by Sally Howe

I pulled the phone away from my ear and looked at it quizzically.  Was I really hearing right?

“She’s going back to Arkansas to this puppy auction and buy 71 dogs” stated Loree Levy-Schwartz of Boulevard Pet Hospital, "and we’re going to house about 20 of them.”

Loree was talking about the efforts of Fremont veterinarian Helen Hamilton, who was going to drive a van full of dogs, purchased from the auction block, from Arkansas to California and Loree was volunteering to help.

Ordinarily, I’m not a believer in buying dogs to “rescue” them.  My opinion of those who buy on the internet (the market for most puppy-mill dogs) is that they deserve what they get.  (Of course, my theories went all to h-in-a-hand-basket recently when my neighbor at work brought in a cocker spaniel and a West Highland White terrier he’d purchased-on the internet!)

I visited Boulevard Pet Hospital this week and met some of the rescued dogs that were brought in last week.

There was a West Highland White Terrier, due to whelp at any moment.  There were (17) Yorkshire Terriers, some with skin conditions and very fearful of the world.  As Loree explains, potential homes need to know that these dogs have lived in cages all their lives and haven’t a clue about people walking them, clean air, decent food or feces-free floors.  They have not been housebroken or leash trained and for the most part live in wire cages.  There was one dog who was six years old and had 11 litters, that’s 2 per year after 6 months of age!

When I visited the hospital, Loree and volunteers were busily sorting, naming, bathing, grooming, doctoring and generally evaluating their new charges.  Although it was only one day after the dogs had come into the hospital, veterinarian Monte Schwartz had already spayed or neutered several of the healthier ones.

Of the 71 dogs purchased at the auction, (this puppy-mill was being closed down) 39 came to California; others went to the East Coast with other rescue groups.  Veterinarians have their work cut out for them though.  Many of the Pugs have eye and skin issues and have had to go to specialists for care.

Back at Boulevard Pet Hospital, Loree Levy-Schwartz continues to caution clients about the seriousness of the situation and hopes that she’ll be able to influence people to only purchase their puppies from reputable breeders where the location of the pups with their parents can be viewed in person and not just a virtual visit!