Brush those Teeth, it’s for more than a Great Smile! …. part 3 of 3

Welcome back to Daisy’s Rescue. Today’s lesson is part three of a three part article on Doggie Dental Hygiene. Usually we stay to a single post articles, but we have so much information to tell you we are dividing it up into three posts. Up until now we talked about, liquids that are added to drinking water, gels, powders and pastes.

Now we bring you to the last way to keep your dogs teeth clean is using dental chews. I use Greenies 27 oz Canister Teenie 96 Count, again, they say that they have proof that their product cleans the teeth of the dogs. I’m not sure. My dogs love the taste of them, but they are really high in calories and the main ingredient is wheat. I am not a fan of grains in dog food or treats. There are a few other brands of dental chews out there, again they are all high calorie and high in grains. I use these sparingly as I am not sure they actually work. As with everything, use your own discretion.

A quick review, There are liquids that can be added to drinking water that kills germs and or change the PH of your dog’s mouth to keep bacteria growth at a minimum. There are powders that claim to kill the bacteria in the dog’s mouth and keep tartar and plaque to a minimum. Gels are wiped on to the dog’s teeth and are supposed to kill germs and prevent plaque build up. Paste is the gold standard that is brushed onto the teeth of your dog and the plaque is removed with the brushing.

Remember that keeping your dog’s teeth clean does more than just make the teeth white, it keeps your dog healthy and prevents many seemingly unrelated diseases. Your veterinarian is your first line of information and advice for your dog’s health. Alway’s learn as much as possible about how to take the best care of your loyal buddy. My dogs are family and get treated as such.

I hope this has helped you learn about brushing your dogs teeth without being too technical, but still teaching you why it is very important. Please feel free to leave comments and or share your experiences. Please follow us on face book Daisy’s Rescue, you can follow us on RSS. If you like to learn more about the products mentioned in this article or wish to purchase them, please use the links that I provided.

Maggie licking the gel on her teeth.
Maggie licking the gel on her teeth.


Brush those Teeth, it’s for more than a Great Smile! …. part 2 of 3

Welcome back to Daisy’s Rescue. Today’s lesson is part two of a three part article on Doggie Dental Hygiene. Usually we stay to a single post articles, but we have so much information to tell you we are dividing it up into three posts. Most people don’t realize that taking care of your dogs teeth does a great deal more than just keep them clean.  Good hygiene in your dogs mouth prevents gingivitis and periodontitis, two major causes of tooth loss in dogs and a bunch of other seemingly unrelated illnesses. Believe it or not, bad teeth and dental disease can cause heart, kidney, and liver disease. This also happens to be true in humans too.  It is generally recognized that 80 to 85% of dogs over 4 years old  have some degree of dental disease. So, it is no surprise that the number one medical condition that Veterinarian’s see is dental disease. Oddly enough, dental disease is probably the easiest condition that can be prevented.

Before I go any further, let me reiterate that I’m not a dentist, veterinarian, canine nutritionist or sales rep. for any products that I mention in my blogs. I’m just conveying to you what I have learned over my experiences, in hope, that it will help you take good care of your dog. My dogs are just as important to me as any other family members I have, and I personally do all I can to take the very best care of them.

Just a quick rehash of what we talked about in the last article. We talked about dental disease in dogs and what causes it. We started to talk about how to prevent it by talking about products that can help you take care of your dogs teeth.

Proden PlaqueOff Dental Care for Dogs is the powder added to food. Tropiclean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover Pet Water Additive and Natural Chemistry Dental Cleanse Oral Hygiene Treatment for Dogs, both water additives.

The next dental care product is what I’m going to call a hybrid of dental products. It’s a gel that you wipe onto the surface of your dogs teeth. It is spread throughout the dogs mouth through licking and thereby, cleans the teeth. There is no brushing required and like the water additives, they are intended to kill bacteria via an antiseptic. I use Tropiclean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover Pet Clean Teeth Gel, the ingredients: Purified water, grain alcohol, natural mint, glycerin, natural cleanser, aloe vera leaf juice, carbopol, chlorophyllin, green tea leaf extract. My dog, Duchess, had the worst breath ever until I started to using this product. Within a few days, her breath was clean smelling. I mean, no smell, where before she would make you turn away. She stopped rubbing her nose after meals and I noticed that I did not have to put her on antibiotics every couple of weeks to keep her gums from becoming overly inflamed. There are other gel products out there, but this is my recommendation having found it to work successfully.

