I want to give you some time to think. Just think about our animals, the problems, the good things. I want you to think before you start reading this article.

I was thinking about my foster dog, Joy, the other day. Long story short, she was abandoned by a puppy mill. I will give you a brief description of a puppy mill. Imagine you are Joy. Golden fluffy fur, nice medium size, very adorable face. You are in the puppy mill. You are crammed in a small crate. You get very little food. You are there to have puppies. When your puppies are young, you get separated from them. Your puppies are crammed in crates with little food and no exercise for their energetic bodies. They wait and wait for adopters. When you can’t have any more puppies, you get thrown away, as if you haven’t done anything, as if you haven’t sacrificed every single one of your puppies, as if you’re not a living thing, as if you just have served people for money.

It just makes me sad to think about all those dogs who are treated as if they’re not a living thing. So we all owe those animals love. An animal’s heart can’t break so many times.

Now I’ll shift things over and give a small introduction of me. I’m Mia. I’m 11 years old. My family and I have fostered 16 dogs, adopted 1 rabbit and 1 fish. My family and I fostered Joy from a local shelter called Animal Care League. When Joy came to our house, she was frantic and scared. She was scared of almost everything. The vacuum cleaner, sudden movements, any noises. She’d scramble across the floor. My mom and I were shocked. She seemed traumatized. Who could ever do such a cruel thing to such a gentle and sweet dog? 

Joy came from a puppy mill for Wheaton Terriers, Animal Care League explained. She was forcefully having puppies, getting separated very early in the puppy’s life, and then was abandoned. I hated that story. I hated the mystery as to where the puppy mill was. I wished and wished that Joy could speak, and tell us everything. 

So I finally decided that I want everyone to join me on my goal. I want to go step by step to make it very hard for a person/people to create any animal mills. I also want to help people understand how bad the conditions are in puppy mills so they decide on their own not to buy puppies that come from mills. I would be extremely delighted if all animals from the animal mills get freed and go to a shelter. I will be ecstatic if all the shelters become no-kill shelters, and if there is no space, the animals could fit into another shelter, specially created to take in animals from shelters with no room for them. 

I want to make step 1 come true, and then I’ll move on. I hope for the best, and I won’t give up. Please help! Please help! How? Here are some ways:

If you buy an animal, try to buy it from a shelter instead of pet stores and animal mills.

Spread the message to your neighbors, and contact people you believe have to do with an animal mill.

Go to thepuppymillproject.org and start trying to help locally. 

I’d like to say some thank you’s. First, to Animal Care League and Paws Chicago for helping my family and I understand more about animals. Next, to Cara Sue Archterberg who wrote Another Good Dog. I read that book and it inspired me to write this article.

You can find more information on the website for The Puppy Mill Project (https://www.thepuppymillproject.org/).

 Mia Pinc is a fifth-grader at Irving Elementary School in Oak Park.

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