As 2017 draws to a close, I find myself looking back across another incredibly busy year, filled with the highs and lows that are the very nature of rescuing animals in need. Now a decade into the journey from its humble beginnings, National Mill Dog Rescue remains the heart and soul of my life, as well as a great passion for the hundreds of volunteers who keep the organization on its feet and moving forward.
Without you, our supporters, more than 12,000 dogs would never have known life beyond the dreary confines of small wire cages, living each day in monotony, stress and despair, facing a most uncertain future. It is solely your support that allows us to provide the care many of our dogs so desperately need as we prepare them for life as cherished family members. This is our Legacy of Hope.
Coming from lives devoid of care and human contact, puppy mill survivors are often a very difficult population of dogs to care for. Their eyes tell the stories of a grim past, many coming to us with life-threatening conditions, terrified of human touch, virtually broken in body and spirit. Over and over again, we are so deeply rewarded to witness their transformations, while they teach us remarkable lessons of resilience and forgiveness.
It is exceptionally rare that we are not able to turn a dog’s’ life around, no matter their condition. Once in a great while, we experience defeat, and it truly breaks our hearts…at the same time, it reminds us of the importance of our work and fuels our passion to continue giving a voice to our very special population of dogs. Iris, Harmony and Tiger Lily are just three of over 1,000 stories of the dogs we rescued in 2017:
A frail, 9-year-old Chihuahua was one of the dogs we rescued during a mission in June. The years of neglect had taken a devastating toll on her little body. Handed over to us barely able to lift her head, we were told she hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of days. What we discovered was that she likely hadn’t been feeling well for much longer. Despite every effort to save her, Iris was in multi-system failure; she was no longer able to fight. I held her close to my heart as we helped her make her journey to the Rainbow Bridge. The only good news is that she died in freedom, in the arms of people who cared.
Rescued in October, this 11-year-old Sheltie just broke our hearts. Harmony had never known a day of care or kindness in her entire life. She was clearly a dog whose worth was only measured in her ability to produce puppies. When we rescued Harmony, her eyes were completely vacant, the stench from her rotten mouth was nauseating, and we discovered that she was in heart failure. But, Harmony is showing us the power of love and forgiveness. After a short time in a wonderful foster home, she is coming to life—protesting when her foster parents leave the room and gaining enough confidence to venture around the house, taking in a whole new world! We don’t know how much time Harmony has left, but she will be showered with loving care until the end of her days.
An 11-year-old West Highland White Terrier, rescued in May, was in very poor condition, with sores covering her entire body. Her eyes were infected, and her only reaction to her new-found freedom was a blank stare. She had no name, of course, so we called her Tiger Lily. After weeks of TLC and all the medical attention she needed from veterinary specialists, a wonderful family offered to foster her. It wasn’t long before this senior Westie captured their hearts, and they became what we lovingly call “foster failures.” At this writing, our Tiger Lily, now Maddie, is living the life she has always deserved!
Ten years ago, I made a promise. When I saw Lily, our founding dog, hunkered down in the corner of her cage, I vowed that her life would come to mean something for dogs like her, prisoners of this shameful industry. Never could I have imagined how my promise on that day would unfold over the ensuing years. One thing I know for certain is that we could not have accomplished any of this without your encouragement and financial support.
As I write this letter, we have over 200 dogs waiting for us to come and give them their ride home to freedom. Please consider making a generous donation for the dogs already in our care and for all those who are waiting. Your continued support is critical to the ongoing success of our mission and to the happy, healthy future for our dogs.
From our NMDR family to yours, we send our wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and all the very best in the New Year!
With love and gratitude,
National Mill Dog Rescue
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Federal Tax ID #26-0574783