ASPCA’s Christmas Message & Giveaway

LuluIf you are a Facebook friend of mine, then you know the truth: I’m passionate about the welfare of animals, especially dogs. Horses too. And elephants. Okay, cats as well.

But the latter seem relatively able to fend for themselves when they get stuck in a bad situation and horses and elephants aren’t sold at your local pet store. But dogs–sweet little puppy dogs are. And most of those cuties come from puppy mills.

You know, puppy mills, places where bitches are kept in crates bearing litter after litter purely for profit.  Some puppy mills are backyard affairs: just a bitch or two giving birth season after season. These dogs are not pets and they’re not treated as such. Puppy mills are called mills because they’re in essence factories in which the machines are actually living, breathing, sentient beings.

That little dog in the photo above? That’s Lulu. She was a backyard breeder dog who was abandoned when she stopped being profitable. She was found wandering the streets of the San Fernando Valley with infections in her breasts. She weighed well under nine pounds and she was about nine years old. Bichons and Buddies took her in, got her the necessary medical care (including spaying her!) and put her up for adoption.

She came to me and I can read her history in what she can and can’t do. For one, she can’t walk on a leash because, obviously, no one ever taught her how or took her for a walk. I have to buy softer treats for her because she’s missing a number of teeth, including several in the front. Her hair was short, wispy, and very dry, which turned out not to be its natural state.  She wasn’t really housebroken when I got her because she had never lived in a house. She wouldn’t move from one room to another without specific invitation, yet she couldn’t bear for me to be out of sight and her favorite place to be was on my shoulder, riding high like Long John Silver’s parrot.  It’s been a year now and increasingly its been clear that Lulu survived the puppy mill and survived her time on the streets because she is, as was said of my late mother-in-law at her funeral,”a tough old broad.”

Which brings me to the reason for this post. The ASPCA has a campaign to end puppy mills by stopping people from buying anything  at pet shops that sell puppies.  To that end, they’ve created the video below, What Not To Buy, that makes the connection between pet stores and puppy mills clear. Also, they know we’re dotty about our pets and that we insist Santa visit them as well, so they’ve put together a Holiday Gift Guide and well as a number of suggestions for homemade gifts for your dog or cat.  

If you want a puppy, go to a shelter. There will be a busload of them there after Christmas–the ones who didn’t make it home from the pet store. If you already have a dog or cat, the ASPCA has put together a Holiday Gift Box Giveaway, and they’ve given me the opportunity to offer it to one of you lucky readers. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is Watch the video and Offer your honest response to it in the Comments of this post

  • You have until Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT to enter.
  • Only one entry per person, please.
  • You must be 18 to enter, but really why are you even reading MidLifeBloggers if you’re not in midlife?
  • On December 17, 2013, the magic of will select the lucky commenter, which I’ll announce here. Then I’ll need your snail mail address so that the ASPCA can send you your Holiday Gift Box.

ASPCA is providing the prize for this giveaway, but I was not compensated in any manner for doing this post. It’s all for the love of the dogs…!

Edited to add: Ho, Ho, Ho! Amy was the lucky winner of the ASPCA Holiday Gift Box Giveaway. Any–email me your snail mail address: jane(at)midlifebloggers(dot)com

  • Cindy LaFerle

    I’m passionate about animals too — thanks for this post. We’ve found all of our sweet cats at the local shelter over the past 30 years, with the exception of the feral kitten we found under the tire of a car in our neighborhood. Therefore, it’s my Christmas tradition to send a nice check to our local animal shelter — with my gratitude.

  • Mallory H.

    I really liked the video, it had my interest the whole time – It’s a shame w/the pet store puppies, I’m so happy I rescued the 3 pups I have (or did they rescue me?)

  • Jenna Z.

    We had a puppy store in our mall a few years back. Groups would protest but people just KEPT buying from them! And only after buying, would do their research and find out where their puppies came from. Ugh! They relocated closer to Chicago so luckily we don’t have to deal with them anymore but I wish they had gone out of business completely.

  • Lauren Eggers

    This made me sad, because its true. All of my cats have been from the shelter, except for the most recent one whom we got from a reputable breeder. The pet stores from what Ive seen around here no longer sell puppies, and only have cats available from the local shelters.

    • janegassner

      Lauren, A good friend of mine got her persian kitten from a so-called reputable breeder. The poor thing was covered in ringworm, but was too young to give medicine to. So my friend had to keep the kitty in a spare bathroom for several months while the topical meds did their job. The breeder denied all responsibility.

  • Amy

    Acquiring an animal from an animal shelter, you do not know their background. You have to give special love until you know your pet and they feel comfortable with you. Just as we have scars, they do too…that is what is so special about animal shelters-giving love. Giving a puppy just because, you need to want to do the care and feeding. And the love because that will come back ten million times.

    • Jane Gassner

      Hey, Amy, congratulations! You won the ASPCA Giveaway. I need your snail mail address so that I can give it to the ASPCA, who will send you the prize.

  • southmainmuse

    So glad Lulu is adjusting. So very sad. It is hard when you go into those stores with your children. And they are begging. It certainly is good to be informed before making a decision. Our dog came from a breeder but our kitties from the local humane society.

  • Jayne

    God bless you for giving Lulu a fur-ever home. I only shop at pet stores that offer shelter pets for adoption.

  • Ann Odle

    I have always picked my pets from the shelters; I don’t even go into pet stores with puppies in them anymore. When I go into Petsmart, I’m always happy (and a little sad) to see that every pet they carry is from a rescue or animal shelter.
    I also make it a point to contribute to those organizations whenever possible–be it money, blankets, food or treats.

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