Pet Net 2011: One Basset’s Journey from Puppy Mill Hell to Rescue & Redemption
Pet Community Joins Together To Raise Awareness About Pet Adoption: Organizer Petside.com To Feature Event Hub at www.Petside.com/PetNet2011
Today, Wednesday, November 16, Petside.com, the A-list online destination for pet owners & pet enthusiasts, is dedicating its 4th Annual Pet ‘Net Event to pet adoption awareness. To drive awareness of adoption and its positive effects, the day-long 2011 Pet ‘Net Adoption Event will feature a hub page of related content from a consortium of the web’s top pet-focused bloggers and a social media donation campaign in partnership with Iams© that will make it easier than ever to support local shelters and pets in need.
“Adoption is a cause near and dear to Petside’s heart,” said Wendy Toth, Editor of Petside.com. “We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to revisit our inaugural topic and dedicate this year’s event to pet adoption, giving it the attention it so desperately deserves.” Since 2008, Petside.com has gathered over 50 pet-centric bloggers to highlight important issues like safety and family with its annual Pet ‘Net Event. Today’s event will draw awareness to pet adoption with the following features:
♦Hub Page – READ AND LEARN about shelter adoption on Petside.com’s comprehensive one-page hub (www.Petside.com/PetNet2011). With links to the web’s top pet blogs/websites, visitors can easily navigate from site to site & read articles on topics ranging from the benefits of adopting a senior pet to personal stories of strength.
♦Blogger Competition – VOTE for your favorite Pet ‘Net article with a new voting tool on the hub page. The blogger who garners the most votes will receive a $500 donation from Petside to the shelter of their choice!
♦Social Media Campaign – SHARE AND DONATE with Pet ‘Net’s interactive social media campaign. To show pet lovers that there are many ways to support local shelters, Iams© Home 4 The Holidays and their Bags 4 Bowls initiative will donate 25 bowls of food to local shelters for every mention of the Pet ‘Net hashtag (#iheartshelterpets) and @IAMS handle on Twitter. Users can also “Like” Petside’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/Petside) for an additional donation of 25 bowls and share a personal adoption experience on Petside’s wall for a chance to be featured on Petfinder.com as a Happy Tail story!
I’m honored to again be a part of Petside.com’s Annual Pet Net Event – a day in which we pet bloggers come together to call attention to those fur-kids we all so adore, admire and appreciate.
Pet adoption is a highly under reported “tail” in today’s tech-savvy world of “pet purchase” or “obtainment…” So many people turn to the Internet to look for a breeder instead of turning to the Internet to look at Petfinder.com or a breed rescue. So many people are STILL so uneducated about the woes of homeless pets, the outstanding and heartbreaking euthanasia rates, and other classic tales of the homeless pet “trade…”
♥Anyways, the story I’m going to tell you is about adoption of a puppy mill dog and his rescue. I believe adoption and rescue go hand-in-hand; you simply cannot have one without the other. And you may just have heard tidbits about this tale in years past on ThoughtsFurPaws – it’s about Franklin – the rescue Basset Hound. And I’m going to warn you right now that this is a lengthy post because I want you to hear every single detail of one puppy mill dog’s struggle from an abusive, hellish environment to rescue, redemption and rehabilitation.♥
My sister decided back in 2009 she and her boyfriend were going to foster Bassets, as she has always loved the breed – ever since the day an old boyfriend gifted her with a baby Basset in 2000 – his name is Henry. (I have nicknamed him Henry the Horrible because he is always getting into trouble and NEVER listens – typical stubborn Hound!)
I, as a pet blogger and rescue advocate (plus as a writer and frequent donor/volunteer to/for animal welfare organizations) made the drive to Columbus with her and Matt – the boyfriend (at the time!). We first met Franklin at Ohio Basset Rescue – Ohio’s biggest and only breed rescue for these precious, droopy-eared darlings.
Franklin unwillingly came around the corner with his tail between his legs, nose down to the ground, uncertain look in his deep brown eyes. He was pretty much attached to the side of Amy Barnes, the wonderful woman who helps run OBR. Frank was scared to leave her side or look up. We brought Henry along for moral support, figuring Frank might respond better to another dog than to an unfamiliar human. He slowly came around and sniffed us. We stayed in that OBR housing building for an hour before making it outside; we let Frank keep sniffing us and Henry, who was being very gentle the whole time. After HOURS of this, it was time to go, and after getting as much info as possible about Frank, Amy released Frank into Ashly’s foster care.
