Pets Stores – End of an Era

“A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own.”
― Elizabeth Parker, Paw Prints in the Sand

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville.  He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville. He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Over the years, quite a few of you have been very vocal in supporting ending puppy mills.  Some of you have even joined me in protesting the two puppy mill brokers at Strongsville Mall, Pick of the Litter and Petland.  We’ve even gone before Strongsville City Council with evidence that Pick of the Litter is indeed a puppy mill broker.  (Council essentially said it was up to the state oversight to handle cases of puppy mills and brokers – convenient).

I realized suddenly that I’ve been going about this wrong:  why would we shut down individual mills, one by one, when we can work towards legislation to stop the sale of dogs and cats altogether.  According to the Humane Society, “300 local governments—cities, towns and counties—of all sizes and demographics across twenty-four states, have enacted such policies at the urging of concerned residents”.  Let’s start our personal crusade with the City of Strongsville.

pick of the litter 1

There are so many pros to this train of thought.

- Without venues to sell their goods (puppy mill brokers like Pick of the Litter and Petland), puppy mill operators will have no incentive to continue breeding;

- The Dept. of Agriculture (under whose jurisdiction places like puppy mills and brokers fall) will no longer have the limp excuse of not acting upon animal rights/abuses cases because of lack of personnel.

- It will break the vicious cycle of unscrupulous breeders and puppy mill operators dumping their “unsaleable merchandise” into local rescues and shelters, taking up space that is desperately needed.

- Owners of pet stores can focus on selling goods and services, and still offer rescue animals for a reasonable adoption fee, rather than strictly the revolving door of profit/supply.

- By decreasing the demand for store-bought puppy mill survivors being sold through brokers, puppy mills become unprofitable, thus destroying those parasites reliant upon puppy mills for their products.

It will be a very long and difficult fight.  I guarantee that people like Tom Collins, who has never had another occupation other than Professional Puppy Mill Broker, will raise holy hell at the thought of losing his pain for profit scheme.  Petland is already very vocal in the states that are looking to pass laws similar to those in California & Maryland, with plenty of lobbying going on behind the scenes.

So what can you do to help?

- Become an amateur journalist.  Begin by stopping by Pick of the Litter on a daily basis and photograph whatever you may find there.  Be polite, be kind, and be decent, but be aware and document.  Send your pics to us kerry.stack@darwindogs.org, where they will be documented for evidence, and publicly posted (anonymously if you wish). We will be setting up an album of offenders on our Darwin Dogs Facebook page as well as on DarwinDogs.org. Use #SickOfTheLitters

- Help start the petition drive.  We will need as many people to obtain signatures for this petition.

- Spread information through our protests.  Stay on the Darwin Dogs Facebook page for info on the next scheduled protests.

- Attend the Strongsville City Council meetings in support of ending pet stores.   Again, check Darwin Dogs Facebook page for council sessions we will be attending. Currently, we will be attending the meeting on July 15 starting at 8:00, Council Chamber, located in the Strongsville Police Station, 18688 Royalton Road

- Contact Strongsville City Council, as well as the Mayor’s office.  Find out why they are allowing pet stores puppy mill brokers in their city:

The City of Strongsville
Attn: City Council
16099 Foltz Parkway
Strongsville, Ohio 44149
440 580 3100
Email(s)
michael.daymut@strongsville.org,ann.roff@strongsville.org,kelly.kosek@strongsville.org,gordon.short@strongsville.org,jim.carbone@strongsville.org,

matt.schonhut@strongsville.org

city@strongsville.org

Contact Southpark Mall, and demand to know why they allow puppy mill brokers and pet stores selling puppy mill dogs to do business within their mall. Let them know publicly, via reviews, that we will not do business at establishments that allow for animal abuse.

Southpark Mall
c/o Starwood Retail Managers
500 SouthPark Center
Strongsville, OH 44136
(440) 238-9199

- Have any legal background?  Contact me directly at kerry.stack@darwindogs.org.  After all, there is so much more to petitions that merely gathering signatures.  We are looking to change city ordinances.  If you can spare one hour or several days, anything will be of assistance.

