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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Cav Mom

to ASPCA: I'm a huge supporter...but have a difficult time watching the ad campaigns on TV (esp. that Sarah McLachlan one)... I have to look away or turn them off because they are so upsetting. This type of story is exactly what is needed on TV... one that touches on the horrors while providing an inspiring story illustrating the amazing work the ASPCA does. Kudos to you... we will keep the donations coming in.


This wonderful video renews my hope in humans. It boggles the imagination that some "humans" can be so mindlessly hurtful.


great job

Rhonda Brittingham

So happy for the dogs that were rescued..Zack, may you find the best Furever home in the world and enjoy your new life.....<3

Francesca Maese

Precious little lives turned into a commodity by money hungry, mean humans. Don't buy a puppy, adopt.

Jutta Wexler

I have been donating to the ASPCA and many other organizations for years. However, in regard to puppy mills what can be done to shut them down permanently. Our dog Hope, an Airedale was rescued from a puppy mill where she had been for the first 18 mos. of her live, outside 24/7 in Missouri. She was starved, beaten, never left the cage she could not stand up in. She is the most wonderful dog in the world. The puppy mills are run mostly by the Amish and they consider dogs livestock!!!!!!! Kill them when they cannot bread any longer and mistreat them badly. What can be done to close these terrible places down. They are no advertising on the internet and young people are actually buying dogs without ever having seen them. There is not enough education.


This just breaks my heart, but I am glad it had a happy ending. Poor Zack! He is adorable! I love him. Thank God for those who helped him! I am glad he was adopted.

K Accardi

This is why I left the ASPCA in my will.


We as humans who are suppose to be humane shouldnt have to "rescue" any puppy milll dogs if those who are suppose to inspect them did their jobs. These puppy mills are horrific and those who run them should be jailed when any dog has to be rescued from one. For one thing our laws are a joke and they know it. What is done to these animals is barbaric. Lets fight to close all puppy mills then maybe just maybe dogs like Zack wont suffer as well as so many thousands of others..... be human be humane!

Claire-Helene Horne

I am so happy to see Zack's transformation. Yeah Zack!