Some people talk the talk but not too many walk the talk. I met a woman on December 31 who really walks the talk. The day I spoke with her, she was holding a No Puppy Mills sign at the busy street in front of We Love Pets, a pet store in Media, PA which sells puppies supplied by the Hunte Corp. and Lambriar, large brokers that notoriously buy their puppies from mills. We Love Pets states on its web site that they can special order any kind of puppy. Seriously?? Special order your new best friend? Just like buying a new car. To people who have never heard of puppy mills, this sounds great. But it’s not. We Love Pets is one of the reasons why puppy mills still exist. That’s exactly why this woman and her volunteers are targeting this particular pet store. 

Before I joined them at the street, I walked into the pet store and was immediately filled with rage. I saw a Newfoundland pup for sale for $1999, other small pups for $1499 and a couple of pot bellied pigs for $399. A sales clerk was showing a man and his son the various kinds of puppies for sale. I had all I could do not to interrupt and warn the man about where these puppies were bred, that their mothers and fathers spend their entire lives in cages, and if they buy a puppy here, there’s a good possibility that the pup will have health issues despite the “warranty” that comes with the dog. Oh, I mean car.

I then went outside to interview the protesters. As I approached, I saw a policeman speaking with the group. At first, I was alarmed, wondering what I was stepping into. This was my first protest. I had visions of being arrested. But the cop was very nice. He told us to stay within 10 feet of the curb and to move our cars from the parking lot because the pet store owner could have our cars towed. I felt intimidated despite the policeman’s nice demeanor. I quickly discovered that protesting is more complicated than just holding up a sign. 

She explained that she has been protesting We Love Pets every Saturday since the beginning of December and felt that she had connected with a few people and opened their eyes. If she reaches only a few people, then she believes her efforts are paying off. She plans on coming back every Saturday with the hopes that We Love Pets will eventually stop selling puppies, as other pet stores have done when people actively protested them. 

My hat is off to the protesters in this important work. Educating the public is crucial and we all need to help in however ways that work for each of us. I know that I’m not comfortable standing on the street holding signs but I will use my voice through this blog, Facebook, my books, and my web site to spread the message: Don’t buy puppies from pet stores or over the Internet!  ADOPT!