Metro Pets

By Linda Kirkland

I always look into the windows of pet stores. I think we all do, it’s hard to ignore the small, cuddly pups romping and playing. But I’ve also learned that we can’t ignore where many of these animals come from. I love dogs. I always have. I’m one of those people who are afraid to actually walk into the pet store because I’m always afraid that I’ll end up taking one of those puppies home. But this isn’t a story about a pet store puppy

A few weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge and foster a beautiful one-year-old Yorkie. I had some trouble with a name, and finally chose Sherlock. Because of his intuitive, curious and astute personality it fits him perfectly. It was amazing, considering where Sherlock came from. His life began as a puppy mill stud in the Midwest, where he was almost euthanized. The last minute, he was saved by an organization called Best Friends, a truly remarkable group of people whose sole focus is to save animals from shelters and puppy mills and then find them permanent homes. Sherlock was found in a small crate with three females. At first glance, this doesn¹t sound too unpleasant, except there was no heat or ventilation and the crate was outdoors. . All too often, the pups freeze or die from malnutrition. The puppy mill owners don’t care. There’s a lot of “inventory,” and a few losses don’t matter.

Four times a year Pup My Ride transports dogs from puppy mills and shelters into caring hands. I wasn’t prepared for the arrival which was really a celebration. More than 200 volunteers from various rescue groups ran after the truck clapping and yelling; it was as if they were greeting a group of refugees. But then, I guess they were.

The doors of the truck swung open. Each dog was handed over to the appropriate rescue organization. The emotion involved was overwhelming. The dogs came out of the truck with sad, scared, or resigned eyes. Every one of them was then wrapped in a warm blanket and held, caressed and hugged, probably for the first time.

Sherlock was handed over to one of the volunteers. Little did I know the dog being carried to the Yorkie911Rescue van would be mine to care for until he found a fur- ever home.

Heidi, President of Yorkie911 Rescue Inc. stood by the van inspecting the physical condition of each of the Yorkies. I have such profound respect for the untiring efforts of this rescue group

Next stop was Barks ‘N Bubbles on Long Island. Irene donated her facility to clean and groom the pups. Anais, Vice President of Yorkie 911 Rescue washed; as volunteers blew dry the pups hair. It was likely the first time for many of these canine “clients,” but they soldiered through. It felt like Santa’s workshop.

Yorkie911Rescue found foster homes for all 14 of the pups and one was mine. I marveled at Sherlock, who immediately assumed the mantle of the Manhattan dog, prancing along West 14th Street, greeting people and checking out their dogs. And that night, for the first time, sweet Sherlock had a stuffed toy, a chewy bone, a soft and warm bed, healthy food and someone to care for him.

We both had found home. He allowed me to rub his belly. That’s complete trust from a pup that had no reason to trust. That is home. That is the spirit of the holidays.

There are hundreds of rescue groups across the country building awareness about inhumane conditions in puppy mills and encouraging people to adopt rather than buy pets.

Trust me – it feels a lot better than walking into a pet shop.

For further information or to make donations contact
http://www.metwork.bestfriends.org.

If, like me, you’re set on a Yorkshire Terrier, contact http://www.yorkie911rescue.com. Donations are always needed to help future rescues.

Originally published January 2011
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