Tropiclean Dental Cleaning GelTropiclean Dental Cleaning Gel

Daisy getting gel applied to her teeth.
Daisy getting gel applied to her teeth.


Having gel applied to her teeth.
Having gel applied to her teeth.

The next product is actually doggie toothpaste. Every veterinarian that I have consulted said the same thing: DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE for your dog. Human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed.  There are a wide variety of Canine/Doggie toothpastes available. The problem I have with many of these toothpastes is some of the ingredients. I like giving my dogs the best of everything and when I see stuff like, animal digest, sorbitol, dextrose, and the like. I just have a hard time thinking that I’m preventing gum disease by scrubbing my dogs teeth with sugar. With that said, I like to use a multi-dementional approach to teeth cleaning. I like to use a water additive and a gel in addition to a toothpaste. Back to the paste. I use Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste Dog Poultry Flavor,my dogs love the flavor and actually look forward to me brushing their teeth.



Applying tooth paste to the tooth brush.
Applying tooth paste to the tooth brush.
Tucker having his teeth brushed.
Tucker having his teeth brushed.


Make sure you get all the way to the back teeth
Make sure you get all the way to the back teeth
Front teeth get brushed too!
Front teeth get brushed too!


I brush my dog’s teeth a couple of different ways. I use a dog sized toothbrush and brush the paste onto the dog’s teeth just like a human. I also use a 4X4 gauze pad (the ones used in wound care), I wrap my finger in the gauze and I put the paste on my finger and I brush the dog’s teeth with my wrapped finger. This gives me more control of where I’m brushing and I can feel the teeth, so I know that they are getting brushed. It really isn’t hard to brush your dog’s teeth and it only takes a few minutes. I can brush all of my dogs teeth in about 5 minutes. There really isn’t any excuse not to brush. Even dogs that have just come into my home as new foster dog’s allow me to brush their teeth.

So far we have talked about a few ways to clean and keep your dogs teeth in good condition. To recap, There is a drinking water additive, food additive and gel that is applied to your dogs teeth (no brushing needed), and brushing your dogs teeth. Any of these methods are better than nothing with brushing being the gold standard.

Next week we will look at the final installment of Doggie Dental Hygene.


Brush those Teeth, it’s for more than a Great Smile! …. Part 1 of 3

Welcome back to Daisy’s Rescue.  We are all about helping owners and rescue groups to learn helpful tricks and tips on how to take care of your dog(s). We are here for you to help with useful information on all types of routine dog care. Please feel free to leave comments and questions you may have for us. For your convenience we have added links to the products that we like to use, here in the article for you to find them more easily.

Today’s lesson is part one of a three part article on Doggie Dental Hygiene. Usually we stay to a single post articles, but we had so much information to tell you we are dividing it up into three posts. Most people don’t realize that taking care of your dogs teeth does a great deal more than just keep them clean.  Good hygiene in your dogs mouth prevents gingivitis and periodontitis, two major causes of tooth loss in dogs and a bunch of other seemingly unrelated illnesses. Believe it or not, bad teeth and dental disease can cause heart, kidney, and liver disease. This also happens to be true in humans too.  It is generally recognized that 80 to 85% of dogs over 4 years old  have some degree of dental disease. So, it is no surprise that the number one medical condition that Veterinarian’s see is dental disease. Oddly enough, dental disease is probably the easiest condition that can be prevented.

Before I go any further, I have to say, I’m not a dentist, veterinarian, canine nutritionist or sales rep. for any products that I mention in my blogs. I’m just conveying to you what I have learned over my experiences, in hope, that it will help you take good care of your dog. My dogs / pack are just as important to me as any other family members I have, and I personally do all I can to take the very best care of them.

Now before we can talk about dental disease, we need to know what it is. Dental disease is the build up of plaque, tartar, and bacteria on the teeth and gums. The gums become irritated, turn red and become inflamed or look swollen. The inflamed gums cause pain and will continue to get worsen over time. If left untreated by your vet they can eventually lead to missing teeth and jaw bone damage in your dog.

Every time a dog eats, the saliva, food, and bacteria form plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that stays on the surface of teeth after eating. When plaque forms on the teeth, it will quickly start to turn hard into a calcium like substance. This hardened substance is known as tartar. When plaque and tartar form, the build-up starts to pull the gums away from the teeth and allow bacteria to go below the surface of the gum line and start to attack the teeth at the roots. This bacteria will also attack the bone of the jaw and even enter the blood, causing other organs to become diseased. Doggie Dental hygiene is no joke!

