Bailie is a puppy mill dog.
She's 5 1/2 years old, and she's missing a chunk of bone in her right
hind leg. The blood stopped flowing to the bone near her hip joint when
she was 3. The doctors had to immediately removed the dead section of
bone. Now, cartilage holds her leg inside her hip joint. The operation
made her right leg slightly shorter than the left.
Six months later, she had knee surgery because she has floating knee
caps. A piece of string is holding her left knee in place. It's a common
problem in puppy mill dogs, and she'll likely have to have another
operation in the next year, the doctors say.
She also suffers from a collapsing windpipe. Her eyes tear up because
she can't breath. She starts to snort and gasps for air until the
problem corrects itself, and she's able to breath again.
I bought Bailie for $700 from a "pet store" called Puppy Palace in
Hollywood, Florida. I was 20. She was 8 weeks old, 1 pound 9 ounces.
There was sign on the wall saying with a big "X" through the word puppy
mill. The puppies were grouped by breed. There were hundreds of them.
They were scattered throughout the store in little pens. Looking back, I
don't know how I could have thought the place was legit.
At the time I was buying Bailie, one of the employees told me the pet
store had given her a 4-month-old maltese because it was so sick they
couldn't legally sell it. She brought the dog to work everyday. The
puppy couldn't be left alone - ever. It had a condition that caused it
to have seizures, the woman said.
Bailie came with "papers" that show she was born in Missouri - a state
notorious for its puppy mills. The doctors say all of Bailie's problems
are a result of poor breeding.
In all, I've spent about $1,500 on Bailie's medical bills.
For now, Bailie can run. Steps are kind of hard on her knees, though.
She loves to chase her cat friend Sadie around the house. In fact,
looking at her, you'd never know anything was wrong. She's cute and
affectionate. She gives kisses and hugs when you ask for them. She
Occasionally, her right knee cap moves pop out of place and she hops on
the leg until repositions itself. She can't jump on anything because
her knees. If I take her for walks or to the dog park, its to get fresh
air - not exercise. I carry her the entire time because of her knees.
The doctors say she's already starting to have problems with arthritis
because of the surgery. It's only going to get worse.
The Palm Beach Post