A path lined with care, time and patience

When most people hear that NEOESR has a dog available from a puppy mill, they immediately think of a puppy. They assume that the dog will be from a backyard breeder who has not necessarily followed all the best practices with regards to testing for genetic issues and other problems. Most likely they have not provided good socialization. The blood line will not connect with the winners at the Westminster Dog Show.

The reality is that many of the dogs that NEOESR receives from puppy mills are adults. They are surrendered when they are no longer able to generate income for their owners. OES Macy, the Pup Reporter, comes from such a place. She had three litters of nine puppies per litter in rapid succession. Then, when she was unable to have more puppies, she was given up for adoption. She had spent most of her early years locked in a garage. She didn’t even have a leash.

Recently NEOESR has received a number of dogs with similar backgrounds. They were formerly used for breeding. Most of these dogs have not had much exposure to…well anything. Usually, they have not been given the opportunity to explore. They have not been exposed to new smells and new experiences to help them build confidence. Oftentimes they have not even been house trained. They have no clue what a leash is. Obedience training, unlikely. Toys? No. They may not have a clue how to play. They may not have learned the skills to deal with new situations or activities.

These dogs need time to learn that humans are ok and can be trusted. Oftentimes these dogs have been left alone a lot. They have not had the pleasure of a belly rub. The most important skill you need to help one of these precious dogs to flourish is patience. They have a lot of catching up to do. These dogs can be the perfect companion … if your expectations are realistic. They need time to adjust to so many new things. Routines help. Give them time to settle in and adjust to an entirely new way of living. Another dog in the house is good as it can show them what behavior is expected.

Sometimes people are shocked that an adult dog is not housebroken. For most of them, it’s because they were never allowed in a house. These dogs can be house-trained. It just takes time and patience.

If you are willing to put in the time these dogs need to adapt to their new life, you will end up with a loyal, loving companion.

by Jennifer Tyrrell, NEOESR Placement Director, and Melinda Abraham, NEOESR Member