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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Not All people are scary, I agree there are way to many uncaring people in this world, but thank God there is hope for this terrible event & pray that puppy mill's Will be banned forever.


Bless dear little Zack and bless all of you wonderful people who made his amazing transformation possible. I always rest assured that the money I am able to send to you will be well-spent.


While I will always appreciate what you do for helpless animals, and I will always donate to the cause, I was disappointed to learn that it was literally impossible to try to adopt one of these Jack Russells from this horrible situation. My husband & I have had two Jacks for approx. 16 yrs. We absolutely love them! They are our children. When I heard about this puppy mill I made several calls to offer assistance by way of adoption. I made several calls to 3 states only to get nowhere with my efforts. No one could help me help a dog! And I do understand the time it takes to get these dogs thru the mental & physical transition. I was willing to wait. I was willing to drive to Michigan. I still got nowhere. It might be a good idea to explain to folks how this process works, or if adoption is just not an option. Thanks for your time & efforts, however, this experience was sad....


Check in with breed rescue organizations, & with Best Friends in Utah, as well. They have a very active adoption program & can often help organize transport.


I'm so happy for Zack! What a cutie. Many thanks to all of you at the ASPCA for the difference you make in these animals' lives.

Howard K

Thank you once again ASPCA. I am a long time contributor to your wonderful organization. My wife and I recently finalized the adoption of 2 1/2 year old brother and sister cats. We are both on fixed incomes through Social Securty Disability and do not have much in the way of disposable income. However, we feel so strongly that it is vitally important to contribute what we can to help these precious souls. I just want people to know that even the $20 per month that we send in helps in so many ways. On behalf of my wife, myself and our beautiful new babies Lady and Pride, thank you for all you do and we urge anyone who reads this to give whatever they can to this vital cause, even if it is just a small amount. The animals depend on our support and if you have ever experienced the joy and love that an animal can provide to you, you will certainly understand how worthy of a cause this is.


It is so nice to see the after videos! he is a cute little guy and every pooch deserves love and every puppy mill needs to be closed down and made to pay the price for what they did to innocent pups. Finds need to be large enough that its not worth the risk. Maybe then things would change!!!

Bobbe Cook

I have a puppy mill rescue and every time I see these videos, I cry. My rescue, Astro, took a year of constant love and training before he trusted me enough to crawl in my lap! Keep up this wonderful work, you guys. Every dog is worth it.


you guys are angels and will be blessed. I wish I could have a job like you. These little creatures are Gods gifts to people I pray everyday that eveil people that run mills get it until then I pray they get what they deserve. Thank you ASPCA and the family that got Zack was blessed as was he. I cry every time I see the things you guys do. God Bless you!!!!

Brad Olson

My hat is off to all you GREAT workers in saving these wonderful animals!! Really good to see great endings. Congrats!