- Mahatma Gandhi
Since 1996 one main mission of Hearts United for Animals has been the rescue and rehabilitation of puppy mill dogs. During that time we have rescued over 5,000 dogs from puppy mills. These gentle, fragile creatures have both broken and warmed our hearts. Every set of frightened, sad eyes steels our resolve to see the horrible practice of holding dogs prisoner come to an end. It is our belief that dogs are companion animals, not meant to be housed in bare wire cages with no blankets, no clean food or water, no veterinary care, no ability to touch grass and no understanding of love or kindness. The atrocities we see are staggering. The injuries we repair, both physical and emotional, are beyond comprehension for most loving pet owners. It is a labor of love, one that pays back when we see a dog know health, touch grass and understand that they are safe and loved for the first time in their long lives.
- Let everyone know about the suffering of the parents of pet stores puppies. Even though "puppy mill" is becoming a more common term there are those who still don't understand. Let them know that buying puppies from pet stores and over the internet is the reason that puppy mills are still in business, and the reason that the parents of those puppies are still suffering year after year in pure misery. To help spread the word you can order our Prisoners of Greed brochures to pass out at events, local grooming shops, veterinary offices, pet supplies stores, etc. Just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to send you some. They are a great way to illustrate the importance of everyone coming together to help the suffering animals who cannot speak for themselves.
- Let your state and local elected officials know you care. Let them know that you won't tolerate puppy mills in your state and if they vote against legislation that would help the dogs you will vote against them and tell all of your friends to do the same. It is hard to believe that anyone would vote against a bill to help animals, but in the Midwest we see it all the time. Puppy mill proprietors scare farmers into believing that if dogs are provided more comfort their agricultural practices might be next to be regulated. This is completely absurd, but unfortunately it has worked. Let the legislators know that companion animals are your concern. Over 60% of American households own at least one pet. We are collectively a huge voice…we just need to use it. Ask where they stand, track how they vote, inform everyone you know which legislators are for and which ones are against man's best friend. Look for voting bloc groups in your area. In Iowa you can sign up for legislative alerts at www.iavotersforcompanionanimals.org.
- Educate yourself, know the issues, tell everyone you know DON'T SHOP. ADOPT.
- Educate the children. Our curriculum, created by a team of HUA volunteer educators and headed up by the Director of Curriculum for the Lincoln Public Schools, is available at no cost for grades 3 through 8. This curriculum includes many facets of animal care and concern. We find that children clearly understand companion animal issues. They feel badly for the dogs who suffer, they want the suffering to end, and they are willing to do anything within their power to help. We have some very heartwarming stories of fundraisers and projects that children who have happened across our website have implemented. These children are optimistic and pure of heart. We've had children put up Christmas trees at their schools and collect donations for the rescued animals. We've seen children print pictures from our website and put them in gorgeous handmade scrapbooks with each dog's name and story carefully handwritten so they can show all of their classmates. A six-year old girl whose family adopted two dogs from HUA tells the story of her dog, Tandy. She tells how Tandy was locked in a cage and forced to give birth to puppies, and how her puppies were taken from her and sold. This little girl and her sister felt so strongly that they set up a lemonade stand to benefit animals in need. Girl Scout troops have taken on the cause by raising money to help our rescue efforts. Entire classrooms have come together to make fleece blankets for the rescued puppy mill dogs, dogs who they know have never had the privilege of having a blanket or bed before in their entire lives. One elementary school student won a contest in which his prize was to have a pizza party for his class. He declined to have the pizza party and asked instead that the money be sent to HUA to help the dogs. Children fully understand WHY the dogs are with us, and they all go home and tell their parents DON'T SHOP. ADOPT. Kids get it, and they are the future of animal welfare! Please help educate them.
- Advertise. It could be as large as a billboard or as small as a bumper sticker. If you have the means to spread the word, large or small, please do it. The more visible the issue, the more people will talk and become educated. Do you have an idea and resources for a print ad? Perfect location and funding for a billboard? Write to us and we will be happy to help with design and details!
- Support HUA in our efforts to rescue puppy mill dogs. Monetary donations make it possible to rehabilitate the dogs we rescue from puppy mills. Most need extensive and expensive care to restore their health. It is almost a guarantee that any dog over the age of 5 who has come to us from a puppy mill will lose half or more of his teeth. We are seeing more and more luxating patellas due to poor breeding practices. Hernias, tumors, infections and fistulas are also a common occurrence with puppy mill dogs. Anything we can do within our means to relieve their pain we do. Our vet bills average $13,000 per month. Please consider a contribution to help provide comfort and health to the dogs.
- Adopt a dog from HUA. For each dog adopted it makes space for another to be rescued. The requests are pouring in for us to take more dogs, but we can only do it if we find good homes for the ones currently residing at HUA. We will not overextend ourselves, as it isn't safe or fair to the dogs already in our care to have to live in an overcrowded environment. Tell everyone you know about our wonderful dogs for adoption. Each space that opens at the shelter means another life can be saved!
- Margaret Mead