- Spread awareness.  Most people don’t realize what that puppy store puppy represents, or why the backyard breeders are killing shelter dogs by proxy.  Educate.

We are starting in Strongsville, Ohio, but will be diligent in working in other cities as well.  Let’s finish these parasite puppy mill brokers once and for all.

“But perhaps most important, when you buy a pet-store puppy, you contribute to the demand for puppy-mill-bred puppies, and add to the cycle of misery of mill-owned breeding dogs.”
― Denise Flaim, Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck,and a Few Turtles

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training/ Animal Rights Activist in Cleveland Ohio

 

Finding the Rainbow Bridge

0e0179d87cf696b731dda2d27371a6da

If tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.
I know how much you care for me, and how much I care for you,
and each time that you think of me I know you’ll miss me too;

But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
that an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand,
and said my place was ready in heaven far above,
and that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye,
for all life, I’d always thought I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for and so much yet to do.
it seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the love we shared and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday, I thought, just for a while,
I’d say goodbye and hug you and maybe see you smile.

Darwin circa 2005

Darwin circa 2005

I recently had a client ask me how they would know when it’s time to help their dog Buddy cross the Rainbow Bridge.  As you know, I’m always preaching the PAW Method. The biggest part of that is Piloting. You are Buddy’s pilot to the very end. You will be strong and help Buddy when the time comes. He is relying on you to make a decision, but remember, he doesn’t need a perfect decision. He doesn’t expect you to be infallible. So the answer is, there is no correct time. You are trying to balance your need for Buddy with Buddy’s quality of life. There is no precise moment when the scales tip, and suddenly Buddy’s life is too painful to justify not leading him to the Rainbow Bridge.Points to consider:

-You may find that everyone feels free to tell you what to do, but the responsibility for this choice is yours. This can be more difficult when a couple disagrees, but it can still weigh heavily on a single person.

-Your veterinarian is trained to save lives. That’s what they do, and that’s why you go to them. But all they can do is delay, not prevent. No veterinarian should make you feel guilty for choosing not to pursue treatment, even if you can afford it.

-If your veterinarian is advising euthanasia and you’re reluctant, closely examine your own motives and see if they’re for your benefit or the dog’s.

-People often say, “You’ll know when it’s time.” In many cases that’s true, but not always.  I say this from personal experience.

-Choosing euthanasia is not “playing God” any more than providing medical treatment to save a life is.

-Euthanasia ensures that you’ll be able to be with your dog at the moment he passes so he’s not alone. However, you don’t have to be there with him. If you feel you cannot remain calm, it’s sometimes best for your dog that you not be there.  It’s okay to say your goodbyes at home and have a someone who isn’t as emotionally distraught take Buddy for the final vet visit.  Remember, he’s going to mirror your emotions, and if you are having a hard time controlling your emotions in a scary place like the vet’s office, he’s going to feel that.  Don’t let anyone judge if you should or should not be present:  that’s up to you.-Most people believe it’s better to euthanize your dog a day too early rather than a day too late.

I went through all of this with Darwin many years ago. I wish I could say something to make it all better, but the truth is, I can’t. If you are already at this stage where you are asking me when you know it’s time to put down a dog, it’s most likely that you are already there. You are only now trying to cope with the acceptance aspect. Don’t deny Buddy his right to a dignified ending. He’ll still be there for you until the day you are reunited at that Rainbow Bridge.

So take a picture with him (you’ll want it later). Compare it with the pictures of him from a year ago, and you’ll see the difference and how much help he is requiring from you. Give it to him that help. You know he would love you enough to do the same for you. That’s what dogs do…put their humans before their own needs. Now be a dog, and put his needs before yours. At that point, he will give you his final gift: his gratitude for being the best Pilot you could have been for him.

This is the last picture I have of Darwin (2009).  We said goodbye a few days later.  I still miss my boy to this day.

This is the last picture I have of Darwin (2009). We said goodbye a few days later. I still miss my boy to this day.

Keep calm and pilot on

 

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio