A real loving dog owner sticks with their pet, even when things get rough. Most owners will do anything they can to make sure their companion lives a long and healthy life.
But unfortunately, there are others who don’t see things that way—especially owners of “puppy mills,” who usually care more about their profits than their animals’ health.
That was the case for a boxer named Tracy, who was owned by a puppy mill farm in Pennsylvania.
Apparently, the owner didn’t care much for Tracy beyond her procreating abilities—as was evident when he brought the dog to the a local vet when she became sick and unable to breed.
Instead of asking that the dog get proper medical care, he asked for Tracy to be “fixed up cheap and quick.”
The vet told the miller that they could run tests and try to fix Tracy—but when he was told it was unlikely she’d be able to breed again, he lost interest—and became heartbreakingly uninterested in her recovery, even though she was only four years old.
“He asked the vet if they could fix her up enough to be bred again,” Dawn Karam, president of Adopt A Boxer Rescue, told The Dodo.
“And if they couldn’t, the only thing he’d pay for was to have her euthanized.”
While she was practically left for dead by her owner, the vet wasn’t willing to give up on Tracy just yet—so she called up the Adopt a Boxer Rescue, who agreed to cover the costs of her treatment.
However, the diagnosis proved to be difficult, and time was running out.
“Her chance of living seemed very grim,” Karam said. “She wouldn’t eat, and all of her symptoms seemed to point to some type of neurological ailment, like a brain tumor, but the tests found nothing.”
Tracy was transferred to another hospital, where volunteers further examined her—and finally came down with a diagnosis: starvation.
All of Tracy’s physical and neurological issues could likely be traced back to her poor treatment at the puppy mill. These types of breeding farms, who supply dogs for pet stores and online shops, are legal but drastically unregulated, and breeding mothers like Tracy spend their lives in poor conditions and close quarters.
“Most mill moms and mill dads will not make it out alive,” Karam explained.
“[Tracy] was only 37 pounds—a female boxer is supposed to be at least 20 pounds more than that.”
However, nobody gave up on Tracy. She was soon moved to a foster home where she’s been living with other boxers—and her condition has improved dramatically.
“It is like night and day,” Karam told The Dodo. “She is comfortable, eating well and has already gained back 10 pounds.”
The people at Adopt a Boxer say that besides regaining her health, Tracy is also learning social skills—most puppy mills don’t allow interaction between dogs. But the companionship of her fellow boxers has been a reassurance in her recovery.
Tracy is doing very well in her foster home! Here she is, getting to know foster brother Angus. Though she still has a…
It’s inspiring to see that Tracy has been given a new shot at life after being so poorly treated—but many dogs aren’t so lucky.
Karam says that if there’s a bigger message to take away from Tracy’s story, it’s to not support puppy mills:
“If people didn’t buy puppies from pet stores or online, there would be no demand and there would be no mill dads or mill moms like Tracy,” Karam told The Dodo. “The millers continue to do this because they can—but we can stop this.
“In the meantime, giving these dogs the best life really is the best revenge.”