Don’t buy puppies from pet stores.
There, I said it. If you read nothing else here or take no further action, I want you to walk away with that thought in your head.
But puppies are so cute!
Are puppy mills really so bad? My puppy looks healthy!
The puppies in pet stores are already born and they didn’t do anything wrong. Shouldn’t we punish them?
Yes, I’ve heard it all before. And you’re right. Puppies are cute. And I love looking at puppies in pet store windows too! But the bottom line is that these adorable little fluff balls are the lucky ones. They got out. And what they left behind were dogs that breed them. These are the forgotten dogs. The ones that live in filth and squalor. The ones that rarely have enough to eat. The ones that frequently lack access to fresh water. The ones that never receive adequate veterinary care.
Every dollar spent on these breeder dogs is a dollar taken out of the hands of the breeder. As a result, the dogs are used and abused in so many ways that they often become throwaways.
Don’t believe me? Revisit my story about Emma, my own puppy mill survivor. Her story wasn’t pretty but in the four short years she spent with me, I did everything I could to make up for the injustices that were done to her.
Unfortunately, Emma was a member of a group I wish didn’t exist. The group is comprised of dogs that have been neglected and abused in many ways, usually due to puppy mill or hoarding situations. And if you’ve never met any of these dogs firsthand, you might be surprised to see some of their behaviors, what causes the behavior, and how the behavior can be changed to give these dogs a second chance.
The ASPCA has done a beautiful job giving you a chance to see what it takes to rescue and change these dogs over the course of many months in their new documentary now streaming on Netflix.
Second Chance Dogs chronicles the stories of six extremely fearful, behaviorally damaged dogs rescued from cruelty and taken to the ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. This one-hour documentary captures the innovative treatments used by behaviorists at the facility to help these victimized dogs become adoptable. The goal of this film is to educate the public about the long-term effects of cruelty and neglect and to promote the adoption of shelter dogs.
In this short documentary, which is a great watch for the entire family, you’ll see the focus on the rehabilitation of these dogs at the ASPCA center in New Jersey. It’s a long process with the ultimate goal of creating adoptable animals ready to find their forever home.
During the documentary, we see six rescued dogs follow a six month program. The progress is slow and sometimes unpredictable as we watch these dogs try to overcome so many behaviors that are rooted in fear.
Before you worry that a documentary like Second Chance Dogs might be too sad for you to watch, let me reiterate that this is a film about giving dogs a second chance. Not only does it show you to passionate people that work for success for each and every animal, but it also shows you a model of rehabilitation that could make a difference in rescues across the country.
Launched in 2013, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center is the first and only facility dedicated to rehabilitating dogs suffering from severe fear due to puppy mills, hoarding, and other cruelty. It’s a lot of time, money, and energy being spent on the hardest of hard luck cases. And some of you might be wondering how all of these resources can be justified.
I think Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President, Forensic Sciences & Anti-Cruelty Projects, put it best during the documentary.
I hope this film inspires you to spread the message of opening your heart and home to second chance dogs!