There are several reasons why dogs develop dental disease. One of them is simply genetics.  Certain dog breeds and even small breed dogs can often be predisposed to dental problems. Greyhounds are notorious for having bad teeth. Dachshunds are also known to have frequent dental disease. When dogs are rescued from puppy mills we often see them with advanced gingivitis & periodontal disease, this is in part because of the lack of fresh, clean water. When dogs are imprisoned in puppy mills, they often do not get enough water. The water that they do receive is usually from water droppers (like the kind used for mice and hamsters), this does not allow enough water to be taken into the mouth to wash the teeth like natural drinking. Many dogs will lose up to all of their teeth when they are rescued.

In order to identify if your dog has dental disease you have to know what to look for. Bad breath is a telltale sign that your dog has something going on inside that mouth. Other symptoms include, but are not limited too, red inflamed/puffy gums, bleeding gums, stained teeth, loose teeth, and hard yellowing deposits on the teeth particularly at the base. If you see your dog rubbing his nose on the ground after a meal, that could indicate that the dog has some mouth pain. The pain could be from having bad teeth or gum disease. Another cause of a dog rubbing his nose could be an allergy as well.

If unchecked dental disease will cause teeth to become loose and fall out, the jaw bone could become diseased. The bacteria could spread to the heart, kidneys, and liver. When we bring a Dachshund into rescue, if the teeth are bad, you can almost guarantee that dog will have a heart murmur. The good news is that once the teeth are cleaned and the gums heal, the heart murmur either goes away completely or at the very least lessens.

Now how do we prevent dental disease? It’s quite simple… brush those teeth! Brushing is the easiest way to clean the teeth and ensure a healthy dog. To provide the best possible out come for your dog, brush his teeth twice a day after each meal. Now, I know most of you are saying that’s crazy. Twice a day is the best scenario, if you can’t do that, once a day is ok, not optimal, but will do a reasonable job. Obviously, whatever you do to clean your dogs teeth is much better than doing nothing. When I get a new puppy or even a new foster dog regardless of the age, the first thing I do is start playing with their mouth and paws. By playing with their mouths and paws, I’m conditioning them to allow me to examine, brush their teeth, and also cut their toe nails.

There are many products out on the market that are designed to clean your dogs teeth. These products range from you doing nothing to the dog, to the actual brushing of teeth. Again, the more you do for your individual pet the better the results will ultimately be. Buyer beware! Every product claims to have clinic studies backing up the results that are supposed to come from the use of the product. I use common sense, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also, think about what the product claims and use common sense. The bottom line on dental products is this, you need to kill bacteria and remove physical particulate from the teeth surfaces.

One thing you need to know, if you spend some quality time and money now buying dental care products and brushing your pet’s teeth, you will save both money, as well as, pain and suffering of your dog later. The average cost of dental cleaning $ 300, my girl Duchess cost over $ 1,000 to take care of her dental disease.  We brought her into rescue and had her teeth cleaned. She had 9 teeth removed during her dental cleaning (and that was in addition to the 9 she was already missing due to lack of dental care), so in the end she had lost more than half her total teeth. (Duchess was a Dachshund) So the old cliche is all too true, a once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Her one canine tooth that was pulled created a fistula (a hole in her gum that went into her sinus cavity. That hole had to be closed, the closure didn’t work at first, so she had to have a second surgery to get the hole repaired.  At this point, Duchess is 15 years old and has 18 teeth missing and we are working hard to save the others with daily teeth cleaning.

One of the first things we do when in dog rescue with the intake of a new foster dog, is to evaluate the teeth. They frequently need to see a veterinarian to be put on both pain meds and antibiotics to take care of the infected gums and to allow the dog to eat pain free. Sadly, it’s not at all uncommon to have the new foster animal on heart meds because of murmurs caused by the gum disease. Usually within a few weeks after the dental the heart murmur goes away or dissipate to a level were medicine is not needed.

Now what do we use to clean the dogs teeth? There are few different products, each one has its own unique advantages and I will explain them here. The products range from pouring liquid into water and allowing your dog to drink it, all the way to the tooth paste that you brush their teeth with. We will start with the easiest to use first.

