Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills

by Carol Bradley

My Synopsis

Story of a woman who rescues a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from a puppy mill, as well as the atrocious state of puppy mills in general.

My Thoughts

I thought this would be just a story about one dog, Gracie, and her rescue from a puppy mill, but it was more than that.  Much of the book focused on the truth about puppy mills, their lack of regulation, and the appalling treatment of the dogs,  Although licensed puppy mills are subject to stricter regulation thanks to awareness, if breeders choose to operate without a license, which many of them now do in order to avoid being "watched," that's their prerogative. 

While reading the book I felt so much guilt about buying my two dogs from breeders and now wonder how they and their parents were treated.  I will never, ever get a dog from anywhere but a shelter or rescue organization.  Ever.  I don't care if my husband insists on a non-shedding dog!  We'll just have to find one at the pound.

I loved the stories about Gracie and other rescue dogs and their transition from puppy mill living to living in a wonderful, loving home.  Reading about the dogs' difficulties walking on grass or up stairs when all they were used to for years was a wire cage was interesting.  And it broke my heart to learn about the practice of debarking dogs, where they jam a plastic tube down the dogs' throats, rupturing their vocal cords so they can no longer bark, and how dogs become deaf because of untreated ear infections.  It went on and on, and is definitely not for the fainthearted. 

Do I Recommend?

Yes if you want to know exactly how dogs are treated in puppy mills, which you should if you ever have an urge to buy a purebred or "designer" dog from a breeder.



My Rating

4/5 for enjoyment, but 5/5 for education and information 

Other reviews

Bibliophile by the Sea


Aths said...

Much as I LOVE dogs, I know very little of the troubles they face. It is time for me to check out this book!

Amy said...

I'm glad this book shows the truth of puppy mills. And don't worry, there are plenty of rescues that do get pure-bred dogs, including the non-shedding kind!

Lynne said...

Aths, you really should. It's just one of those things you should know (lol)

Amy: I've heard that before, that shelters really do get pure-bred, non-shedding dogs. I myself don't care about the shedding and love dogs of any size; my husband on the other hand, he likes smallish dogs that leave no fur behind.

Diane said...

Great review Lynne. I felt the same way. My SIL's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescue is doing so well; both she and the dog are thrilled (5) weeks with her now.

Lynne said...

That's great about your SIL's pup. I love to hear that.

Oh, and if you ever come into lots of money like you said, I'm joining you in your quest to help dogs. That's exactly what I want to do!

Anonymous said...

This debarking-by-pipe-down-the-throat is just a myth. My vet tells me it would kill a dog, not debark it. No one except vets ever tries to debark dogs. It is rare and specialized surgery that even most vets don't know how to do. Anyway, it is already illegal for anyone other than a vet to do it - it is called "practicing veterinary medicine without a license" and it is a criminal offense. If it is not enforced, it should be - but I believe that cases where it isn't enforced are very rare, much rarer than that book leads you to believe. I wonder what other sensationalistic but untrue “facts” it includes. In fact, I wonder if this book can be believed at all? For instance, nobody can “choose to operate without a license,” since federal law (Animal Welfare Act) is set up so if a person is subject to licensing requirements they cannot sell any puppies at all without the license. The reason is that the law requires licenses only for those who sell to middlemen (dealer or pet shop) for ultimate resale. The middlemen cannot buy from them (because they would lose their licenses if they did), so that kind of breeder cannot sell without a license. This is because if they sell directly to a pet owner, the pet owner comes and sees the conditions under which the dog has been raised and essentially functions as an inspector. If the conditions are bad, the buyer is supposed to be smart enough NOT to buy the dog. But a lot of people are stupid nowadays and buy obviously sick puppies because they feel sorry for them. All that does is keep irresponsible breeders in business, whereas if people refused to buy their puppies, they would soon be out of business. And if breeders sell some puppies directly to pet owners but others to middlemen, they still have to have a license, if they sell even ONE puppy to a middleman, so the law is clear.

Lynne said...

Just like other laws, they are clear, but not everyone abides by them.

Tribute Books said...

I am a dog lover, would definitely read this book. Thanks!

Staci said...

This one sounds like a powerful and eye-opening experience!!


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