A Puppy Mill Survivor
Odin's Story Tells the True Cost of "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?"
Odin's story is a sad tale about the truth behind puppy mills. We have established Odin's Fund to raise money for those dogs that come to us with higher than usual medical or behavioral needs. We don't ever want to turn a White German Shepherd away because we do not have the money. Your support will ensure that doesn't happen. Our love and dedication will ensure they have their chance at Happily-Ever-After. Consider a donation to Odin's Fund today...
Here's Odin's story...(caution: the content and photos included at the end of this story may be upsetting)
I start my story on September 14, 2002 because that's when my life really began. My new mom calls it my Re-Birthday. Another shot at life is what I so desperately needed. Back to my beginning.
September 14th started off like every other day before it...no food or water, my ears hurt from infection, in fact my whole body ached. I didn't feel good and no one cared. That's life in a puppy mill for you - you can't expect much. I was one of 109 dogs that spent our lives abused and neglected for profit. The operator of the puppy mill made money selling our offspring to pet stores, who also make money off the backs of animals. You would think some of that money would go to our care, but it didn't. We were a totally disposable commodity and sadly many before us died and were "disposed" of without a second thought. Too bad that none of the people who bought our puppies saw the way we lived. Here we sat, year after year, in the hot sun or frigid snow, slowly dying from the numerous aliments that inflicted our tattered bodies. Not to mention the abuse and neglect that destroyed our souls. Our scars are not only physical, but emotional as well. Do you think if people who bought our puppies knew how much we suffered, they would have thought twice about supporting such a place? I hope so...I hope our suffering would not be in vain.
But fortunately, that day didn't end the same as those before it. A group of rescuers, angels in my eyes, came to our puppy mill with a warrant. They said they were taking all of us. At first I was worried...I was so sick, I thought for sure they would leave me behind. I thought, why bother with such a pathetic dog? Boy was I wrong - they freed us all from our prisons. Crawling through trailers with no ventilation covered in feces, urine, dead rats and other sights that have been forever burned into their memories. Others were rescued from outdoor jail cells in the same deplorable conditions. I was so scared. I hoped they would understand that I had never been touched by kind human hands, so I was unsure what to expect. They did understand. My rescuers patiently sat and coaxed me out into their loving arms.
My journey continued to a parking lot where there was a lot more excitement. More rescuers, from several different rescue groups, were there to pick us up. They carefully picked up their assigned dogs and off they went. I waited, but no one was there for me yet. Finally my person came. But wait...someone is begging to take me. Begging for me? Someone wants me that much? Yes indeed, my foster mom, half jokingly, offered to arm-wrestle the lady from the other rescue for the privilege of taking me. It seems my sad eyes had touched her soul. They laughed and with a big smile and a tear in her eye, I was loaded into her car. I was now loved, wanted and an official rescue dog. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have been so scared.
My new foster family saw past my ravaged exterior, looked beyond my shattered soul and just saw me, now named Odin, a dog in need. And boy, were my needs great. I was heartworm positive, had severe periodontal disease, my ears were so infected that a black tar like substance oozed from them, my nose and tips of my ears were bloodied or missing from years of frostbite and fly strikes...the list goes on and on. Over time, my aliments were healed one by one. I continued to rehabilitate physically and I felt better every day. I have now blossomed into the handsome White German Shepherd my foster mom saw - even on that first day.
However, one aliment is taking longer to heal. You see, there is no "quick-fix" medicine for my spirit. A lifetime of abuse is hard to overcome, but I am working through it. Had I known it would have made my foster mom so happy, I would have wagged my tail long ago. Instead it took me five months in her loving care to trust that I could be that happy. And after eight months, I finally picked up my first toy and ran with it, almost gleefully, through the yard. I heard my foster mom on the phone telling everyone about it. I guess it was a big deal, especially when you think back to September 14, 2002...where there I sat, like every other day before it...waiting my turn to die.
When sentenced, the mill operator received a pathetic sentence of three years probation, no jail time, no fines, no restitution and worst yet, the judge awarded the owner the right to obtain two pets; a chance for her to rehabilitate. The sentence was an insult to the animals she abused and those who rescued them. Please help Odin and the countless other dogs like him who are abused and neglected for profit, by shopping at stores that do not sell dogs or cats, but instead work with local rescue groups, recognizing that too many die each year in shelters.
As for Odin, he now calls his foster mom, simply Mom, as she has happily adopted him. They now continue their journey together - learning to be happy and be loved. It is in Odin's honor, that Snow Capped Shepherd Rescue was founded. We thank Odin every day for the privilege of loving him.