PlaqueOff, Proden PlaqueOff Dental Care for DogsThis is an all natural seaweed powder, that is sprinkled into the food dish on top of their food to be ingested by your dog. The seaweed is supposed to have antibacterial properties that will kill the bad bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque and tartar. The manufacture claims that this will not only stop the development of plaque but remove existing plaque and tartar. I have used this product. I typically use this when I get a new dog in to foster. I have found that this powder softens the plaque and tartar making it easier for the plaque and tartar to be removed during dental cleaning. My senior girl, Duchess had bad, stinky breath and I used this product in addition to regular brushing and her breath didn’t get much better. In PlaqueOff’s defense Duchess had been living with really bad teeth that had gone untreated for a very long time. However, our dog, Daisy has used the Proden PlaqueOff and the tartar build-up softened right up, enough so that I was able to scrap her teeth and clean most of the heavy plaque off myself. No veterinarian needed.


Daisy getting gel applied to her teeth.
Daisy getting gel applied to her teeth.

There are also many different products that come in a liquid that you can buy and add to the water that your dog drinks and it is supposed to stop or at least inhibit the build-up of new plaque and tartar to your dogs teeth, some even claim they clean the teeth of existing plaque and tartar. These products aim to change the PH value in your dogs mouth. Making the mouth environment more acidic to kill/ prevent more bacteria. What you need to remember is that the bacteria is only part of the equation here. You still have the accumulation of solid food particles. While killing bacteria helps, it isn’t the end all be all. Be careful choosing a liquid product, look for certain ingredients like, chlorhexidine gluconate or Cetylpyridinium Chloride which are antiseptics used to kill the bacteria.  Tropiclean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover Pet Water Additive, uses Cetylpyridinium Chloride as an antiseptic. Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Liquid Tartar Remover, changes the PH in the dogs mouth to create an environment that is harder for bacteria to survive. I have not used this product, so I’m not endorsing it, but have it here as an example of other types of water additives. I do use Natural Chemistry Dental Cleanse Oral Hygiene Treatment for Dogs, I like it because it does not contain sweeteners and other unsavory ingredients such as dyes.

This is the end of part one. Next week part two will be posted. Part two is going to be about gels and paste. If you have any questions please leave a comment and we will get back to you as soon as possible.



Over Nighting Dogs for Transports

Another part of transporting dogs, is to overnight a dog. This means that some dogs are being transported such a distance that they can’t get to where they are going in a reasonable time, so they need to stay somewhere over night and continue on their way the next day. The requirements are almost the same as when you are doing a transport.

The main thing you must remember is to, isolate / quarantine the dog or dogs on transport from your own pack. These dogs are tired, confused, scared, and stressed. These dogs do not understand what is going on. They are dehydrated and hungry. Some may need to have medication given to them. This is your job.

You have picked up the dog, transported him to your home and now you are going to keep him over night. I call the transport coordinator and let them know the dog is safe and in for the night. I then call the sending person and see if the dog needs anything not listed in the paperwork. I take the dog out of the vehicle and I walk the dog or take the dog to my fenced in back yard. I let the dog relax and wander around a little bit. I make sure I pick up and dispose of the dogs waste. It is very important to pick up and dispose of the dogs waste. You do not want to expose your dogs to worms or other parasites that the visiting dog may have. While taking care of this dog, you need to protect your dogs. Once the dog is settled, I also contact the receiving person and give them a report on how the dog is doing. I don’t want anone to worry about how he is doing. You will find that people really appreciate you calling them and updating them on how the dog is doing. Remember, some one or maybe a bunch of people care about this dog. My dogs are family, I treat all dogs as if they are some one’s family, because they are.

It is important to take the dog to an area that is able to be kept clean and easy to clean and sanitize. I use my kitchen. I have tile flooring that is easily kept clean. I learned this next tip from a fellow rescuer, that I was talking to on a transport. Buy a few shower curtains at a dollars store. I used a tarp prior to finding out about the shower curtain. Put the curtain on the floor, put pee pads on top of the curtain. I then put a dog exercise penover the pee pads and curtain. The “Ex Pen”, then contains the dog in an area where he will be safe, and contained. I then put up a pet gateacross the opening to get into the kitchen. This keeps my pack away from the “Ex Pen”. The dog does not need the added stress of my pack checking him out. We make sure that he has plenty of water and we encourage him to drink, as the dog is most likely dehydrated. We offer him food. The dog should have food with him. Use this food, so the dog does not developed GI issues. If the dog is not interested in his food, help him out a little.

