The Puppy Mill Effect

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This short video is heartbreaking and encouraging at once. Marshall is a sweet, scared puppy mill escapee, and I share this because it so clearly illustrates just one of many lasting psychological challenges that these innocent creatures face when they step out into the real world.

From his rescuer:  Marshall makes it over the threshold! Marshall spent ten years in a puppy mill and is now learning how to be a dog. His first week home with us he finally learned to come through the door. Puppy mills are known for slamming the dogs heads in the door to frighten them so much that even if they escape their cages they won’t challenge the door. Marshall had an enormous fear of thresholds. This was a huge first step for him. For more about Marshall visit:

I intend to follow Marshall’s progress and provide updates as he settles in and gains confidence. Stay tuned or subscribe for the rest of his story.

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45 thoughts on “The Puppy Mill Effect”

  1. Check out for info regarding targeting and other ways you can help dogs learn new skills.

  2. That picture is so sad, but encouraging too. Marshall is one of the lucky ones: he got out alive.

    I have a Missouri puppy mill survivor too–Miss Daisy Mae, a pembroke corgi. She was imprisoned in a Missouri mill and kept constantly pregnant–till they had no use for her and were about to kill her.

    Thank doG for rescuers! Daisy had to be spayed of course, and she had a hernia in need of repair. She also is missing an ear. I had her severe dry eye surgically repaired. But it’s what happened to her sweet heart and loving soul that was the worst. She was totally afraid of any “open” space–she still goes out on a leash because she’d run instantly if startled. She has flat feet from the wire cage floor.

    Daisy has been very traumatized. I’ve had her about 18 months–she didn’t ever bark till 6 months ago–now she meets me at the door and does a kibble dance. She smiles and plays w/ the other 3 dogs sometimes.

    Her PTSD is severe, but every new little step is a joy to see. I love her very much. And she has taught me so very much about love, trust, heartache, and joy.

    • I’m glad to hear that another Daisy is out there getting loved on big time. I look at Daisy and wonder what all she’s been through–then I just give her lots of cuddles to let her know that it’s safe here and will always be. I hate it that she may have bad memories, and it often makes me cry to see her sweet face . . . and to read the stories of so many, many other dogs who suffer the same and worse treatment and/or who are desperate in kill shelters. I have 2 other rescue dogs, one I got off death row the night before his time would have been up. Thank God your Daisy has you . . . and the other rescue dogs out there have forever home and loving peeps. Some days I despair about humans, but then I read stories here and feel hopeful.

  3. I cried right away as Marshall came through the door. Sometimes the small steps are the biggest!

    My gsd rescue took awhile just to wag her tail. It was such a joyous occasion for me to finally get some emotion from her… she was so depressed. She never did wag her tail very often, but I soon found that her simply looking at me eye to eye was her version of saying “Thanks for the food, treats and warm bed. Now stop looking at me.”

    Also, even though it really confused her at first, she did finally accept my ‘happy dance’ before treat-time that I did to try to get her tail to wag. She would give me a quick left-right swish, eat her treat, and then whine and walk into a different room. Gotta pity a dog who doesn’t know she’s allowed to be happy, or perhaps just not know how to show it. (RIP, my Annie girl.) I’m sure Marshall will enjoy a little bit of a party when he finds out it’s not a bad thing!

    Best of luck and kudos for your patience, understanding, and most importantly… love. Looking forward to more Marshall stories!

  4. im doing a reasearch project on puppy mills i think they are terrible i never knew they slammed the dogs head into doors if i saw someone do that i would treat them the same as the dog that made me mad and sad to hear about poor marshall my prayers are with him!!!!!! <3


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