Dog Blessed: Puppy Mill Survivor Stories

by Taylor Solomon

 Photo: Amanda Newsom

Photo: Amanda Newsom

Dog Blessed: Puppy Mill Survivor Stories, published by Happy Tails Books, is a compilation of the inspiring stories of dog owners who adopted their pets from Main Line Animal Rescue in Pennsylvania. All of the pets found within the book were rescued from appalling living conditions of puppy mills. Prior to reading this book, I knew very little about the details of what happens in puppy mills. Dog Blessed: Puppy Mill Survivor Stories gave incredible insight into the horrors of puppy mills and what the dogs living in them must endure. Along with background on the mills themselves, through each of the 32 stories, you learn the individual details of what must go into the rehabilitation and care for these dogs after they have been rescued due to the physically and psychologically-damaging conditions of puppy mills.

Kayla Duffy founded her publishing company Happy Tails Books in 2008 after fostering (and eventually adopting) a dog, Bill the Boston Terrier, who was rescued from a puppy mill. Bill was originally adopted by another family but was quickly (and unfortunately) returned when the family found his psychological state more than they were willing to take on. Ultimately, Duffy met Bill and fell madly in love, working with him through the process of rehabilitation. (And how’s this for cute? Duffy now has a female rescued Boston Terrier, in addition to Bill, who she named Hillary.) 

Through her company Happy Tails Books, Duffy hopes to increase public awareness of the treatment dogs in puppy mills, and this book does just that. I hope that these stories reach a large audience of people, like myself, who are not aware of exactly how horrific conditions are in puppy mills. These stories, though individual, build a connected web of suffering, and ultimately hope, as we learn about these pets’ and their owners’ stories. 

In the end, the reader will walk away with a newfound knowledge of the treatment of puppy mill pets, the process that goes into rehabilitating these very special survivors, and why it is so important to adopt or buy from a licensed shelter rather than a pet store.