I always keep home made chicken broth on hand. I buy ground chicken and I boil it in a large pot of water. I remove the chicken and freeze it for future use. I wait until the water from boiling then chicken cools (chicken broth). When cool, I pour the broth into ice cube trays and freeze. when frozen I put them in a gallon freezer bag and I put them in the freeze for future use. I always have a bag of broth on hand.

When an of my dogs won’t eat, or a new dog won’t eat, I get a few cubes of broth, I put them in a bowl and I microwave the cubes until they turn to liquid, I pour the broth on the food. It is very rare that a dog does not like the broth on his food. Usually the food is gone in seconds.

I put blankets and towels in the “Ex Pen” for bedding. I don’t used dog beds, as they are harder to clean and sanitize. We also keep some new toys around. We give the toy to the dog and he will take it with him. We make sure we take the dog out a few times to potty. We pick up any waste. We leave him in the pen to sleep.

My first over night was crazy and I had no idea what I was doing. I did buy a tarp, I did lay down pee pads. I did have an “Ex Pen”. The dogs were supposed to be small puppies of 10 to 20 pounds.

12-11-2010 Paws to the Rescue Sunshine 4 over niht (12)

They were severely dehydrated and extremely thin. We spent most of the night feeding the dogs and getting them hydrated.

In the morning the dogs get breakfast, walked and loaded into the truck for the rest of the transport. I call the sending person, receiving person and the coordinator to report on how the dog did over night and that he is on the road again. I then call the person that I’m going to meet and make sure that they are going to meet me.

The beauty of the dollar store shower curtain is, once you are done using it you wrap everything up in the curtain and throw everything into the trash. Everything is contained, no mess. I still clean and sanitize the tile floor, just in case.


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Thank you Daisy

Follow The Leader, A quick lesson in dog walking.

Welcome to Daisy’s rescue, Today our topic is dog walking. We see a lot of people trying to walk their dogs, and sometimes we wonder who is walking whom. Denise Lynn is one of our guest writers and she will discuss how to easily walk your dog.


When it comes to your dog the old cliché that a “good dog is a tired dog” may indeed be an old statement but is still unanimously true. Sadly, few pet owners show any real ability to walk their dogs correctly these days. This is especially disappointing because it is such a key component to excellent overall pet behavior. Let’s face it, we all dread walking past the owners who are out on the sidewalk with their arms at full extension, shoulder rolled forward and total lack of control over their animal. Being faced with a bad mannered or overly exuberant dog is never something anyone looks forward to. And this is precisely the reason I find myself biting my tongue and uttering a simple polite greeting, as I cross to the other side of the street, allowing chaos to continue on its way without me. This behavior is easily corrected however, and this essay can tell you the right techniques to curb your dog on a walk and avoid the need for a chiropractor afterwards. With the right equipment, posture, and consistency anyone can learn to correctly walk their dog.

“Exercise for your dog is every bit as important as it is for you” (Huntington). Let’s start by getting the right equipment for your particular breed. Whether you’re the owner of a large or small dog the use of a properly fitted collar, leash, or harness for your breed size is all you need to make your walks comfortable and enjoyable for both of you. A dog’s collar should be soft, flexible and worn at all times providing two fingers width of room underneath it for the dog’s ease of movement. The correct collar should also include contact information for the owner in case of unintended separation at the dog park. If you are a small dog owner a harness will be your next purchase. Harnesses hold the dog by the chest region and distribute tension removing the danger of larynx collapse if either of you pull the leash too hard. Leashes should be of the correct sturdiness for your individual dog’s size. A small dog needs a light leash with a longer length were as, a big dog needs something stronger and shorter after all he is taller.

Many people use the wrong equipment which can immediately doom your walk to failure. Using a choke chain or pronged collar is common practice to some people to give correction for bad behavior but, this will only illicit a negative response from your dog while also making him fear you. Painful choking is still just that, painful! Now ask yourself, why your dog would view walking as something they want to do if it’s constantly a pain in their neck? Likewise, a large heavy leash that isn’t absolutely necessary to secure him becomes an uncomfortable addition for any dog. These are just a few examples of how to make walks not only unpleasant and disagreeable for your pet, and also in some cases agonizing.

