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Lucy – a puppy mill survivor’s story
Lucy was a commercial puppy mill breeder dog living in a barn in the middle of a field. When she was rescued she was found in a wire crate with six other dogs; crates were stacked on top of each other. The barn had no heat or air conditioning, and the dogs were exposed to the extreme heat and cold. matted and filthy, The dogs were found living in their own feces. Lucy, like many of the dogs, was malnourished and weighed half of what her healthy weight should have been. The dominant dogs within the crates fight for food and the weaker dogs are often forced to eat feces to survive. Veterinary care is the mills is minimal and grooming non-existent. “Bathing” might consist of being sprayed down in the crate with the other dogs by a powerwasher. Lucy was bred every cycle – forcibly yanked from her crate, thrown into a different crate with a male dog, bred, and then thrown back in a crate (often not the same “home” crate, so she had to adjust to a new pack of dogs). 

Most mill dogs never even experience the feel of grass under their feet. No soft bed, just a hard wire crate crammed with other pitiful dogs. No toys. No bones. Often the mill dogs become aggressive with each other out of the pure boredom of their day-to-day lives. Lucy (and other mill dogs) live every minute of every day and night terrified; the psychological damage can be too much to bear for some dogs. Lucy lived in these conditions for six long years.

In 2009, Best Friends Animal Society (in conjunction with local animal rescue groups) saved over 150 dogs from Lucy’s Indiana puppy mill. Through a Pup-My-Ride, the dogs were disbursed to various animal rescue groups throughout the United States. Two of the mill dogs – Sunny and Lucy – made her way into our home to be fostered until their forever homes could be found. The girls were such a pitiful sight to behold – frightened, underweight, and unaccustomed to (and suspicious of) human touch. They were truly broken. Fighting through her fears, Lucy did what she could to protect Sunny whenever we approached. We realized quickly that our new houseguests needed to be separated because they fed off each other’s fears; we were able to find a wonderful home for Sunny and she is currently living in New York.

Progress with Lucy was slow but measurable. Little by little we could glimpse the exceptional dog hiding beneath the pain of the puppy mill. Eventually Lucy braved the house – always keeping a safe distance from her “rescuers” but showing genuine curiosity toward the other dogs. Lucy could often be found watching the interactions between ourselves and our established dogs. Through the eyes of Grace, Lilly and Molly she could see that that all touch was not rough, not all voices were harsh, and not all humans were hurtful.

We fell in love, of course, and decided to adopt Lucy and she is now fully part of our pack. Over the past five years we’ve have watched in awe as she has healed herself through sheer courage and determination. We have witnessed her first unsteady steps on the grass in the yard to being harnessed for her first walk through the neighborhood. She has braved home baths and haircuts, car rides, and veterinary appointments. Throughout this process, we have amazed at the undying spirit and resilience of our little miracle. Today, Lucy is a happy and healthy girl who loves her pack. She has changed our lives! Watching her toss a toy into the air, sun herself on the patio, run around the yard with a big smile on her face, boss us when she is ready for a treat or snuggle on the couch…she is happy, truly happy, all day, every day. She is our little hero…our superstar! 

LucyCares is founded on the belief that all life deserves respect and is based on the qualities of our amazing Lucy , resiliency, 
curiosity, courage and unconditional love.

Please share Lucy’s story to anybody who you know is thinking of purchasing a pet shop puppy. If we all stop buying dogs from  pet shops and online, the misery of puppy mills will end.  Please “like” Lucy’s Facebook page Lucy Cares