A Place to Bark and Meow Blog by Bernie Berlin

Saturday, July 12, 2008
Heavy Post: Independence Day came early...
"Hold Onto The Good"
- I Thessalonians 5:21

This post has been a very difficult one for me to write..
I have struggled for the past week, trying to find the right words.

My volunteer work with the H.S.U.S. puppy mill seizure here in Tennessee, has kept me very busy and has emotionally drained me, beyond words.
We took in 33 dogs from the seizure to be placed with "Anti Cruelty Society" in Chicago. 
They spent a few days here with us, before they went.
Giving them time to get settled, groomed, thorough vet checks & health certificates, before their trip.

When I brought the dogs to Chicago, as I turned the corner and saw the "Anti Cruelty Society", I started to cry..
It was as if, every dog that I rescued, their memories came to revisit me at that moment.

I know what these dogs had to endure and that very soon, they would be in homes, real homes and not cages.  So many of these dogs have spent years of their lives, in horrible conditions and now they would have a chance at a true life.  I decided to stayed a few extra days in Chicago to recharge & unwind. Stopped at the shelter on Saturday to find people lined up all around the block to adopt these dogs for they had been on the news. 
While I was extremely grateful so many people showed up, I also wished, at that very moment all humane societies & rescues had that type of turnout daily for the great shelter dogs, who wait patiently for a human of their own to love & care for them every day of their lives.  
The shelter has screened and educated their adopters as to the special care and understanding these animal will need.  If you ever consider adopting a puppy mill survivor this is what you will need to know.

These are the before and after pictures. 
Amazing, aren't they?!!  
The saying a picture says a thousand words can be see in their eyes.

These pictures were taken, when they took their first steps on ground. 
Not cage wire, but grass.  
Scared to death at first, after several hours, they realized they were safe & started to relax, play and smile.
These dogs lived in rabbit hutches, many, many, dogs in one hutch.
Click "here" to watch video footage of the rescue.

Their poor feet were so embedded with fecal matter even after multiple washings & soakings we could not get it off their pads.
I consider myself a strong person, but this experience was one that hit me terribly hard, brought me to my knees so to speak, my heart and soul will never be the same again.. 
Images forever burned into my memory.  
I had been on one other puppy mill bust a few years ago, but this was the absolute worst.
Nothing can ever prepare you for the unspeakable things that people can do..
But until you see it with your very own eyes, it is that very moment, you will dedicate your lifetime to the cause.
While I know many of you have a hard time with these types of heavy posts, it is important to read, to help change the world so to speak.  I always try to shield you by not showing the gore, for I know most of you have a very difficult time with these things, but you will know by just looking at the faces, they need us to help them..  So please take a moment for their sakes.

Puppy mills are a greed based industry, preying on animal loving people. 
The animals live a lifetime of misery, procreating for profit. 
Unsuspecting people just looking to buy a pure bred puppy, buy pups from pet stores not realizing that they are helping an unspeakable industry continue on.. 
If you must buy a purebred dog, please research and find a reputable breeder.
I highly recommend rescues and shelters.  There is a purebred rescue for every breed, so please adopt when you can!!!

I am asking you,  if you love animals and want to Help Stop Puppy mills, join H.S.U.S. in their campaign to end this horrible industry. I have seen first hand what people who are dedicated to the cause can do.  Whether you are there physically working or just being in support of stopping inhumane treatment of animals, we all can play a part in seeing an end to puppy mills.
Please post a banner to your website or blog, buy a t-shirt, join Facebook and commit to the cause.  I know I have readers from all over the world, it costs nothing to put a banner up, to help raise awareness, so please if you believe in the ethical treatment of animals post the banner.  Together, we can make a difference for the animals!!!
All the links are hooked up to the words, let me know if you have posted a banner, bought a t-shirt or joined FaceBook.  I would love to know:)
Also, if you want another blog to add to your blog rolls, check out Wayne's Blog.

I LOVE you guys and am thankful everyday you are with me & read this blog.
I promise to post the way over due winners for my giveaways tomorrow!!!

My cat - my best friend - was a rescue. I found this post very moving. Thank you for the work you do to save abandoned and abused animals. And thank God for all the people who lined up to adopt those puppy mill dogs, to love them and give them new lives.
I've been a lurker for a long time now, patiently waiting for the day when we're ready to adopt a dog.

I've added the banner to my blog.
Oh Bernie! That is incredible, the pictures really are a thousand words. Bless you and everyone who helped shut this horrible place down. Posting banner now... XX, Candie
Bless you Bernie for helping to rescue these babies. I hope you are able to find wonderful loving homes for every one of them.
Amen, Bernie for all the wonderful and amazing work you do. I don't know where you get all the enegy, but I think doing what you want to do and making a difference generates power! Added a banner to my blog and will promote your website among my rescue friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thanks for the post, as hard as it was to write, people need to hear it. The truth isn't always pretty and easy to hear, but a necessity regardless.
Thanks for all you do for our dumb friends!
I have no words to describe how disgusted I am at these "people" who would treat life so poorly.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to see that horrible sight. Thanks for doing so much for the animals. I got one of the banners on my blog. Take Care
DEar Bernie
You are by far the strongest women I have ever met. You are my Hero.. I will post the banner. I actually would like to replicate your post and put it on my blog . Please contact me if that's okay.

