BOOK REVIEW: Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills

Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills

Saving Gracie is an examination of the infamous but secretive world of the mass breeding facilities known as “puppy mills,” through the stories of one group of rescued Spaniels.

Wisely, the author frames the Spaniels’ story in a much wider scope by concurrently documenting legislators’ efforts to rein in the out-of-control puppy breeding business in the state of Pennsylvania. I found this element more intriguing than the chapters documenting the dogs’ struggles with housetraining, walks, and other mainstays of normal canine life.

Readers will come away with a sobering understanding of the hurdles facing those who wish to make real changes in the lives of breeding dogs. Puppy mill operators have orchestrated an astonishing number of ways to weasel out of constraints and oversight and continue to make money from dogs’ suffering. Sadly, powerful elements of the breeding world have rushed time and time again to puppy millers’ defense. I imagine we will continue to see these sad stories as long as animals are considered objects of profit; and as long as people continue to buy puppies from pet shops and Internet sites (which are the puppy mills’ main sales outlets).

Helpfully, a section in the back of the book points out ways of identifying puppy-mill breeders; this would be good information to pass on to friends and coworkers who insist on purchasing a dog.


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