What I wish everyone would understand...
I will use my beautiful princess Juniper 👑 as an example and I promise you will not regret reading this, you may not even be able to finish reading it without tears, I may not be able to finish writing it without tears...you see where I'm going with this...
When we first started rescuing mill dogs I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world, I still do and I will not stop believing that. (Crying already, ahhh) For me, it goes a lot deeper than 'just rescuing' them. I spend my days, nights and weekends researching, watching documentaries, writing letters to our government officials that will never be returned and dreaming about the beautiful refuge we will have some day and what a beautiful place it will be for all of our precious mill dogs. So I may have a deeper connection with them and understand them better than others. I know where a majority of the puppy mills around here are. When I get a clue or a tip, I just want to dig deeper, to find more. I used to spend hours researching and reading USDA inspection reports before the government removed them from their website. On a regular basis I watch YouTube videos from the Thorp Dog Auctions and I often wonder if some of these dogs are now with us, or have been. I hope you can start to see where I am going with this. It's hard for people to understand without literally living and breathing this every single second of every single day, but I hope I am providing you with some insight. From the very second I lay my eyes on that list of dogs, the connection is already made. Once I confirm the dogs we can take, I go home (usually at work when this happens) and I grab my black folder and I flip through the pages to my name sheets, picking out names and imagining how they will look. Then I push, I push for more fosters, more donations, I want to help more dogs. On Friday night I sit at work and wonder about them. I wonder what they are thinking, if they know, if they can feel it. I imagine what their life is like in that moment. Then I spend my 20 minute drive home in the dark continuing to think and to wonder but I cry the entire way home. I get home and I start getting out a folder for each one, carefully selecting a color of folder, an intake sheet, a medical exam sheet and medical intake sheet. I then start rummaging through all of our supplies, still wondering what the dogs will be like and I start picking out new things for each of them. I pick out a blanket, a collar, tag and new toys. All the things they have never had. I get our towels for each, some nice smelling shampoo, Frontline and microchips. I prepare the area they will be staying in during their short time with us before going to their foster home. I get my camera all ready and set it on the table for the next morning. I go to bed and anticipate the mornings arrival. In the morning, I barely drag myself outta bed, throw on some old clothes, I call them my 'cats and clorox' 😹 clothes because they are usually stained and I only wear them when I know I will be getting dirty and smelly working with the dogs. If you have ever smelled a puppy mill dog straight out of the mill you will understand. It is a smell that I cannot stand. A mix of urine and saw dust. You will never be able to fully get the smell out of your clothes without washing them several times. And then I wait. When I see them pull up I go running outside. I get to see them for the first time. I start taking photos of them huddled and shaking in the backs of the kennels. One by one we slowly get them out of the kennels and into our arms. Fast forward, once we have all of the dogs and now we are on our way to the vet to get their vaccinations. When we get that done then we go home and unload them all into the yard and for the first time, they are finally free. Some run and hide, some fearfully approach you. Most of the time they are running in their little pack and smelling and peeing in as many different places as possible. I take as many photos as I can and lately videos, to show you all. Then one by one we take them in and get them bathed, groomed, do intake, give them names, check for microchips and tattoos. After they are done being groomed then they can go in their little area, with nice, soft, clean blankets and beds, clean food, water and treats and some new toys. Then one by one we begin to get them off to their foster homes. When Juniper and the other 5 arrived it was much the same as what I'm telling you except it was at night after our bake sale and we took them all to a fosters house where volunteers were waiting to help get them cleaned up. But there was one thing that was much different from the usual times. When I laid eyes on Juniper (then she didn't have a name yet) I knew she was the one. The one I had waited these few years for. Oh how I had longed for the day when I would get to have my very own puppy mill dog. You see 'having' a puppy mill dog is like nothing else in this world. Getting to have a puppy mill dog or more like a puppy mill dog getting to have you, is a privilege. I repeat, it.is.a.privilege. and it should be treated as such. These dogs are not replaceable, there are no other dog just like them in all of the world. You can search the world and you may find similar looking dogs but you will never find one with the personality, the behaviors or the physiological damage they harbor. When you decide that you would like to have one of these precious beings as your own, you need to understand that you get them and their baggage. BUT you should love them regardless! Puppy mill dogs are 8,9,10,11,12,13 years old, they have lived all those years but yet they are completely clueless of the world, they know nothing. I love Juniper and I love her baggage. I get to teach her, help her and we get to learn together. We get to LIVE together. Yes, sometimes she pees on the floor or the rug. Yes, she is scared of fast movements. Yes, she is scared of me watching her while she eats. No, she does not 'love' me. No, she does not like it when I try to give her kisses. No, she does not play with toys. Do not go into this with expectations. If you have expectations for your new puppy mill dog, please back up and rethink. I don't have any expectations of Juniper and never will. I let her live and learn at her own pace. Do I expect her to sometime in her life play with a toy? No, because she will if she wants to and she won't if she doesn't want to. Will I love her anyways? Of course! Will I continue to buy her toys? Of course! 