April 26, 2010
Puppy Mill Rescue in Tennessee: Dogs Dancing For Joy
by Jordan Crump
As I sit in the emergency shelter writing this, I am surrounded by controlled chaos. A whirlwind of excited barks, wagging tails and busy human volunteers permeates every inch of the shelter.
Veterinarians move through the isolation and medical wards checking on special-needs dogs and mothers with young puppies. A volunteer groomer shears massive, filthy mats off of grateful poodles.
This is the second phase of our rescue: while not quite as dramatic as the initial rescue, our work at the emergency shelter is a critical step in the new lives of these once-neglected dogs. The HSUS cared for more than 3,700 dogs in our emergency shelters in 2009 alone—on par with most good-sized shelters in the country.
In the three days that these dogs have been here, they have already received more hands-on attention than during the course of their lives as puppy mill prisoners. As volunteers and staff get to know these remarkable animals, favorites emerge: the labradoodle brothers who demand attention from every passer-by with their imploring puppy eyes; the petite black beagle mix who is missing a paw. Walk past her crate and you will find her sitting up front, with her little nub resting on the front of the cage.
While all of these survivors seem relieved to begin new, happier lives, one little poodle girl is literally dancing with joy. Most of the dogs curl up to relax or sit looking out at the volunteers, but this grey poodle has been dancing and jumping along the length of her crate since the moment she arrived. You can check her out in this video. Without our intervention she would still be caught in a cruel cycle of abuse; it is truly rewarding to know that now she has been ushered into a whole new life.
Today, as our partner rescue groups arrive to take these dogs to their new temporary homes, we all feel like dancing a little. The dogs have all been vetted, vaccinated and are ready to begin their journey to forever homes.
The dogs rescued during the operation were taken to the following shelters or rescue groups: Nashville Humane Association (TN), New Leash on Life/Humane Association of Wilson County (TN), Happy Tales Humane (TN), Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society (KY), and The Anti-Cruelty Society (IL).
Jordan Crump is a public information officer for The Humane Society of the United States.