Talking to kids about pet store puppies and puppy mills is no easy task. The last thing parents want to expose their children to is the harsh reality of painful cages, overcrowded conditions, diseases and emotional abuse. To help children understand why they can’t have “that puppy in the window” of your neighborhood pet store, we’ve put together some kid-friendly talking points for tough questions.
Where do pet store puppies come from? Most pet stores puppies come from crowded and unhealthy places called puppy mills.
What is a puppy mill? Puppy mills are like big factories for dogs. This means that many dogs are kept there their entire lives and forced to breed (have puppies). Sadly, puppy mill dogs are not happy. They don’t get to play outside or sleep in a comfy bed. A lot of times they get sick. And there’s usually no one to give them any love.
What happens to puppy mill dogs? Puppies born in a puppy mill are taken away from their mothers very young and usually sent to a pet store, where they are sold to people who don’t know where the puppy really came from. The puppy mill owner doesn’t care about the puppy or the puppy’s mom and dad, who are left behind at the puppy mill after the puppies are sent to the pet store. He or she only cares about making money. That’s why we don’t like buying dogs from pet stores!
Why are people cruel to animals? It’s hard to say what drives a person to be cruel to an animal. In puppy mills, the owners are thinking more about the money than the dogs. Organizations like the ASPCA are working hard to make sure that every animal is happy, safe and loved by helping shut down puppy mills and educate people about why they shouldn’t buy a puppy in a pet store.
What happens to the puppies in a pet store if no one buys them? If a store doesn’t sell a puppy quickly, it will lower the price until someone buys the puppy. The more often pet stores have to do this, the more money they lose. Next time, they won’t order as many puppies.
So how CAN I get a puppy? Good news! Shelters are full of happy, sweet puppies waiting for forever homes. If your family is ready for a pet, you can head to your local shelter to adopt. Not only will you be saving a life, but also you’ll be sending a message to puppy mill owners that what they do is unacceptable! The fewer people who buy their puppies, the fewer puppies they will “make.”
What else can I do? You can start by setting a good example for your friends and community. Ask your mom and dad to take our No Pet Store Puppies pledge not to buy anything (food, supplies, etc.) from pet stores that sell puppies and spread the word about animal adoption.
We’d like to extend a huge “Thanks!” to the inspiring young members of New York City’s Girl Scouts Brownie Troop 3444, who donated a portion of the troop’s cookie sales proceeds to the ASPCA!
Troop 3444’s members are in third grade at The Chapin School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The girls wanted to help abused and abandoned animals recover and find loving homes, so they earmarked a portion of the funds they raised by selling 4,000 boxes of cookies for the ASPCA. One Troop 3444 Brownie, Holly Rosen, sold 750 boxes of cookies! Fellow Brownie Ella Clifford sold an impressive 355 boxes.
We were pleased to welcome the Troop’s members to the ASPCA Adoption Center, where they proudly presented their donation. This group of girls’ dedication to animal welfare is truly an inspiration. On behalf of animals in need nationwide, thanks, Troop 3444!
Guest blog by Mary Dell Harrington, co-founder of the parenting blog Grown and Flown.
It’s common for parents to fret about their child’s internet use, a topic we’ve written about on our blog, Grown and Flown, as it relates to technology and social media. Pet parents might also wonder if it’s a good idea for their pets to have a social media presence. Our answer? Absolutely! Here’s why:
You can connect with other individuals who have like-minded interests, a fundamental benefit of digital sharing. When you post a picture of your dog or cat and add hashtags with terms such as #therapydogs or #calicocats, you can make your search for pet photos as specific as you desire.
Following organizations like the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and/or Google+ means you’ll stay up-to-date on important animal welfare news. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to enter contests or upload pictures of your pet to share with other animal lovers.
It comes as no surprise that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, has a page for his Hungarian sheepdog, Beast. Beast already has 1.7 million fans! My dogs do not have their own social media accounts like Zuckerberg’s famous pup, but they are very visible to anyone who follows me online. When friends click on my Facebook page or Instagram account, odds are they’ll see Moose and Gus staring back at them. Unlike my two kids, my Labradors never object to me pointing the camera their way!
We have exciting news for middle school students in New York City! The ASPCA has provided a $12,500 grant to Unleashed—a non-profit group that works to build confidence and purpose in young girls—to launch after-school programs to empower young animal advocates.
Participants in the Unleashed after-school programs at various local middle schools will engage in educational programs and projects where they will become animal advocates in their communities. They will learn how to combat problems such as animal homelessness, dog fighting and puppy mills. The girls will also participate in an animal rescue, as well as a social justice carnival.
We’re excited to see these inspiring Unleashed participants make a positive difference for animals in their communities!