2013 has been an awesome year with many mill dogs saved and 21 placed into forever homes! We especially want to thank EV & JL Peters Charitable Trust for their unbelievable donation of $5,000 and the Gregg Biffle Foundation for their contribution of $500! With their support 2014 will be another great year for the many new rescued mill dogs at Safehaven!
1800PetMeds has an awesome donation program!! Thanks so much for all your help with our rescue efforts! Check them out!
Newest Mill Rescues! Welcome to Freedom!!
Mickey Mouse - UPDATE Mickey has been adopted!!!! This 4 year old Yorkie seems to share our opinion of puppy mills as he sticks his tongue out during his freedom ride. He is a real doll at 6 pounds and is already learning to trust and accept affection. In time, Mickey Mouse will make someone the perfect companion. Patience and gentleness go a long way with mill rescues. He will be neutered and get his dental done shortly, then it is off to a new adventure in a forever home. We are accepting applications on Mickey Mouse at this time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or an application.
Lincoln - Rescued on President's Day, Feb. 17 , 2014 from a life as a puppy mill stud, this poor tiny boy's eyes were infected and matted over. It took several hours to carefully remove the matted fur from his eyes and finally be able to apply soothing antibiotic ointment. His teeth are in horrid condition and will probably loose most during his upcoming dental. He is very thin and will require months of rehabilitation, but the love and trust this little man has is amazing. He is ready and willing to fall asleep in anyone's arms, soaking up the love like a sponge. Please email email@example.com for more info or an application.
Betsy - Betsy is a 9 month old "designer dog" with designer problems. Her hind legs do not bend, the joints at the knees are fused so that she is stiff legged. Although there is nothing medically that can be done for her legs, she doesn't seem to care. She is in no pain and is really enjoying her freedom from the puppy mill. She requires no extra care, can go up and down a few steps without assistance and loves to play. From her point of view, she is as normal as the next. Betsy has been spayed, microchipped and all of her vaccinations are up-to-date. Now all she needs is a family as special as her. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or an application.
Maria - Rescued Jan 11, 2014 from an Ohio puppy mill. She is a 5 year old Chihuahua who had spent her entire life producing puppies for the pet store trade with little to no socialization. Maria is not aggressive, but very frightened. We are working with her to teach her that human touch can be a pleasant thing. She will be seen by our vet and be spayed and have a dental shortly. Then all she will need is a compassionate person willing to take the time to teach her about life outside the cage. Please email email@example.com for more info or an application.
Mill Dog Blog. . .
Read our mill dog survivor blog for information on behavior common to mill survivors and tips on training a mill rescue.
Offering Hope. . .
What really happens to them? A little know fact is that most puppy mills and commercial breeding facilities often produce not-so-perfect puppies; puppies born with physical birth defects which make them undesirable to the pet trade industry. These pups are often destroyed by drowning at the average age of 4-6 weeks. Thankfully the puppy mill owner's attitude is changing on these poor defenseless pups. Some have now begun to release these "undesirable" pups to rescue. Many of these puppies only need medical care to live out a healthy long life, some however, will always carry their defect with them, but this does not mean that they cannot be happy and healthy and live a long spoiled life.
There is none more hopeless than a puppy mill breeder dog. Their lives consist of four wire walls and the constant production of puppies to supply the many pet stores that still offer these mass produced dogs for sale. They are often fed the cheapest, poorest quality food, resulting in malnutrition and disease, they receive little or no veterinary care and without rescue, are often put to death when they can no longer produce puppies.
Our goal at Safehaven is to offer hope. To rescue, rehabilitate and re-home these dogs into loving environments where they can begin a new life as a house pet.
Many of these 'breeders' are only given up when they develop a problem or stop producing large litters of puppies. Many have treatable health issues that cost littleto treat. Some however, require more intense medical attention. These dogs would normally be destroyed in traditional shelters, but not at Safehaven. We believe that every dog deserves a chance at a healthy, normal life, with someone who cares.
Safehaven Small Breed Rescue is a 501c3 not for profit organization dedicated to rescuing discarded puppy mill breeders and puppies with birth defects, providing them with proper veterinary care, and ultimately finding them loving forever homes.
WHY? Every time a mill breeder is rescued, their lives change forever. They learn to love and to be loved. They learn what a warm soft bed feels like, and kind hands that stroke their tired bodies. They learn that life can be good and above all, they learn what it is like to live free from their tiny wire prisons. People often ask what happens to the unadoptable dogs, the ones with severe health issues or the very old ones. Well, Safehaven offers sanctuary to these special dogs. Many of the very old or ill are allowed to live out their days in the comfort and care of Safehaven. They receive medical care to keep them pain free and as healthy as possible, special food and all the love they need to be happy. It is our belief that these dogs have been through enough in their lives and deserve a stable loving environment to live out the rest f their time on earth. We will only euthanize at the recommendation of our trusted vet.
Every donation helps provide needed veterinary care, nutritious food, and care for the many dogs rescued each year. All of our "helpers" are volunteer! Donations are NEVER used for administrative costs!
The first few hours after rescue.
This little Yorkie girl had lived her entire life behind the wire walls of her tiny enclosure. She had never experienced a warm bath or a gentle touch. This is the beginning of her life free of cages and breeding.
Where do they come from?
Many of our rescues come from commercial breeding farms where the dogs are treated as products instead of living animals. Hidden away behind barns or in sheds, these dogs often go unnoticed by anyone passing by. They are housed in tiny cramped cages where they live, breed and supply their keepers with countless puppies to be sold to pet stores or to unsuspecting customers looking for a pet.