When it comes to walking your dog, a positive attitude and good body posture will take you far. Remember to exude an affirmative demeanor whenever you walk out the front door together. Keep your head held high and your shoulders back throughout your walk. Assign your pet his place at your side by shortening the leash, thus allowing him just enough room to walk confidently beside you. Then slacken the leash to a soft, relaxed tension and remember to be the leader whenever you walk. When you assert a leadership posture your dog will automatically follow. This also helps him recognize that he must always follow you and not the other way around. Continuously be the first to step into or out of any doorway and Spike will quickly come to understand the proper chain of command both on the walk and inside your household.

Let’s flash back to the vision we had earlier of the dog dragging the owner down the street by his lead. Not only will you need a chiropractor after not exuding the leadership role, you may also need Band-Aid’s. By permitting your dog to lead he will assume he is the boss and will take over the role whole heartedly, dragging you threw bushes or across busy streets. If you allow him the full length of leash he will use it to his advantage and to hang you both with it. Let’s face it, “Pulling on the leash and dragging the dog does not work. It only chokes the dog and prompts it to pull harder to get away from the choking” (Houck). So always start out on the right foot to avoid these obvious pitfalls.

The best tool at your command when walking your dog is the use of positive reinforcement for all good behaviors he exhibits. This simply put means to catch your dog doing the good behaviors and praise him for it. Said with a smile in your voice, praise alone will bring many happy returns. For example, if when you’re out walking, you happen upon another owner and their dog and Spike stays his course beside you without hesitation, make sure he knows he was a good dog, “Good boy!” In contrast, “A lot of people think hitting and yelling at a dog is training….But hitting and yelling is abuse and immediately removes the trust between a dog and its owner. Aggression begets aggression” (Houck). All of which will only serve to make your dog fearful and anxious. The ultimate goal of dog walking is a pup that is tired and relaxed so that you can both take a nap on the sofa together.

It’s also very important to always remain consistent with the rules, be sure to adhere to them each and every time you walk together. If you do, your dog will know exactly what is expected of him and perform better overall. Continuously respond to any negative behavior quickly, lead him back on track, and then praise him for a job well done. Vacillating back and forth with only the occasional correction will only confuse your pup and lead him to making bad behavior choices. This will facilitate the need for a lot more negative corrections when the goal is to accentuate the positive at every opportunity.

Nobody wants an over excited, wound up companion that chews furniture and knocks them over upon their arrival home. The addition of a regular walk, using the right equipment, and correct body posture, as well as, consistent reinforcement will result in a well-trained and relaxed dog. You both will be getting great exercise and increasing the bond between you. Good boy, Spike!

By Denise Lynn

Works Cited

Huntington, Ann. “Tips on how to Help Dog Get Exercise.” Toronto Star Dec 05 1991: F.6. OxResearch; ProQuest Central; ProQuest Health Management. 31 Mar. 2012.

Houck, Jeff. “Stay! Sit! Read! and Learn how to Train Your Dog.” Palm Beach Post Jan 18 1999: 1.D. OxResearch; ProQuest Central; ProQuest Health Management. 31 Mar. 2012.

Lilly’s Story from The National Mill Dog Rescue

Lilly’s Story reprinted with permission from The National Mill Dog Rescue



Sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves why we do what we do.Lily, wearing tag #251, crouched, suffering in a small wire cage at the auction. Breeding dogs were being sold to the highest bidder. Lily looked straight into Theresa’s ey…es that day and asked for help. Theresa purchased Lily and promised to “shower her with love until the day she died”. For the next 15 months Lily learned about being a dog. She learned about soft beds, belly rubs and rolling in the grass. But most importantly, Lily learned what love felt like. Despite surgeries and the best care possible, the 7 years of neglect at the puppy mill had taken its toll on her body. On May 13, 2008 Lily passed away. Theresa vowed, in Lily’s name, to take up the cause for the mill dogs and thus National Mill Dog Rescue was born. Please join us in our efforts. Share the story of Lily and the plight of mill dogs everywhere. Thank you.


Lily is the love and the light of my life. If you’ve ever had a special dog like Lily, then you will understand right away what I’m talking about. If you haven’t… read on.

Lilly and the wolfhound

When she came to me I took her to work everyday and she slept in the warmth of my Irish Wolfhound’s stomach. She slowly learned to trust and in seven months she would come to me to get on my lap! She now loves all humans as no one will ever hurt her again. As you can see from the picture on the right she has her silly moments and keeps a lookout so she won’t get caught.

