Best Friends is a rescue organization dedicated to helping animals that are from mills, unwanted, abused, etc. About a month or so ago Whispering Oaks Kennels in West Virginia surrendered close to 1000 dogs, mostly dachshunds and Best Friends came to the rescue. Please read this post to learn about why we should never buy from animals from pet stores, online, and most breeders. Please do not support mills (which means pet stores, most people do not know that) and adopt!
Parker is one in a thousand—literally. Our little brown Dachshund was one of nearly that many dogs and puppies surrendered by Whispering Oaks Kennel in Parkersburg, West Virginia last week. Until he was rescued, Parker lived in a rabbit hutch with three other dogs; it’s likely he never left that cage. Ever.
Until last week Parker’s sole purpose in life, his reason for being worthy of food every day in his owner’s eyes, was to make puppies. Whispering Oaks sold thousands of puppies online over the years, getting from $300 to over $700 per puppy. Customers had no idea that all the dogs lived in barns and rabbit hutches, because they were never allowed to see where the adult breeding dogs lived. And they couldn’t have known that their puppies may have had a dad like Parker.
I first met Parker last Sunday, when I was on a team of three whose job it was to go cage by cage and put an ID band on each and every dog. My volunteer partner Travis called the ID bands “the ticket out of here.” He and I went along methodically along with Deputy Shanna Modesitt to make sure we had tagged every dog in every cage, and then teams came along behind us and loaded the dogs in crates so they could be taken to the staging area where an army of rescue workers and volunteers waited. Parker was in a free-standing rabbit hutch-type cage outside. All the cages looked like they’d been slapped together with whatever scrap material the breeder could find. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live in that cage every single day, with nowhere to get out of the sweltering heat, and nothing but a plywood box with no bedding to curl up in during the freezing winter.
Heavy welding gloves protected my hands, just in case we encountered a biting dog. I remember that Parker’s cage was especially tricky because the only way to access it was to lower a large wooden door, leaving a good two-foot hole for dogs to pop out of if they wanted to escape. Travis had the ID bands ready, and Deputy Modesitt was on the other side of the cage, shooing the dogs our way so we could reach them. All the dogs in the cages around us barked furiously at us—I don’t know that they’d ever seen so much action in their lives! I was able to hold one, then the next miniature Dachshund in the cage for Travis to put ID bands on them. And then from the other side of the cage Deputy Modesitt shouted over the barking, “DO NOT let this one bite you; he’s got horrible teeth!” I shouted back “okay!” and opened the wooden door one more time as a scruffy brown Dachshund with huge, snaggly brown and white teeth came zipping to our side of the cage, urged by Deputy Modesitt. He allowed me to pick him up without a fuss, Travis secured his ID collar around his neck, and we let him go back in the only cage he’d ever known.
Later, we found him at the staging area where he had been kept with his cage-mates. He’d likely need extensive dental care, and what better “poster dog” for the all-too common dental neglect found in puppy mill dogs? So he was one of the first dogs we directed Michelle to as she went around to select dogs to come back to Best Friends.
Before we loaded him into a travel crate on our van to come home to Utah, the only experience I’d had with Parker was taking him out of his cage at the puppy mill. But his personality soon presented itself—and what a personality he has! We stopped every few hours to get the dogs out of their cages, since we’d had to really pack them in to fit everyone in the van. My biggest fear was that we’d lose a dog, considering that they’d never ever been walked on a leash before, and probably hadn’t ever walked on the ground before. But little Parker handled it like a pro. He got so excited when we came to his travel crate, he’d SMILE with that crazy mug! Many dogs smile when they’re excited, wrinkling their noses and showing their teeth in a big grin. On Parker, that smile was quite a sight to behold. But what a great little guy.
Soon he was walking on the leash pretty well, sniffing the grass, and going potty outside like a good boy.
After nearly forty hours on the road, we finally arrived at the sanctuary where everyone got to meet Parker for the first time. I can’t wait to watch him blossom here with the care and love that he has deserved, but has been denied until now.
For more information about Best Friends Animal Society please visit their website, http://www.bestfriends.org
Please educate people on the terrible attrocities that happen at puppy mills. We can stop this by not purchasing dogs but adopting instead. Please remember that for every dog that is purchased one dies in a shelter.