My mother who soon turns 90 likes to hear my stories of the various happenings at the rescues and shelters I deal with, and she’s amazed at how much she didn’t know and has learned.  She often comments that most people she talks to are not aware of many of the issues with the animals, as she had been.  My mom has become a huge disciple for the animals.

After I posted my article about no-kill animal shelters last week, I started to think about how knowledge of animal-related issues varies among the population.  Because I am so deeply involved, I tend to forget that many people are unaware of many of the problems.  There are people who love animals but do not have the intimate knowledge that comes from working or volunteering in the field on a regular basis.  I’d like to believe that these people constitute a large part of the population – they want to know.  And of course, there are those who simply don’t care to have the knowledge.  Let’s hope that this group is very small.  My goal is to educate as many people who would like to learn more, and if at all possible, reach some who don’t care.  I know that’s a lofty goal.

I produced a dog behavior DVD several years ago called Successful Dog Makeovers and it was intended to help people who had little familiarity with positive dog training techniques, and to hopefully give a new perspective to anyone using punishment-based training techniques.  The DVD received some great reviews but, sadly, I received one comment on a web site that sells the DVD that indicated I needed to “try again” with my information.  This commenter believed he had a good deal of experience working in a shelter and did not need to have this education (or…he wasn’t interested in learning new methods).   His comment hurt but it made me realize that audiences vary in their knowledge and experience and motivation to learn.  You can’t win them all.

Just as so many people were surprised when they read my article about no-kill shelters, are that many still uninformed about puppy mills?  Again, I’m so close to the issue that I assume most people understand the problem.  True, the recent publicity about puppy mills has brought a great deal of attention to the issue and many people are saying that they won’t support puppy mills.  But some of these same people still will go to the Internet to buy a puppy, or will believe the person at the pet store who claims that their puppies don’t come from puppy mills, or will go to a farm that looks like the puppies are raised by a family.  All of these places are potentially fronts for puppy mills. 

With my book Puppy Mill Dogs SPEAK!, I hope to provide the benefit of my first-hand work with dogs from puppy mills and their adopters to educate people who want to know and hopefully some who don’t.  I won’t settle for anything but the highest, loftiest goal for this book.  Please join with my mom to spread the word.   Stay tuned – coming in July!