Lilly in bed

Lily was born, raised and perhaps had 13 litters of puppies at the Reedgate Kennels before we were able to buy her at auction. Her time there was spent in a wire cage with a board to sleep on and a rabbit water bottle to drink from. While in the mill she received little or no vet care and because of this she lost all her teeth and her lower jaw rotted off, which is not unusual for the smaller breeds in the puppy mills. Everything that was precious to her was taken away (her puppies). The human hand brought only  misery.

Lily is my inspiration. She can teach anyone about love, courage and the ability to forgive. Unfortunately the cancer she acquired through years of neglect is now close to ending her life. I have promised her she will never be alone again and I will be with her at the end. To date she is responsible for saving over 7700  dogs as she is the inspiration and founder of MDRN.

Lily died in my arms May 13, 2008. She will be missed.

To all of Lily’s friends:

At 5:30 PM on Tuesday May 13, 2008, our little Miss Lily made her way to the Rainbow Bridge. Over the two days prior, the ever-present spark in her eyes faded and she had become so frail and weak, the abuses of her past finally catching up with her, surpassing her ability to keep up the fight. Tuesday evening our vet came to the house and helped her on her way. Rich and I buried her in a very quiet area in our back woods with Tasha and Molly and many of our dogs at our sides. Interestingly, the only moments of sunshine on an otherwise dreary day were right upon her grave as we laid her down. No surprise at all…. she loved the sunshine so much.

We are just devastated, especially my husband, who was Lily’s constant companion. Thank God we have a couple of rescue Iggy’s right now – despite that no dog could come close to replacing Lily, I think they will help fill the void a bit, strange little creatures that Iggy’s are.

When I think back to the day that I saw Lily crammed in the back of her cage at Reedgate Kennels, I whispered her a promise – “I will free you from this hell no matter what the cost and we will shower you with love until the day you die.” Our family can take pride in keeping every word of that promise, not knowing then what Lily would come to mean to so many people for so many reasons.

Lily was a serious dog, stripped of her ability to be a typically silly Italian Greyhound because during her first seven years of life she had no opportunity to move or socialize with what came to be her favorite thing in life – people. What she did find in herself in time though, was courage. When she found her courage, she let everyone know about it, climbing into the laps and arms of total strangers and sharing her very special love with everyone around her. No one walked away from Lily the same person. Her tiny, disfigured little self moved grown men to tears, many times. Over this past year, Lily and the story of her life educated hundreds of people about the plight of mill dogs and the realities of the commercial dog breeding industry. My husband believes that Lily is perhaps the most important dog in history (not that he is at all partial).

When Lily was rescued in February 2007, she suffered from several medical conditions. She had severe pyometria (infected uterus), several mammary tumors, and from years of no care her entire mouth was rotted to point that she was completely missing her lower jaw. The latter would prove to become life threatening as it eventually led to cancer. Lily was so brave through four surgeries and unspeakable amounts of pain as we worked so hard to improve the quality of her life. Unfortunately, the years of no care won over and we were unable to give her more than just over a year in our home. However, during this past year Lily knew nothing but love and she was truly a treasure in our home. She will always be “one of those dogs”, one you can never seem to let go of, one whose face you can see simply because you want to. To our family, Lily has made us stronger, kinder people and our world a better place to be.

We will continue the fight in Lily’s name to bring about permanent change in this criminal industry. Please join us in our efforts and tell everyone you know the story of Lily and the plight of mill dogs everywhere, as she continues to watch over them from the heavens.

Two of Lily’s friends have written poetry for her, please read it.

In Memory of Lily

She withstood her life of misery
Her cage was her domain
The hopelessness, the loneliness
She was a number with no name.

Her eyes had never glistened
No love, her heart had known
Her cries were never answered
Her doom was hers, alone.

Her body, torn and tattered
So weak, so thin and frail
Her small sweet face disfigured,
As she languished in her jail.

Like the others all around her
From neglect she lived in pain
Oh, humans void of heart and souls
Were surely those to blame.

Shrouded behind secrecy
They perpetuate their lies
The puppy mills breed misery
Kept hidden from our eyes.

Then breaking thru the darkness
An angel brought the light
Reaching down with kindness
To alleviate this plight.

And so a few were taken
To be given a new start
And a mission was now realized
From deep within a heart.

Discarded were the numbers,
Now Lily was her name
She was nurtured now and cared for
And the others, just the same.

She responded to the kindness
She was kissed upon her head
Each night as she lay sleeping
In her warm and cozy bed.