I love you dear girl!
I can not imagine what the dogs went through. You are to be commended for saving their lives and finding them good homes. Such blood sucking parasites as puppy mill breeders should be jailed for life, just like they did to those poor defenseless animals.
Thanks for the work you are doing and your right the appreciation is in their eyes.

Teri Salvador
I have added the banner to my page! Keep up the good work :)

I have two rescued dogs and five rescued cats, and I find it very difficult to control my desire to take in more. Especially after seeing the wonderful little guys whose stories you post.

oh Bernie, words just cannot say enough..... I'm off to go put a banner on my blog.
love and peace to you and all the doggies and kitties that need help.
bless you Bernie. youre tougher than I am by far
That treatment of animals, the breeding for stores has GOT to stop. Banners going up on my blog right now. Thank god those dogs have found loving homes, in part thanks to you.
Bernie - Bless you for this work. All 3 of our kitties are rescued.
There's a special place in heaven for you, Bernie. ...And all your furbabies will be there to greet you when you arrive.

You are an incredibly strong and loving woman, (among your other attributes.)

Diane, Grace & Scooter
Ok so I have cried - loads - one at how cruel people can be but also at the great achievement you have made and that you have now given these animals the chance of a much better life - your the best friend these dogs will ever have and as much as they cannot tell you that I hope you can feel it

Traci x

PS I have an awrd for you on my blog :)
I had to wipe tears from my eyes more than once, my what strength you have. I've put a banner on my blog in support of these loving animals (and you!)
Give a pup a hug for me!

Thank you for your courage and energy in posting this ... let alone what it took to actually do the work.

Your post actually made me bother to go to the effort of creating an identity so I could say thanks!

Looking forward to meeting you in person next March down-under in friendly Australia :D
(this might be a re-run as the first post didn't seem visible )


Thanks for your courage in posting, let alone actually doing the work!

Looking forward to meeting you in person down-uder in March next year :D
Bernie, I have given you an award for your blog.
Please see
Bernie I cannot thank you enough. I live in Chicago, and that little lady with the short white hair shown in the photos here, that you brought to Chicago, well she now has a home with me. She is the sweetest little thing and everyone that has met her instantly falls in love with her. I can only imagine what she had been thru before you helped her, but I did view the videos on you-tube, and cried thru all 3. The evil thing that held these little souls "hostage" ( I cannot even bear to call her human ) I hope she is miserable for the rest of her days !
I have made a donation today & will try to in the future when funds allow.
Thank you again from the bottom of "our" hearts,
Kathleen & 'belle
Bless you for the work you are doing! I just discovered your blog.

I am typing through the tears. What a horrific thing for these animals to survive. It is unbelievable how evil and sadistic people can be.

Your before and after pictures are so powerful. I have 2 rescue dogs. It brings me to tears to think about what they endured at the hands of their previous "caretakers"

Although we have never met, you are never far from my thoughts. It takes a huge heart and tremendous courage to do what you do. You are living my dream. There is such a tremendous need and I wish I could help as much as you do.

Since I have small children, the best I can do now is to continue to spread the word and post a banner. My children and I will continue to volunteer with the H.S.U.S. as well.

Much love. You and the animals are always in my prayers.
I just found your blog through Tim Holtz's blog. I fostered rescues for about five years for a breed-specific rescue, and several of the dogs that I had were mill rescues -- in fact, the first long-term foster that I had was a mill rescue. I will never forget her. We named her Diamond, and like the dogs that you describe in your post, she had no clue what grass was, was in fact terrified at first, when she felt it under her paws. For days and days, her favorite thing was to just sit and curl up in a lap, as if she was just soaking in the love and warmth. Blessings to you for doing what you do!!!
You are a beautiful and brave woman Bernie. I sobbed as I read this post and imagined the rescued doggies taking their first steps onto grass.

I am sure they will all find wonderful new and loving homes (I pray they do).

I adopted my little black kittie Esmeralda from a shelter 2 years ago. And I will never forget the look of pure joy on her little face - the first day she rolled on my lawn and felt sun and a gentle breeze on her fur. I will treasure that look of happiness forever.

Bless your brave and courageous heart!
Added a banner, Bernie. Thanks for all you do.
Incidentally, I have three adopted dogs, and one dumpster cat. My oldest dog, Como, was a "three time loser" who had been brought to the shelter, adopted, returned, adopted, returned, and when I adopted him had one week to go before the end of his "term" in the shelter. He is the best, most faithful and loving dog, and I swear he, like so many others, knows who saved him. I wouldn't have it any other way...
It breaks my heart to see these poor little guys in these conditions. The problem is that people just have no idea where the cute little animals that they see in shops etc come from.... Keep up the good work Bernie. Have added a banner to my site too! xoxo
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