I keep my eyes tightly shut, because without having to look, I know out there it is dark. The kind of dark where even shadows melt into blackness. I know I am not alone though because I can feel the warmth of several bodies packed in beside me. We wait in silence until we hear the heavy footsteps approach the door…then the familiar creak of the barn door swinging open. The silence breaks. Now there are frightened voices…hundreds, maybe thousands of voices. I really cannot tell because they come from beneath me, beside me, and from above, but the silence is broken and I hear a circus of screaming fill up the black room.
As the door opens, light floods the room and invades our eyes. I cannot see him, but I can hear him enter. A cage opens and I hear a soft whimper, a plea to be left alone, but no one here is ever alone. I freeze. Maybe if I don’t move I can be invisible. I am a puppy mill dog and today is another day.
I have never been anywhere but here. The walls of my cage are all I know. I was born here and will live my life here. I will continue to raise litter after litter until my tired body cannot do it anymore. Then I will be useless to him. I am not one of the lucky ones. The lucky ones get out. The lucky ones are puppies that go to a home. I am not a lucky one. I am a puppy mill dog and today is another day.
I am hungry but I will not eat. I will have to swallow the hunger pain for another day. It is so hard to feed your pups when you feel that familiar pang. I try to forget but I have never been able to stomach the stench…that toxic smell that pierces your lungs and waters your eyes, making it hard to breath. My feet hurt. I have many sores from my feet getting snagged in the wire. The mats in my fur pull at my raw skin and make it hard to see. Out here, there is no place to escape the summer heat or winter freeze. I am a puppy mill dog and today is another day.
I have never known a family. I do not know what it means to be loved as a pet, to be showered with kisses or consoled when I am scared. I have never felt grass beneath my feet, sunshine on my face or the comfort of a soft bed to sleep in. Hands do not bring me joy, they cause me pain. I do not have a name. I am a number. I am a puppy mill dog and today is another day.
I keep my eyes tightly shut because without having to look, I know out there it is dark. The kind of dark where even shadows melt into blackness. We wait in silence until we hear the heavy footsteps approach the door. …then the familiar creak of the barn door swinging open. The silence breaks. The frightened voices fill the room. But now men in boots tread in and begin to unlock cages. Now he is in front of me. I freeze. Maybe if I don’t move, I can be invisible. A hand enters my cage and softly strokes my ear. He tells me he is here now. This feels differently. I feel lighter…I have hope.
I am a puppy mill dog and today I am free!