From beginnings that were tragic
Lily now embraced the love
But she would only stay a minute
She had lessons up above.

Her life brought inspiration
She taught her humans well
About courage and conviction
To save others from the hell.

Lily’s life had purpose
As she endured such strife and pain
She emerged with great forgiveness
Oh, her life was not in vain.

Now the cozy bed is empty
But Lily’s memory lingers still
And hundreds more will follow
…..Rescued from the mill.

Bari Mears
Copyright 2008


The National Mill Dog Rescue

Peyton, CO (east of Colorado Springs)

Toll free: (888) 495-DOGS
Local: (719) 495-7679
Media: (719) 445-6787
Sponsorships: (719) 445-6787
Grants/Foundations: (719) 495-7679
Donations: (719) 445-6787 Donation Page
Lost NMDR Dog: (719) 445-6787 Lost Dog Page
Relinquishing a Dog  (not NMDR dog) Please be aware we do not accept relinquished dogs.

USDA Website Access

This article is going to show you how to use the USDA’s APHIS (animal and plant health inspection service), web site to look up puppy mills (breeder’s), animal labs, and circus’s. Due to the freedom of information act the USDA now posts all inspection results. On the web site you can search, license status and inspection results. You can perform searches based on type of license, type of animal, state and citation.

We are going to go step by step on how to access the site.

USDA APHIS home screen

Type into your browser. Or click the link.That will take you to the APHIS home page.  Pic above.  Next you go to the left column on the home page. Under “browse by subject”, go to “animal welfare” and click on it. The above pic has “animal welfare” highlighted in green.    Now go to the right hand column on the Animal Welfare page. Under the picture of the elephant in the bottom right hand column is “view AWA Inspection Reports”. Click on “View AWA Inspection Reports”.USDA APHIS Inspection reports

Now you are at the Government Warning page. What it is saying, is that the government is allowed to view your computer and the data that is on it. Click “Agree”, if you want to view the inspection report.


Now we are on the A.C.I.S. or Animal Care Information System. It defaults to the basic search. Type “MARLIN ZIMMERMAN” in the search box and click search.

APHIS Marlin Zimmerman Basic search results

You will see Marlin Zimmerman, customer number, certificate number (which designates type of license breeder, broker, lab, etc). and the date of issue or cancellation. The kennel / Puppy mill’s address is on the right. Now, above the name and to the right of the highlighted “licensee/Registrant Information”, is “Inspection Information”, click that button.Zimmerman Inspection page

Here you see dates, and violations on the left. To see the inspection results, click on “Details” on the far right.

zimmerman inspection results

The results of the inspection is shown, the violations are listed along with the statute number. At the bottom of the page shows the number of dogs and puppies at the kennel / mill at the time of the inspection.

When an “inspection report” has been “Expanded”, the other inspections are still on the page, just in the “hidden” aspect.

If you look at the far upper right hand corner of the inspection box, you will see number like this  1-5 of 6 and then “Next”, this is to look at the next page of inspection reports, the website shows 5 at a time.

Now, lets look at the “Advanced Search” feature of the website.

USDA APHIS Advance seach page

Go up to the top of the page, the “basic” search option. Click on “Advanced” search. Below the “Advanced” search is “Optional Criteria Items” Box. Click on the box and you will see a drop down window with a bunch of options. Count down 5, and click on “Inspection Animal Categories”. You will see another window open next to the “Advance Search” window. Click on the window and pick an animal, for this pick Dogs. Go back to the “Advanced Search” window, under it is “Add Criteria Item”, click on it and the “Dogs”, will appear under the “Selected Criteria Items”.

USDA APHIS Advanced search dog

Now go back up to the “Optional Criteria Items”, box. Count down 12 and click on “Licensee/Registrant State”. Another new box opens that contains the “states”, click on “Pennsylvania”. Make sure you click on the “Add Criteria Item” button.

USDA APHIS Advanced search state and dog search ready

Click on the “Start Search” button. You will now see a list of Facilities that have dogs. The list just happens to be research Labs. This is the “Licensee / Registrant” results.

USDA APHIS Advanced Dog and State Search Results

To view inspection results you have to click on the “Inspection Results” button. Please remember, I do not run the USDA APHIS website. The site has a lot to be desired. I wish it was better and easier to use. Remember, this is our tax dollars at work. The best way to use the site is to just get on it and play with it, see how it works and what it’s limits and quirkiness are.

Let me know how you like this article.