Theresa put in her effort within the time she had with Lily to compensate for the years of mistreatment and neglect the poor pup endured in the puppy factory.
Have you ever yearned for a chance to confront those, for your dogs suffering? In memory of her greyhound named Lily who became a symbol of the cruelty and neglect suffered by dogs in mills Theresa Strader established the National Mill Dog Rescue back in 2007.
Lily had spent her seven years as a breeding dog enduring a life of confinement. The website tells us her story; "Lilys days were consumed within a cold wire cage located in an foul smelling barn." She was deprived of exercise and social interaction trapped within her surroundings. Lily was forced to produce litter after litter without respite; another breeding machine valued solely for her ability to produce puppies.
Prior to being rescued Lily had endured an onslaught of abuse driven by profit. The image used was sourced from National Mill Dog Rescue.
Sadly Lilys life came to an end, at the age of seven. Throughout her existence she received care which greatly saddened everyone involved.
Years of neglect, poor quality food lack of water bottles, for rabbits and a shortage of chew toys have led to decay in the roof of Lilys mouth and mandible. Additionally her chest was covered with lumps. She was fearful of people.
Finally Lily received the attention and love that she deserved. The image source is National Mill Dog Rescue.
Lily found refuge from the reception in May 2008 when she was embraced by her loving father and family. This happened fifteen months after her rescue.
In an attempt to make a difference for Lilys life Thersea wrote a letter addressing Lilys breeder. However we hope this letter will also resonate with anyone involved in breeding or selling dogs in mills.
The following letter has been shared with permission from the National Mill Dog Rescue and can be found here; [link to the rescue].
It has been fifteen months since our encounter. You may not remember much about me; all we met on your property in your world. However pieces of your universe have become parts of mine since that day. For this reason myself along, with others are truly grateful.
In February 2007 I received an email with the line "50 Greyhounds, in need" along with a phone number. Being a fan of the breed I decided to give the number a call and find out how I could help. Now let me tell you what happened next.
On February 17 2007 it was announced that after over 40 years in operation the kennel was going to shut down. Finally it was time for them to retire and take a break. On that day they were going to auction off 561 dogs, including 49 Greyhounds. It was clear to me that I had to step and lend a hand.. Honestly speaking I had no idea what would unfold during this process. Considering transportation limitations it became apparent that if those pups were going to be saved I might have to make the journey myself down to Lamar. So on February 16th my daughter and I set off for Missouri.
You see my entire life has revolved around working in dog rescue. Fostering and finding homes for dogs; taking care of injured pups; supporting overcrowded shelters. You name it. While puppy mills and pet store puppies have always been, on my radar every animal I've ever had at home has been rescued.
To clarify I want to emphasize that I am not an animal rights activist. Rather I strongly believe in the importance of treating all living beings with compassion.
The conditions I observed on your property, Martha were far, from humane. Many anxious and sickly faces were confined within wire enclosures. Some of them glanced at me with apprehension while others seemed fearful to make eye contact unsure how to interpret interaction. The distress and fear evident in their eyes have haunted me since.
I understand that you are simply abiding by the regulations set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture. A concept that I find troubling. It is also known that canines bred for purposes are considered as livestock within circles. However Martha dogs should not be treated as livestock. Humans domesticated dogs thousands of years ago for roles; as protectors, hunters, herders, guardians and importantly as beloved companions.
I brought home nine Greyhounds, two Dachshunds and two Papillons with me. Throughout my experience in rescue work spanning over 25 years none of the dogs, under my care have suffered any emotional harm. As the upcoming months unfold before me like a journey of learning intertwined with safeguarding pets.
However I would like to focus on one canine in this letter. We have a puppy here who has found her way, to our family and home. She goes by the name "Reedgates Swift Motion ". She is officially registered with the AKC. Swift Motion is actually a greyhound who never had the chance to experience running. Unfortunately she spent her life confined to a cage, which resulted in her leg muscles not developing strength for running—a sad reality for a breed known for their agility.
When we rescued her we removed the chain from around her neck. Replaced it with a collar. We decided to call her Lily. At the age of seven years and one month Lily finally experienced freedom beyond those confining chains.
Lily is quite unique among dogs as she does not have a jawbone (mandible). I'm genuinely curious about why so many of your dogs were affected by this condition. Were you ever concerned about their pain or how they managed to eat enough to survive? Furthermore I wonder if any lives were lost under your care due to this disease. Did you even take notice of these issues? Apart from their deteriorating conditions I'm certain you also observed their ability to produce puppies—after all that seems to be the primary focus of your company; breeding puppies, at any cost.
Lily has become a part of our family. Despite her health challenges and the immense worries that came with them she eventually found courage through love and care. Her ability to touch hearts was undeniable. People of all ages, men, women and children were moved to tears as they heard her story and had the joy of meeting her. Lilys presence, in our lives was not about what we could do for her. How we could provide a comfortable and nurturing home for her.
It was truly heartbreaking for our family to witness Lily endure four surgeries to remove breast tumors repair her deteriorating face and undergo spaying—an operation that involved removing the organ that once housed her uterus. You will never understand the pain she went through; your indifference is evident.
Every meal becomes a challenge for Lily due, to your neglect. We have tried types of food and various methods to make it easier for her to eat.
At the end of it all she decided to do things her way using the techniques she learned at your place to survive. Like picking up kibbles with her paws scattering them on the floor then rubbing her face against the ground to catch a kibble on her tongue. After that she would stretch her neck. Swallow it whole. Can you imagine having one meal that way?
Remember when we sat in my car after the auction? The men were gathering up the dogs I had "won." You said to me "I really adore Greyhounds." Oh, the thoughts that raced through my mind when you said those words. Martha down you don't actually like dogs. Instead you spent forty years of your life exploiting pets for gain without considering their mental well being. It was all, about their ability to reproduce. Think about all those thousands of dogs that passed through your hands. Each and every one of them was denied the joys they truly deserved.
In our family Lily has learned a deal, about experiencing love being a dog and being valued as an individual. I am always saddened by the fact that she never had the chance to run and play like dogs. Nonetheless she excelled in understanding love and reciprocating it even though she couldn't express it in words. Her presence forever transformed our lives.
Lily endured a seven years as a breeding dog in a mill. The image is from National Mill Dog Rescue. She passed away on May 13 2008 at the age of eight which's half the typical lifespan of an Italian Greyhound. Martha it was due to the neglect she suffered under your care for those seven years that she met her demise. How many others have faced fates?
This industry has remained hidden for long. The truth is spreading rapidly. Time is running out. People, like you will soon find work in fields while leaving the responsibility of caring for Gods creatures to those who truly cherish them.