06/10/08: Tessa went in for her vetting today and we received a heart-wrenching phone call from the clinic. This poor girl had a tumor so large in her throat, they could not get the tube in to put her under for the spay. We had noticed Tessa seemed to be having problems with her throat and had asked the vet to check it. This explained the problems Tessa had -- and also was another piece of undeniable proof of the medical neglect this puppy miller was guilty of.
Tessa came in with two other dogs. Two SDBR coordinators and a volunteer went to the farm last week, out in the rolling, green Iowa countryside. The farm, well kept by any standard, fooled us. The farmer, older IA man who had turned a hog confinement into a puppy 'farm' (sounds so much better than 'mill' doesn't it), fooled us. Although there was pen after pen after pen after pen of boxers, we got answers to soothe us (of course the dogs were vetted, of course he fed decent quality food, etc etc). The operation did seem clean, dogs had decent sized runs, heat, cooling. So much better than what we saw on the news, on Oprah, on the internet.
We, all three of us, tried to justify not alienating this farmer so we could get his dogs into rescue. The farmer kept touting how he didn't need us as he could always give the cast off breeders away for free in the Sioux City paper. There were always homes, he said, who didn't have money to pay for a dog, but would give the older ones loving homes. Not as cute, not as bubbly, not as PROFITABLE as the puppies...and apparently not as deserving of decent medical care. It was pointed out to the farmer that these 'free' dogs for SDBR weren't so 'free' once the vetting was done. Spays/neuters, typically a big bill caused by bad teeth (typical in the older breeder crowd), these dogs could and would EASILY run our organization $500. Again, not as cute and cuddly as the puppies they spent years spitting out, these gentle, thankful dogs would be at the absolute low end of our adoption fee scale, $75, as so few homes are ever interested in them...and continuing medical of a senior dog, well, these dogs just aren't what people are typically looking for.
As I said, Tessa came into SDBR with two others on Saturday. Maggie is the only one still with us. Jimmi, the male, had a large growth/swelling on his jaw/face. The entire side of his head was swollen, it did look uncomfortable. The old farmer was surprised, to say the least, when we had agreed to take him. Jimmi came into SDBR's arms on Saturday...and was sent across the bridge the same day. That swelling, which the farmer had explained away and told us he had had a vet check over and over...and, according to him, the dog wasn't pretty, but this was in no way life threatening. One of our SDBR vets looked at it. The swelling had started out, years ago, as an easily treatable clogged spit gland. After years of neglect, the growth had become so large, Jimmi was slowly choking to death. Jimmi quietly,gently, thankfully licked our volunteer's hand as the vet put him out of his pain.
This is just an infuriating situation. Two of the three that SDBR took in from this Iowa puppy MILL have had to be put to sleep solely due to lack of basic medical care. Jimmi's problem was easily treated if it hadn't been ignored. It seems such a cruel, heartless way to let any living being die, to slowly choke on their own tumors...while the farmer and his family (his son is the the boxer mill business also) watch.
Tessa is now pain free and romping in doggie heaven with Jimmi. We hope in some small way, the hours Jimmi had with SDBR and short days Tessa had in a foster home, somehow made the end of their lives better.
Tears flow, sleep lost -- not one of us who had any contact with these dogs can stop thinking of all the puppies that these darling boxers pumped out to line the pockets of that greedy breeder -- and the 40 or so breeding dogs still there, still suffering. You think it doesn't happen here in the midwest, in the rolling farm land...but it does. Please, don't buy a puppy from a pet store -- if you do, you are supporting THIS puppy mill.
06/05/08: My name is Tessa. As you can see I am a reverse brindle girl. I am retiring from breeding. I was a very good momma, loved my pups and cared very well for them. Now that I am older, it's time for me to kick back and enjoy my golden years being someone's pet companion! This sounds like fun, someone to take care of me for a change.
Check back for updates as I spend time at the resort. Oh, I have to go in and have that spay thing done soon and get my health exam. If you want a calm, more laid back girl who loves walks and short runs, someone to snuggle with, go ahead and put in your application for me! These girls say that I will make a great family member.
Please see our website, www.sdboxerrescue.com, for complete adoption information, application form and further information about SDBR.