Video: Puppy Mill Survivor’s Amazing Transformation

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 3:45pm
puppy mill victim

Zack was one of about 150 Jack Russell Terriers and Shiba Inus we rescued from a Michigan puppy mill earlier this year. After rescue, he needed surgery on his eyes—but he also needed extensive behavior help.

ASPCA behavior expert Kristen Collins was at the rescue to help remove dogs from the property, and she noticed Zack right away. He shook violently as he crouched in terror, his eyes wide. When Collins approached his enclosure, he bolted for the broken crate that was his only shelter from the elements.

"He looked like the most fearful dog on the property," Collins remembers. She knew Zack's best hope was intensive treatment at our Rehab Center for puppy mill and hoarding survivors.

When Zack arrived at the Rehab Center, his behavior was no different than the first time Collins saw him quake with fear at her approach. He cowered in the back of his space, ears flat and body low. And yet—after a few days, though he remained skeptical about human touch, Zack began to tentatively wag his tail at the sight of familiar people.

Today, Zack has been adopted and is part of a loving family. We wanted to show you the amazing progress Zack made during his time with us—please watch his video below.

We also wanted to thank those of you who have given to the ASPCA. Zack’s recovery wouldn’t be possible without you. If you haven’t given recently, you can do so here to help other animals like Zack. Thank you!

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Also, there are some very sweet older pets that need homes. Some are due to a natural disaster or foreclosers, etc. There is an organization that rescues these pets. Young at Heart Pet Rescue. and look under their list of animals.


My dog was adopted also. A beautiful lab about 1 year (at the time) who was left in a backyard and got parasites soo bad. What an ordeal dealing with that medical issue. He would just look at me with the saddest eyes I ever saw as if to say "I didn't mean to do that, but I can't help it. I'm sorry". Will still have to be careful on what he eats and has terrible reactions to shots, but he is a GREAT dog. He just had his 5th birthday!

Melanie Sullivan

What is the purpose of looking around the country for a specific breed?? If you want to help, find a great dog of any age and unknown breed at the local animal shelter. I have had 6 dogs over the last 17 yrs., and I found 5 of them on streets of Cleveland. (Luckily, I was able to find homes for 6 other street dogs and a cat). They have all been great and EXTREMELY loyal companions. I now have 3 dogs. I found Wiley 14 yrs ago, Cali off a freeway last yr and old Maggie was the oldest dog at the pound and had a ton of issues. They are unique looking w unique personalities. Designed by nature, not a breeder.


Well said!


It broke my heart when I read your first enews regarding these dogs from a Michigan puppy mill. Have all the Shiba Inus that were brought to your facility in New Jersey been adopted? God Bless to all the people who work to find all animals a home.

Linda Kanter

I can't express more strongly my respect and gratitude for what the ASPCA and other wonderful animal welfare groups do. I just do not have enough money to donate much. Whne I see photos or videos of the rescue operations & the animals that survive and become rehabilitated, I am brought to tears. There is just so much animal abuse on this planet that some days I am distraught. Thanks ASPCA, blessings on all you do !


I wish I could work for a group like this.


This story just breaks my heart! Thank God for those who helped him & many other animals! I am glad Zack is much better! He is adorable.


Zack, you are absolutely adorable and I am so happy that you are now fully loved and safe and happy. Your spirit to survive and thrive and trust again is inspiring. Bless your heart.

Animal Abuse No More

It breaks my heart to see that a poor jack russell has been through so much pain that he had forgotten what affection is. Why do people even do this to animals? It's inhumane!