Amy told us OBR obtained Frank because “a family turned him over.” An Amish family. Most puppy mill owners have their own heartless reasons for getting rid of the studs or females that I won’t get into; regardless, it’s apparent to us now that it was fate that Frank survived and that Ashly decided to start fostering when she did.
Amy and the vets that treated him were able to figure that Frank was born at and lived for his first four or so years at a puppy mill in Amish Country, in Holmes County, Ohio. He was a stud dog. That means he was the “go-to” male; he was used and abused repeatedly to churn out litter after unhealthy litter of Basset Hounds. He was forced – sometimes physically, sometimes even with substances – as well as were the females who carried his litters – to produce puppies. That’s all he was good for. He was forced into mating as many times as possible.
Frank spent this time having no human contact except to be thrown, pushed, forced or otherwise pressed into mating. He lived behind a wire cage that he could barely move in. He was given only enough food and water to eke by most weeks. No one ever pet him, talked to him, scratched his ears, housebroke him, gave him a bone or a treat, or did anything remotely close to an act resembling love. It’s immediately apparent to any rescuer that he was repeatedly bred as his “man parts” were so abused and over-used that they, to this day, hang to the ground, missing it by about two centimeters… (not to be graphic, but it’s true)
Thank God we got to OBR when we did. We took him as soon as Amy gave the okay.
Frank sat on Ashly’s lap in the backseat of the SUV the ENTIRE drive home from Columbus to Cleveland, a 3-hour drive. It took forever to get him in the car. He shook like a leaf. He jerked every time one of us moved or turned or did anything.
When we got home, he wouldn’t walk up the driveway, much less go in the front door. I don’t think he knew what a house was. (OBR had a bigger facility where he was kept.) It was a horrible struggle. We didn’t want to scare him, but he would not budge from the edge of the driveway. He sniffed all around, still with his tail between his legs. After an hours-long struggle in the snow in 22-degree temps, we finally ushered him inside.
That was a whole new experience. He followed Ashly everywhere she went.
When he realized what the doggie door was and that he could go outside, we couldn’t get him to stay in. Ashly and Matt would sit outside for hours while he hid himself behind a picnic table or the shrubs.
After months of coaxing and gentle confrontation, Frank started to come around. We had to hand-feed him every morning and night. If you made even the smallest move during feeding time, he ran and hid, tail between legs. And he wouldn’t come back for more. The first time I gave him a bone – he ran outside and hoarded it until he was done — six hours later!! He refused to have a treat, cookie or anything special in front of his adopted brother. He was afraid it would get taken or that he was being teased with it. It was heart-breaking…:(
It would be a year before he acted like a regular dog, but despite that, he still has his moments. No one can yell or raise their voice around him, and you definitely cannot make unpredictable or fast-paced movements around him.
Franklin, despite his horrible beginnings, has become a champion rescue model. He is the most popular dog in the neighborhood along with his Basset brother, Henry. They take walks together and every child on the street wants to stop and pet them. Frank loves children. He wags his entire body while getting stroked from ear to end.
Franklin transformed over a period of two years from a fragile, afraid, abused and confused animal into a loving, giving, LOUD and hilarious gift that is cherished every day by all who know him.
We don’t know if he remembers the abuse and neglect he suffered at the hands and heartless beings at that God-forsaken puppy mill. I personally think he does, and that’s what has made him into the friendly, giving, kissy-face, “barrugala,” dog that he is today.
That reminds me, the first time he barked — he scared the crap out of himself. He didn’t do it again for 6 months! But now, thanks to help from his squawking brother Henry the Horrible, Frank has realized that using his howl and Basset-typical “bark-baruuugala” sound, which is a belly-howl that lasts for minutes and can pierce ears, can get him all the attention he wants!
Franklin is the most loving dog I have met. He will unconditionally give and give, follow you and follow you, and absolutely insists on sitting ON TOP of you on the couch or bed… not NEXT to you — ON TOP of you. It’s adorable and you can never push him away.
They have seen humans at their worst. They have seen and felt the worst fear, the most horrible sense of abandonment, the worst type of loneliness.
And then they are saved. Something — or someone — intervenes.
That’s why we all need to support groups and organizations that rescue animals. It’s groups like Ohio Basset Rescue, the Helen Woodward Animal Center, BODA, and the smaller, local groups who take in these animals.
Franklin lives a blissful life these days. But he still has challenges. You cannot make a quick move around him; you cannot suddenly stand up after you put his kibble down — you must sit down on the floor until he finishes. And he requires a bit of extra attention – but of course, NO ONE in the family has ANY problem with that!