Spreading Awareness: It's a Number's Game

I firmly believe in the power of numbers. Showing up to a concert, restaurant or even your neighbor's garage sale is more enticing if there is a crowd over a few customers, right? We are careful to make decisions, become educated to not waste our time and money. So, we attract to what's popular, what other people are doing.

My family and I decided pizza was on the menu last night however, we were tired of our usual destination. Naturally, our first instinct was to check the reviews to see where other people were going. The first restaurant was closed but even before putting our name into the second, we realized the number of people waiting. This number put the thought in our head that this restaurant was really good because so many people were waiting. This number gave us confidence and the hope that we would enjoy ourselves. We decided to go elsewhere but promised to return in the future. The place we went to was excellent, probably just as good as the original. Would I return to that joint over the first? Maybe, but it was the NUMBER of people at the original that struck my family and I.

Now, look at this image: 

puppy mill

Photo Credit 

Startling right? The number of dogs to one crate probably imprints on your brain the same way it did with the pizza. This is called a puppy mill and for those of you who don't know what a puppy mill is, here is a definition:

"A puppy mill is an inhumane, commercial dog-breeding facility in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits." -Humane Society of the United States 

To me, it's a monstrosity and one of my goals as a trainer is to spread awareness to as many people as possible to end this type of cruelty. It's not just the popularity of restaurants that numbers can effect, numbers can promote change as well. The more people that understand puppy mills, the higher number of consumers choosing not to purchase one. 

king cavalier training

Now, I know the other side of this equation. Believe me, before I was in animal welfare, I unfortunately fell for it too. I have no proof saying that the breeder I got these two from was a puppy mill but, the point is, I purchased my dogs, I didn't rescue them.

Now that I'm in the animal welfare field, I've learned from my mistakes and am driven to educate others. Many consumers, including myself, purchase dogs from breeders as well as pet stores because if for no other reason, it's easy! Pure breeds are everywhere. Most shelters and rescues have good intentions but are usually not in it for the consumer, only the animal. This creates barriers for people who just want to do the right thing! Also, with buying a puppy, consumers start off fresh without having to deal with the baggage of adopting. This attracts many consumers into the idea of making the puppy their own, one they can control. I challenge you humbly though to take this into consideration; that pure bred puppy you are so excited about, was probably inbred to it's sister or cousin. With all the health concerns following a pure bred, you have to ask yourself, is it worth it? For me, going forward, I have promised myself never to purchase a dog again.


Getting back to the original purpose of this post, I believe that the only way to stop millers is to learn about what is going on. Here are a few links that explain puppy mills, what they are and how you can stop them:

Puppy Mills 101: What they are and How they Function

Inside a Puppy Mill: What They Don't Want You to See

How to Stop Puppy Mills


This just scratches the surface on the amount of information on the industry. I encourage you as a dog lover to educate yourself on what is going on. Together, we can stand up to cruelty and show the millions of milled dogs in the world that we are sorry, we are trying and we will never give up. 

Alice Tong Dote