I've debated all day about posting this on the forum. I've thought about keeping it to myself because I don't want this to come across as me pointing out the (small insignificant) role I've played in this situation...because that's not what I'm trying to do. I finally decided to post my experience because I want to urge everyone to continue supporting the Havanese Rescue and also sign up to volunteer at your local shelter (in this case a no-kill shelter). And I'm being a little bit selfish....I feel like I need to "purge" my feelings somehow as I haven't been able to talk to anyone about it today.
So here goes.... yesterday I got an email from the manager of a local no-kill animal shelter where I volunteer from time to time. They had just taken in about 100 dogs from a local puppy mill. The shelter was overwhelmed and needed volunteers to come and help out. For a little background follow this link and watch the story....
The puppy mill owner said that she loved all of her pets and took care of them. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE WITH OVER 6OO ANIMALS???? I think not. I saw these puppies first hand and bathed and dried thier feces encrusted bodies covered in fleas and ticks. I cut away matts the size of a golf balls in their fur. Does that sound like the way someone would treat their dogs if they love them? Trust me; these dogs did not know love. You could tell that most of them had never been held or cuddled before. The stench coming off of them made me gag for the first half hour until my nose just finally gave out and accepted the smell.
Most of these dogs have never had a bath in their life and guess who got to give them their first? Moi!!!! Me, with my non-existent dog grooming training. The only funny moment of the evening was when I was elbow deep in suds and I was thinking to myself "why didn't I pay closer attention to the “Do It Yourself Grooming” post on the Havanese forum???" Anyway, I don't know who got more wet, the dogs or me. I must say there was one bittersweet moment that night. After bathing a dog that had spent his entire life in a cage, we had to take the mats out of his tail. (I'm not talking your run of the mill "house dog" mats....these were huge!) Once we go through trimming his tail, he looked behind himself and seemed surprised that he actually had a tail that could move. And the best part of all.....he started wagging his tail for the first time since he'd been brought in (and who knows if or how long ago he wagged his tail?)
It was soooo hard leaving last night knowing that some of the dogs in critical condition might not make it through the night. All I could do was say a prayer at their cage and whisper to them that there's a special place in hell reserved for their owner.
So, even though I am not affiliated with the Havanese Rescue in any way (I've only read great things about them) please, please, please continue to support them and donate your time at your local shelter. Hopefully the day will never come when you have to experience such a horrific thing, but God forbid if it does happen, know that it is an experience that will change your life and a dog's life forever.