though I tried to push myself against the sides of the cage to get away. We were packed in very tightly and there wasn’t much room to move.
Each time the truck stopped, the door would open and the giants would put more puppies into the cages. They didn’t seem to care about us much and we were all scared. We were handled very roughly. I tried to run out one time but a giant grabbed me and threw me against a cage and a wire stabbed me in my eye. It hurt so bad I just screamed and cried. I wished mom was here to help me.
After a long ride the truck stopped and the door opened. It was so bright I had to squint but only one eye could close. My other eye felt like it was going to explode. I was so dirty and my coat was all snarled and twisted that it hurt. The giants took a hose and sprayed us all right in our cages. I hadn’t had any water for quite a while so I tried to catch some with my mouth but I couldn’t get much. They put some food in a big pan for us to eat but some of the other dogs were bigger and stronger so I didn’t get much of that either. Some of them were mean and would bite at me when I tried to get some of the food. I guess they needed it more than I did.
They hauled us into a big shed with straw bales all around and lots of cages set up on shelves. They put a little rope with a number around my neck. It was very bright in there and there were lots of giants around. Some of them were smaller giants and lady giants and some of them talked to me. I don’t know what they were saying but I liked the attention. It was the first time that giants didn’t push me around and yell at me or hurt me. They said things like “Oh, look at this one, her eye is popped and her leg is broken or something”. Some of them looked very sad and tried to touch me but I backed away because I remembered that giants usually hurt me.
It got really busy with giants all around, sitting on chairs and then they turned on some kind of machine that made the giants voices very loud and the sitting giants got excited. They took some of the puppies out of their cages and held them up for all the giants to see. They told about them and then said some numbers and then they put the puppies back in their cages. I don’t know what that was all about but I hoped when my turn came they wouldn’t see me. I tried to make myself as small as possible. They got me anyway and then they took me up in front of all the sitting giants and said “This Cock-a-Poo’s a little roughed up but her momma was a good breeder and she’ll do right by you too. Get a good return on your investment in short order. She’s already bred first time.”
There were some lady giants in the front row who said numbers over and over. I watched them and thought that it would be nice to be with them. They kept looking over at some other giants who didn’t look nice to me. I liked the lady giants. Soon they stopped saying numbers and I saw that one of the lady giants was crying. I felt bad for her. Something must have been wrong and maybe she got hurt.
They put me back in my cage. The noise went on for a long time and then it stopped. The sitting giants got up and they started to come get some of us out of our cages. Sometimes the lady giants would get some and sometimes other giants got them. I recognized one of the lady giants. She stopped at my cage and was crying. She said she was so sorry. She told me she tried to get me but couldn’t. I felt so bad for her being so sad. I pushed my face up against the side of the cage and tried to let her know that I would be OK and she shouldn’t feel so bad. I wanted to go with her, she seemed very nice and I liked her. I was sad to see her go.
A giant pulled me out of my cage and took me out to a small truck and put me in another cage with some other dogs I never saw before. We were all scared but it looked like we were going to go for a ride somewhere else. I hoped it would be a nice place, warm and clean and happy. The truck stopped and the giant carried the cages into a barn. It was kind of dark and very noisy. It reminded me of the place where I used to live with my mom and my brothers and sisters. It smelled bad and there were lots of bigger dogs there too. There were even some boxes just like where I used to live. One of the giants opened the door to a box and put me in. When the door shut it was dark. Then the sun came on and I could see that I had some food and some water but there was no way to see out. This was not what I wanted. I barked until I was hoarse. I did hear the giant say “This one’ll bring in some money if she lives long enough to give me those pups.”
I guess I’m going to live in a box…… just like mom.
The Box (A Puppy Mill Story) - Copyright © 2008 by Chuck Wegner
As sad as this story may be, it is nothing compared to the lives of misery being lived every day by the poor creatures who are trapped for years in puppy mills in many states in the U.S. The pain and suffering of the dogs and the puppies produced and confined within those mills in the name of greed and profit is more than most people can bear.
People with compassion must become legally active in the pursuit of justice for these poor animals. If you feel bad about the situation, you must do something to stop this travesty. If you want to help, please go to the websites (www.nowisconsinpuppymills.com) or (www.banohiodogauctions.com) and read about what you can do to help end the misery. Together, people who care can change the lives of the unfortunate mill dogs trapped in this ugly business.