😹 Am I lucky that she will actually take treats from me and she enjoys them? Yes! And at this point, some of you may be questioning, why would you want a dog like that? I want 'a dog like that because I can't wait for our adventures. For Juniper to see the Easter Bunny this Saturday, to go for her first walk, to go to the beach and see the water, to meet new friends and to watch her grow and learn and love.🌼 Try to understand this, for 7 1/2 years Juniper lived 2.7 miles from my house. Every.single.day for 7 1/2 long years. Juniper lived in an elevated wire cage with multiple dogs in the same cage, in a shed. She was identified by not a name, but a metal chain collar and tag around her neck. Juniper was not provided with proper nutrition or veterinary care. She was underweight when she arrived and last week needed FIVE teeth extracted, leaving her very few. I understand her age and condition and understand her breed and as she gets older, medical conditions will develop. And I take responsibility for that. But I also remember for 7 1/2 years she had absolutely no veterinary care. Every single night while I lay in my bed, watching TV while drifting off to sleeping in my heated or air conditioned house she lay on wire, in her own urine and feces cramped in a cage with other dogs. For all those years, her only job was to be a prisoner of greed, producing puppies for profit. Puppies that were poorly bred, more than likely sick, who would grow up to have behavioral and health issues offered for sale in a fancy looking pet store for thousands of dollars. I now have to live with the thought of every time I drove by there my little JuniBear was in there. She was suffering. How many other dogs are suffering just like her? But they never get a chance at freedom? Most times the words, and for the ones who will never see the light of day just make me burst into tears. But I need you to read those words and THEY need you to read those words. And they need you to pass it on. To tell others, tell your friends, tell your family, tell the world. I just want to scream from the rooftops and I want everyone to hear me. To hear me giving the puppy mill dogs a voice. I may never meet some of them, but that doesn't mean I don't feel for them. So for the ones who have found freedom, who are still waiting (our 9 year old little boy Cavalier, being freed next Saturday 💓) and for those who will never see the light of day...I will never stop fighting for you.
As of today we have officially collected 50 bags of shoes for our shoe drive! That is half way to our goal of 100 bags and we are still collecting! Please let us know if you have any shoes you would like to donate.
As of 10/30 we have collected 13 bags of shoes! We still need to collect 87 more bags of shoes by November 12th to reach our goal of 100 total bags! You can help by donating your shoes and collecting shoes from family, friends and coworkers.
Current Drop Off Locations:
emBARK, Eau Claire
The Rail Trail Café, Ogema
Dairyland Animal Clinic, Owen
Rustic Resale and Consignment, Thorp
Cornell Lake Campground and Resort, Bloomer
Lil' Rascals Refuge, Thorp
We started our WoofTrax Challenge on September 1st ending September 30th in hopes of getting our active walkers number up to at least 30. Each day for 30 days we updated how many active walkers we had with a photo of one of our current or past dogs.
WoofTrax is an app that donates a certain amount of money per active walkers we have. To be considered an active walker you must walk at least one time per week. If you are interested in walking for Lil' Rascals Refuge simply download the wooftrax app by going to wooftrax.com, walk, share and invite your friends!
Our first adoption event held on 08/27/2016 at PetSmart (Eau Claire) is officially in the books!
On Saturday Lola, Mickee, Richie and Bobby attended our adoption event!
Thank you to PetSmart for hosting us, everyone who stopped to see us and especially our wonderful foster moms and volunteers, Patty, Shannon and Brandy!
Our next adoption event at PetSmart will be Saturday September 3rd from 12-4pm!
Benni, formerly known as number 271 has probably the saddest story of all of our previous auction dogs. Benni was part of the last 5 male Beagles to be brought out to be sold. Alone. The last one standing on the table, no one wanted him. The bid kept going down, down , down and still no one raised their number. We felt so terrible for the little guy, you could tell he was scared out of his poor mind. Finally when the bid came all the way down to $50 we quick raised our number as they were picking him up to take him 'to the back'. Sold to bidder number one twenty three! If we hadn't raised our number quickly he would have been taken back to the puppy mill or killed because no one wanted him. I'm so glad we were there and able to save his life! It was quickly apparent after we picked the dogs up Benni was the worst one. He wouldn't even turn around or look at us in the kennel. On our 30 minute drive from the auction back to the hotel where we had stayed the previous night Benni had drooled so much that we though he had peed in the kennel and we changed the blanket and pad for him. When we brought him back he was so happy to be able to run free with his friends! But of course he wasn't having it when it was time to be caught- humans were not his friends. After his bath Benni was placed in a pen with a nice warm bed, food and water and his anxiety was off the wall. Less than an hour later he escaped the pen and was hiding under the treadmill because he was so scared.
It was hard to believe that a dog less than 2 years old could have such a broken spirit. In the auction catalog they boasted how he was an 'aggressive breeder'. The way they talk about the dogs to maximize their profit is just sickening.
Benni is currently still in a foster home and looking forward to finding his forever home. He came to visit us last week at the bake sale and every time someone would come up the driveway he would wag his tail and let them pet him. Benni is such a sweet boy and he has overcome so much!
We are asking for your help with our trip to the auction this time. This will be the last auction we will be attending this year and our goal is to save as many dogs as possible. Please consider making a donation so we can help the unwanted dogs and free them from a life of misery. Many dogs just like Benni will be put up on that table to be auctioned off just to see that no one wants them. That's where we come in. Its a matter of life and death for these dogs and we will be there to save them, but we can only do it with your help. Please consider making a donation today for our auction angels.