Students Organize Puppy Mill Awareness Week

Puppy Mill Action Week begins on May 6th. It is a time to contemplate what we can do to make a positive difference. For some time now, I’ve believed that the very best way to eradicate puppy mills is by educating kids. A child who is aware of the reality of puppy mills can rattle the family conscience, particularly when Mom or Dad are thinking about purchasing a puppy on line or from a pet store. This is the reason a recent story about eighth grade students at Courtenay Language Arts Center in Chicago put a big smile on my face.

When these students learned about the suffering of dogs in puppy mills, they were determined to make a difference. Here’s what they did. After researching puppy mills and speaking with experts on this topic, they brainstormed ways that they could make a difference.

The culmination of their efforts occurred just last month. They organized an entire week devoted to increasing awareness about puppy mills within their school. This Puppy Mill Awareness Week included:

  • Daily morning announcements with facts about puppy mills
  • Visits to classrooms of younger students to read Ruby’s Story, a children’s book about a dog from a puppy mill
  • A basketball game fundraiser for a local animal shelter
  • Posters hung to educate students about puppy mills
  • An assembly created by the eighth grade students and featuring speakers from The Puppy Mill Project and Found

It appears that the Courtenay Language Arts Center Puppy Mill Awareness Week was a huge success in terms of raising awareness. As one student stated,

I will keep informing others about the situation in case they’re buying from a suspicious place. Finally, if I get a puppy I’ll make sure to get it from an animal shelter and not a pet shop or puppy mill.

It just doesn’t get any better than that! Now, I challenge you to educate kids about puppy mills. If you need some ideas, check out “Puppy Mills Exposed” and “A Happy Home for Every Dog and Cat” in HEART’s Humane Resource Guide. For older kids, I recommend that together you watch, “What is a Puppy Mill” created by HEART and the ASPCA. This video is just about guaranteed to stimulate some important discussion.

Are there children in your life who can learn about puppy mills?

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.


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2 Comments on “Students Organize Puppy Mill Awareness Week

  1. PureBred Dogs! Buy from a breeder!

    I’ll bet you won’t publish this one!

  2. My congratulations to these inspiring eighth graders from Courtenay Language Arts Center. Many an adult looking to add a canine to their family could learn something of great importance from these youngsters. I am often appalled to learn just how little knowledge some adults have about puppy mills and the conditions that exist in so many of them.

    Of all the dogs I have forever homed, be they pure bred, rehomed or rescued, the one that I always bring up in conversations with other adults that might be thinking of adding a dog to their family, was a four year old puppy mill breeder bitch that was rescued by a rescue organization that fortunately got wind that the puppy mill owner was going to dispose of her. My experience with giant dogs and that breed specifically allowed me to become her forever home provider. It was a challenge from the heart that I undertook, because she had no clue what life outside of a small cage was all about. She had health issue due to neglect, she had no idea what love was and was devoid of trust. One could literally see the fear in her eyes and in her body language. I always show that first day photo of her to those prospective dog buying adults, as a warning about buying a puppy from a pet store or from someone that might be doing business as a puppy mill. As a concerned lover of dogs. I wish that the commercial ” for profit” breeding of dogs was banned across the country and that dogs would be legally referenced as companion family members and not as a piece of property.

    As for my girl that was a former puppy mill breeder bitch, her life with me was short in terms of years due to her pre-existing health issue. But in that short time, she knew what it felt like to be truly loved, felt the security of trust and had the opportunity to be the dog she always deserved to be.