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This is an ongoing series of articles documenting Miss Kathleen's care of a former puppy mill dog facing the final end stages of kidney failure.

Saturday, October 7, 2000
It was a good thing I didn’t go to the Celebrity Shoot with Scottie today. Woke up to Momma Mia vomiting blood. As luck would have it, Dr. Rick was out of town so we had to see a new vet. She was very nice and concerned. We figured she was just having another bout of the clostridium she’s been plagued with, but the kidneys were a factor, too. We started her on 2 kinds of antibiotics and a medicine to coat her tummy. If things weren’t better by Monday she’d see Dr. Rick. They know this little girl all too well at Longwood Vet Clinic.

The three years we’ve had her in our life has been on borrowed time. You see, Momma was used as a breeding dog in a puppy mill in Kansas. A rescue group at an auction bought her. The Country Rose was going out of business but that didn’t mean the dogs couldn’t be productive elsewhere. I found out about the auction on the internet. I didn’t know a lot about puppy mills or auctions but was about to get a quick education. One I would never forget. I clicked on the website for a group called Hearts United for Animals and was lead to a page called Prisoners of Greed. There they told the story of how two brave women went to this auction to buy the freedom of as many dogs as possible. They saw horrible things that still come to them in nightmares. All the dogs were known as were numbers. A little schipperke was giving birth during the auction and they held her up to the crowd as she was birthing her pup to show what a good producer she was. They sold dogs with all sorts of health and genetic problems but always stated, "but that’s not where she breeds from".

The web page showed the faces of the nineteen dogs they were able to get out of the vicious cycle of breeding for profit. I was scrolling down and reading their stories when a little black and tan dog named Mia came up. There was a tiny minpin and I started crying. You see, minpins are my breed. It was hard to imagine one having to live like she did. Her story talked about how she knew she would die one day having babies, never feeling grass beneath her feet or having a blanket to cuddle under. Her estimated age was eight. She probably birthed sixteen litters. As I read I knew I had to help this dog.

Learn more about puppy mills
Hearts United for Animals is the shelter that saved Mia. Visit their website to find out what you can do to help stop the horror.