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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jennifer raifte...

Well, I've had my happy cry for today. What a great little dog. And thank God for people like Kristen Collins and places like doggy rehab centres. Good to know we are helping, make a small difference somewhere.


Thank you to all the rescuers, the volunteers and trainers at the ASPCA for saving these precious little souls. People who do this to animals don't even deserve to live and breathe the same air as these little angels. I wish all these places where animals are treated so badly would be shut down and the people who run them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, including being forbidden to EVER have another animal in their possession for the rest of their sorry, miserable lives. This is just horrible and it makes me sick to think about what the animals have to endure in their lives. They are so precious.


I adopted a puppy mill dog that for 6 years was in a dark cage - she was completely unsocialized, skinny and miserable. I have to say it took about a year - but she is the most wonderful, beautiful and loving longhair dachshund you can imagine. It is usually no small task to bring these dogs around, but I am so glad I invested the time. It helped that we had another dog in the house - they're also inseparable now. Nice work both Zach and ASPCA.

Naomi Scott

I started crying when I watched this. Poor Zack - and now Lucky Zack! How do we put into words the good work that you do at the ASPCA? I recently had a financial setback and was trying to decide if I could keep up my monthly donation - well watching this video made me realize that I will just have to find a way to make it work. What you do is too important and I would hate to think of what these animals would do without you. Thank you for all you do!!

Stacie Bray

So grateful for the ASPCA! You guys are wonderful and so happy to here about the many many lives you save. Couldn't spend my money better than helping save animals lives. Thank you!!

Karen LaGUire

I am proud to be a supporting member of such a wonderful life saving group - I also belong to Safe Haven Rescue and adoptio,Inc and we have rescued and adopted out over 500 dogs since Oct of 2008 - The job is wonderful the unconditional love these furbabies give is awesome m- All they want is to be treated kind suported with food and water and loved. They will give you everything and we need to take care of tehm always


One of the worst animal "shelters" in the country with a high euthanasia rate for young, healthy, abandoned dogs is in Orlando, Florida. It is known as OCAS, Orange County Animal Shelter. I wonder if you are anywhere near there. Most of the dogs that go in there end up being euthanized within a week. I hope you can help an innocent dog out of that hellhole....


Also an ASPCA and Humane Society and SPCA donations. Thank you for what you do to stop these mills and abuse. My heart just breaks. I wish I could do more, however, you are all first most and most on my payroll! This must stop somehow. I know you do all that you can. I have two rescues and I adore them. The fear and hope in these 'pets' search into your soul. Thank you.


Also an ASPCA and Humane Society and SPCA donations. Thank you for what you do to stop these mills and abuse. My heart just breaks. I wish I could do more, however, you are all first most and most on my payroll! This must stop somehow. I know you do all that you can. I have two rescues and I adore them. The fear and hope in these 'pets' search into your soul. Thank you.

Pamela M Beck

Many blessings to all who work to make animals' lives better. We are their only voice. ♥ So I am using my voice to post this repeatedly, until it somehow falls into the hands of someone who has the authority and the courage to help us put an end to puppy and kittens mills, once and for all.... PUPPY MILLS ARE GLUTTING THE SYSTEM
We will euthanize 10,000 pets today at our animal shelters and city Animal Care & Control facilities. We will euthanize 10,000 pets tomorrow too, and most every day. Unless our lawmakers enact regulations on the production of puppy and kitten mills, this pet overpopulation crisis is doomed to increase. This is costing our government millions of dollars, which are OUR TAX DOLLARS! And they are being spent to KILL PETS that the PUPPY MILLS ARE PRODUCING. What is wrong with this picture? The USDA has NEGLECTED to regulate this mill production, to the point that our country is about to explode with dead and suffering animals. Surely, our government must know that this has to stop! I will never understand how the USDA has any business having pets under the same regulations, (or the lack thereof), as poultry, slaughter hogs and beef cattle producers...WE DO NOT EAT DOGS AND CATS IN THIS COUNTRY, they are pets! Our government must stop allowing them to be mass produced like they were food animals! And the conditions that we accept as "USDA approved" for these animals to live in, consist of a lifetime of horrific neglect and deprivation! These pets don't even go to slaughter when they are old enough and fattened up. They live their entire lives in a cage, often left out in all kinds of weather, with little or no veterinary care. The female's' life is spent carrying, nursing, or grieving her lost babies, until she is bred yet again. Then about twice a year, the male shares her cage until mating is complete. Then he is returned to languish in his own flthy cage until it is time to breed again. This only ends for them when they die, or become "no longer good for breeding" I don't know what, if any regulation exists for their "disposal". But the numbers of dead and decaying animal carcasses that are strewn throughout the property of far too many of these mills, speak volumes. Unfortunately, the financial influence of the Agriculture business has managed to supercede the horrific conditions of the animals, the pet overpopulation crisis, even the glutting of our own systems!
WE THE PEOPLE, MUST RISE UP AND DEMAND THAT OUR GOVERNMENT ENACT LAWS TO END THIS INSANITY! I guarantee you, if the beef producers were churning out millions of pounds of beef in a year, and we only ate half of it, and the other half had to be "disposed of" at great expense to the government, you can bet the USDA would be slapping some major restrictions on beef production. So why don't they see that we are euthanizing over four million pets a year, and the puppy and kitten mills are "producing" a majority of them? IS OUR GOVERNMENT REALLY SO "OWNED" BY THE PUPPY MILL/Ag INDUSTRY, THAT THEY BETRAY THEIR CONSTITUENTS, WASTE OUR TAX DOLLARS AND GLUT THEIR OWN SYSTEM? We must find a way to rid our world of this horrific business of abuse and neglect! OUR GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE ACTION TODAY!