On Friday, instead of sleeping, which I should have been doing in preparation for work that night, I decided to step right outside my comfort zone and watch the Oprah episode that was dedicated to puppy mills and other problems with pet overpopulation. I initially did not want to watch this episode because the whol puppy mill thing is something I prefer to file away in my mind, along with things like the genocide in Darfur and the fact that the polar ice caps are melting, to be more or less ignored because to do otherwise would cause in me paralyzing anxiety. However, I decided to rise above that tendency and do the right thing and watch this show.
First of all, the director of Main Line Animal Rescue, who put the bug in Oprah's ear about doing this show, operates his organization practically in my backyard. I am in awe of this man. While I don't seem to have it in me to dedicate my life to one cause like this (I prefer to dabble), I am so impressed by those who did. He makes me proud to be from PA.
The puppy mill owners of Lancaster and Chester Counties? Not so much. They are also practically in my backyard, and I have to say that it is hard to hear that Pennsylvania is one of the top producers of puppy mill dogs. As much I like to ignore what is probably the truth, the little puppies that I fawn over at the pet store in my mall are probably from puppy mills. My own Otto is from a backyard breeder who is a friend-of-a-friend. While my family has rescued dogs in the past, we have also had pet store puppies. Clearly, we are not doing what we could.
I plan to look into volunteering at a local animal shelter as soon as I do some research into where I want to go. And I plan to never again bring into my home an animal that is not a rescue (although I will be quite honest and say that I would not trade Otto for anything). And I will spread the word.
Won't you do the same?