These living conditions create diseases of the body and mind. Many mill dogs have issues that can only be cured by time, love and understanding.
Some of our rescues come from Dog Auctions. Illegal in some states, these auctions are a place where dogs are bought and sold to be used as breeders. Many of them are injured or so badly neglected they may not be sold. Sadly, those dogs are usually destroyed or abandoned by their owners as being of no value.
We believe that every life has value not based on the number of offspring it can produce or the income it can bring. It is our mission to give every dog a chance at a normal, healthy life, free from neglect and wire prisons.
What you need to know about us. . .
Occasionally you may see a post stating that we have reached our limit temporarily - This means that we are currently housing 16 rescue dogs. This is our personal limit, the number we can comfortably care for, feed and keep groomed without stretching ourselves too thin. However, we will make exceptions for true emergencies such as an injured animals or abuse cases which are usually referred to us by the local or State Police.
Since we refuse to put elderly, handicapped, puppy mill dogs, or abused dogs on a concrete floor, in individual fenced runs, we can only house 25 dogs per year. We believe that it is better to make the worst case dogs feel like they really are home, than to take in many dogs only to have them put in a kennel run, isolated and in most cases, in the same wire walls they were rescued from.
We are inspected yearly by the State Dog Warden even though we do not have a kennel license. All dogs are individually licenses and vaccination records are checked.
Our operating budget usually consists of what ever is left of our personal income after the bills are paid. We attend several craft shows and other fundraisers a year, all of which directly benefit the dogs at Safehaven. At no time do we use donated funds to pay the bills, or for "administrative fees" as other rescues and shelters do. Your donations go towards the purchase of the best dog food we can afford, new toys, treats, flea products, heartworm preventative medications, occasionally beds, and snuggle blankets and sweaters for the elderly dogs for winter. You can be assured, that your donation is NOT going into someone's pocket as we are all volunteers. We receive no state or federal funding for our rescue work.
Our physical address is 318 barber Drive, Tionesta, PA 16353 phone - 814-463-5004
The Adoption Process. . .
We do not condone same day adoptions. This means that you cannot show up and go home with a dog without following the proper procedures. An application must be taken either by phone, email or regular mail prior to being able to visit with the rescue you wish to adopt. The application will tell us exactly which dog will best fit into your lifestyle. Some of our rescues require a fenced in yard, some like to walk on a leash; some people prefer males over females; some want a specific age group or breed. We try to make the best matches possible, showing you only the dogs that fit your requirements.
Your references, and landlord when applicable, are called and your address is verified. NO P.O. Boxes, an applicant MUST have a street address. We will then phone you for a brief interview to discuss exactly what you want and don't want.
The next step is to have a home visit. This is crucial for the sake of the dogs. We look for things like how many stairs the dog will have to climb daily (most small breeds we deal with have short legs and trouble with stairs), where will the dog sleep once you have him home, do you have adequate space for the dog, etc. We are also looking at you application answers, if you tell us that you have a fenced yard, we want to see it. We only want to ensure that a dog placed in your care will be safe and happy.
Once you have been approved, you may come and visit with the dogs. Plan to spend at least one hour with the dogs. We will only show you dogs that meet your specifications. Most people pick a certain dog because of it's color, it's cuteness or it's sex. This is why so many toy breed dogs end up in rescue. You may play with them, or take them for a walk, but get to know their personalities before you take them home. Our little ones have been through a lot in their lives, and we want them to be comfortable with you prior to leaving their safe place.
If you already own a dog, it is a good idea to bring your current pet with you on your first visit. We do our best to socialize our little rescues and teach them to play well with others, however, is it always best to be sure that the new companions will get along before taking a new dog home.
Some of the dogs may be isolated in a different room or in a crate. They may be of an age or sex you were not interested in. They are only isolated just prior to your arrival and are usually back with the pack before you have pulled out of the driveway.
Reasons you could be rejected for adoption:
You are renting and the landlord says "no pets" - Your veterinarian says he hasn't seen your current pet for years - You fail the home visit - The dog you insist upon is not a good match, example - You love to run and want a dog to join you on your daily jaunts, but the only dog you would consider is 9 years old and spends his days sleeping, snoring and farting.
You must sign a contract which states, among other things, that if, at any time, for any reason, you cannot keep this dog, it MUST be released back to Safehaven. We take this very seriously and will prosecute violators for abandonment and breach of contract.
Someone once said that it might be easier to adopt a child than to adopt one of our rescues. This might be true. To date we have place 257 dogs into loving homes with only two returns, one which was due to a job lost and relocation to a no pets apartment, the other was because of knowledge of training methods. We want the adoptive home to be the final and forever home for our "kids".
We are a different kind of rescue. We do not have a kennel, nor do the dogs live
in crates. They can sleep on the couch,
or on each other if they choose. It is
our belief that if these dogs ever have a chance at a forever home, they must
learn basic house manners. Some have a hard time adjusting to life outside of a
cage, but eventually, everything falls into place. Many of the dogs need to be taught how to be
a dog. That is where our own dogs come into play. They have been a great help
in socializing the shy ones. We
housebreak them, teach them to walk on leashes, and try to help them adjust to
their new life. Our ultimate goal is to
place the right dog with the right owner.
Our Board Members:
Chair - Teri Walters, Tionesta, PA Vice-Chair - Clint Walters, Tionesta, PA Secretary - Helen
Wholf, Thompson, Ohio Financial - David McClain, New Brighton, PA Advisor - Audrey Atherton, Mentor, OH