July 13, 2010
'Saving Gracie' Tells Tale of Puppy Mill Survivor
Book is 'heartfelt account of a dog’s journey through rescue and rehabilitation'
by Beau Archer
A recently published book by Carol Bradley, Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills, (Wiley, 2010), is a captivating assessment of the problems with U.S. puppy mills and a heartfelt account of one dog's journey through rescue and rehabilitation.
Bradley's book centers on the 2006 Mike-Mar Kennel puppy mill case in Pennsylvania which exposed the underbelly of atrocious puppy mill operations and how puppy mill owners deceive the public. Saving Gracie also offers a compelling narrative of the cases that helped pave the way to Pennsylvania's Dog Law reform two years later.
An insider's view
Bradley presents a true insider's view of what goes on behind the scenes of a puppy mill case as it mounts and unfolds, the challenges of funding the care of dogs when they must be held as evidence through a trial, and the physical and psychological problems that puppy mill survivors endure, very often for the rest of their lives.
Bradley leads readers through the trials and tribulations of Linda Jackson's rehabilitation of "Gracie," a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel who Linda adopted after the Mike-Mar Kennel case concluded and the dogs were finally released after months of living in various animal shelters.
Sharing her story
Gracie, among other health problems, had eye problems, ear infections, and was so shy that she averted her eyes whenever anyone would look at her. Linda and her family struggled to meet Gracie's needs. In the end they came to accept that she lead a traumatizing life and would never be like a dog who did not share her history.
Bringing Gracie into their family gave the Bradleys firsthand experience of just how cruel puppy mills are to breeding dogs and also propelled them to caution others about puppy mills and encourage people to buy from reputable breeders or, better yet, adopt their next pet.
Spotlight on advocacy
Delivering to readers the passion and dedication of local humane investigators, Saving Gracie also chronicles the advocacy work of many individuals and national animal welfare groups, that will affect the future of puppy mills and legislation designed to help dogs in these mass breeding operations.
Saving Gracie is a good introduction to the puppy mill problem and the mounting successes taking place across the country as more and more people are educated about them. It analyzes how puppy mill cases are handled, reveals the inherent deceit and cruelty of such facilities, and depicts a slice of the lives of puppy mill survivors and the families that take them in and love them. This book gives hope about the future of dogs in puppy mills and demonstrates that when passionate advocates, citizens, legislators, and other leaders work together significant achievements can be accomplished.
Beau Archer is outreach coordinator for The HSUS's Puppy Mills campaign.