It is the holiday season,  and the following scene provided by an article on petfinder.com is something to think about seriously. Entitled “Pets as Presents: A Good Idea?” the article starts with the following paragraphs:

You’ve seen it in the movies – sweet little Suzy toddles down on Christmas morning to find her new puppy sitting patiently under the tree with a big red bow around his neck. Suzy squeals, runs to hug the puppy, who gives her a big lick on the cheek, and the two live happily ever after.

While it would be great if such holiday surprises always worked out so well, that’s often not the case. More frequently, 3-year-old Suzy, who is too young to know what caring for a pet really means, cries the first time Puppy bites her on the hand while the two are playing. Mom and Dad then pile him up in the car and drop him off at the local animal shelter along with the three to five million other dogs and cats returned to shelters each year.

This also brings up another issue which is just as sad, if not sadder. Puppy Mills.  Despite the intense suffering of these dogs, puppy mills are operating all over the U.S. You can read more about puppy mills at the ASPCA website. These dogs lead horrific lives – my own Peanut had his back feet chewed of, his body was a mass of flea-caused open sores. He was a success story – he lived for ten years before I lost him to congestive heart failure.

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This is much like Scooter’s face when he lunged at me… scary, isn’t it? It was MUCH too fast for me to escape his teeth. Photo courtesy of animal.kukuchew.com

As you know if you read the original post I rescued Scooter from the shelter, snatching him from the doors of the gas chamber. But sometimes puppy mill puppies, which I have no doubt he is (research is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?), can’t be saved. Bad breeding, bad food, mistreatment as a puppy, all leave scars. And sometimes, genetic issues which cannot be cured.

Scooter, I now know, suffers from Idiopathic Aggression, also know by various other names such as “Rage Syndrome”, “Paradoxical Rage Reaction”, or more popularly, “Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome”.  There is no cure.  It is believed to be a genetic condition, (though “idiopathic” means they don’t really know for certain exactly what causes it; possibly multiple reasons). It is more common in purebred male dogs, usually showing up between one and three years-of-age. He literally “checks out” and when he comes back from his fugue state he has no idea what he just did. While I,  of course,  am bleeding all over the place and grabbing for peroxide, betadine and  bandages. And lots and lots of pain meds and antibiotics. One of my fingers is wrapped up in a soft cast (punctured and cracked bone but not broken) and my foot and the rest of my hand is bandaged. Ouch. We are trying to  come to an “understanding” where he lives here, gets his Bil Jac and his allergy meds and a warm, safe place to live, veterinary care and toys to amuse himself with. We will see if it works. If not, I will have to make the hard decisions.

So, please please put a lot of though into your decision before you do the “Puppy for Christmas” thing. And please, if you would, if you note the possibility of a puppy mill in your area, call the police. You could be saving hundreds of dogs from absolute misery.  Thank You!

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