Waiting in the lobby of the animal hospital’s office with her dog, the co-director of Social Tees Animal Rescue, Dimitra Molossi, saw a man walk in holding a tiny puppy.
He quickly handed the tiny puppy off to the receptionist and left.
“He told her that the dog was defective and he wanted her to be put to sleep,” Molossi told The Dodo. “The receptionist said he was the owner of a pet store nearby and nobody was buying her. Apparently, he’s dumped animals with them before.”
After taking one look at the tiny puppy, the receptionist knew there was nothing wrong with her. Aside from having a bent front leg and a little trouble walking, she was just like any other happy puppy — and wouldn’t stop wagging her tail at all of the new people around her.
The vet checked her out right away while Molossi called her rescue partners to arrange a foster home. They named her Clover — after the stroke of good luck that left her in the right hands.
Clover’s back legs are also slightly bent, due to what the vet assumed was an untreated bacterial infection and no physical exercise during the first months of her life. After getting X-rays and some vaccines, Clover was sent to her foster home that night with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine.
“She’s not in any pain now and is already starting to walk better,” Molossi said. “She was so smelly — you could tell nobody paid attention to her.”
While Clover is safe and happy now, her situation is common for thousands of other puppies for sale in pet stores throughout the country. The majority of these puppies are bred and raised in puppy mills, large-scale breeding operations that offer minimal to no veterinary care or contact with humans.
When they are shipped out to be sold in pet stores, their mothers remain at the mills to continue breeding litter after litter until they are too sick or old to have puppies. Many of the puppies are sold sick or injured to unsuspecting buyers at pet stores for upwards of $1,000.
Small dogs like Chihuahuas are particularly common at puppy mills, as their size enables breeders to house a larger number of dogs in confined cages or pens. Some may never see sunlight until they are brought outside to be handed off to their buyer or to have their photo taken for an online advertisement. Their mothers can go their entire lives without seeing the sun.
“She is just a baby — so hopefully she will never remember any of that,” Molossi said. “She was just sitting in this box at a pet store and everyone passed her up because of her leg. He was probably trying to sell her for at least $1,500.”
Luckily, it seems that Clover has quickly moved beyond her rough start to life and is just like any other tiny puppy.
While Clover is still working on strengthening her legs, her foster mom continues to give her special massages a few times per day — and she should be ready for a forever home within the next few weeks.
“She has no idea that she is any different,” Molossi said. “She runs around and plays all day. Her tail won’t stop wagging.”
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H/T: The Dodo