British author and puppy mill campaigner, Janetta Harvey tells us about her dogs— Susie-Belle, Twinkle and Renae and how they have inspired her in a global campaign to end puppy mills.
We’ve had Renae since she was eight weeks old and she’s now almost five. We don’t know how old Susie-Belle and Twinkle are, as they lived for many years in puppy mills as breeding dogs before they were rescued from that horrible life. Susie-Belle arrived in our lives four years ago and Twinkle two and a half years. It’s estimated that they’re somewhere between eight and twelve years old, Susie-Belle is definitely the oldest. She’s a bit like a wise and gentle elderly grandma dog! She’s experienced much suffering in her life, but now makes sure that she gets the most out of her senior years; she loves her walks, her food, her soft and comfortable bed, all things that she never experienced in the puppy mill.
Big puppy mill menace
Yes, puppy mills are certainly problems in Britain, and it’s a growing menace for the dogs. The puppy breeding and selling industry is poorly regulated which means that money can easily be made from dogs being forced to produce puppies for years on end. In many of the places such as where Susie-Belle and Twinkle were imprisoned, dogs are kept on an industrial scale, with hundreds confined to cages or small concrete boxes in large agricultural breeding sheds. They receive little care and no attention or love at all. They never see daylight and most will die before they are rescued. It’s a business based on cruelty and is all about the money that can be made by the breeders selling the puppies to dealers, who then sell them on to the puppy buying public. Susie-Belle and Twinkle are two of the lucky few who survive long enough to be rescued, and get to live as dogs, not as breeding machines.
Life with dogs
My dogs, Susie-Belle and Twinkle, have changed my life. Once I adopted Susie-Belle, and saw the full horrors of puppy mills and what damage the industry inflicts on dogs, I knew that I had to do everything possible to make a difference to other dogs that are caught up in it. I knew that giving a home to one puppy mill survivor isn’t enough, so I went on and wrote my first book about puppy mills which became a bestseller. This allowed me to reach many people and educate them, but it still didn’t feel like I was doing enough, so in 2013 I adopted Twinkle, knowing that the problems caused to her by the puppy industry were more psychologically severe than Susie-Belle’s. Having her and Susie-Belle in my life means I spend my days writing, blogging and campaigning to end the industry that harmed them. I network with others around the world with similar problems to stop the cruel business that condemns dogs to live of utter misery.
Book on puppy mill
Yes, there is so much I need to write about puppy mills and the dogs who survive, as well as those who die before knowing that life can be kind, not cruel. I’m currently writing a children’s book, working with illustrator Annabel Wilson. The book will talk to children about puppy mills and how as the future generation of puppy buyers they can make the world better for the dogs. Her published books are Saving Susie-Belle and the newly released sequel Saving One More, which share her life with her dogs rescued from the puppy mill industry.
(Janetta Harvey is Huffington Post UK blogger and an active international campaigner against puppy mills. To learn more about her, visit: www.janettaharvey.com)