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Tonya Feather
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Tonya Feather

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There's a whole series of Wally (squirrel) trying to hide things in Jax's (dog) fur. *boggle*
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Tonya Feather

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Via +Lone Star Dog Ranch 
(found on Facebook)
I have pulled my thoughts together on the experience I had at the mill auction, writing it all down is cathartic for me and I want to share every detail of how the day went. This is long and I'm sorry about that but in order to understand how it all works I have to take the time to explain it, I hope you can understand after reading:

I have so many things to say about this experience that I had at the mill auction I’m not really sure where to start. I have sent Travis to two of them in the past but I knew that I had to go there myself this time, I have always had the ability to connect with animals and knowing that when you go to this kind of “event” you have to make choices, and it always reminds me of the film Schindlers List, where he had to choose who he could save. I knew that I had to choose dogs that spoke to me, not that I would forget all of the others but I was being forced to choose, so that’s what I would have to be strong enough to do.

As we approached the building that is literally out in the middle of nowhere, with little homes scattered here and there, and nothing else that is remarkable in anyway, we pulled into the parking lot to find a very large number of cars, much more than Travis had seen in the past, the weather was beautiful 70 degrees and sunny. We both felt the dread of what that could mean, more people equals more bidders, equals higher prices, equals, less lives saved.

We walked into the dirty building that is outlined outside with dirty rusty mill cages, dirty old dog houses, filthy old watering buckets, inside you find three sets of metal bleachers set up facing a stage with the auctioneers pedestal with all kinds of crap surrounding the whole front area, carpet tiles are a very big thing, now this doesn’t sound like anything relevant but once you understand these mill dogs and their behavior in many ways you realize that so much of it revolves around a “carpet tile” a square piece of carpet that is thrown into their cage that is in reality the only comfort that they might have, a square piece of carpet that is their bed, their only warmth, their sanctuary, their birthing place for their pups….that’s it a carpet tile, nothing else, that’s as good as it gets, that’s as soft as if gets, that’s as warm as it gets.

This may be a disgusting topic but I don’t care, this is a disgusting world so I want to share this, nearly every mill dog that I have taken care of eats their own poop, now think about that for a minute, if you live in a small cage and the only comfort you have is a carpet tile and you have to poop on it and nobody cleans it for you, how else can you make your little world better except to clean it yourself. It has taken me months to stop Loretta from eating her own poop and I know several of the other mill dogs have the same problem.

The reaction that you see from a mill dog when they get to lay on a blanket or a soft bed or warm towel makes you realize very quickly how the simple things that our dogs take for a granted on a daily basis are so wonderful for the mill dogs that have only had a “carpet tile”

We walk into the building and have to head to the counter to register as a buyer and we are assigned a number, the place is packed with people and this is the part that I feel like was one of the most disturbing things to me about this place, the entire crowd is filled with people that are there to have a good time, they are families that have brought their children, they look at this whole situation with such a carefree attitude, this crowd looked like any crowd that you would find watching a baseball game in America. I saw very few Amish, maybe 10 or 12 out of a crowd of over 100 people. 

Once we are assigned a number we are then allowed to go into the room where the dogs are, behind a closed door. There are signs posted everywhere that under no circumstance are you allowed to photograph anything, they like to say that it causes too many “problems” Yes, I believe that what they have to hide there is certainly a problem for me.

As you walk in the door the smell slams into your face, and permeates your body, your clothing and your mind. The floor is completely soaked in urine, every single inch of it, there are floor drains that run down the middle of it and someone comes by and squeegee’s all of the waste into the drains periodically. You need to watch your step because you are slipping around in urine and feces the entire time.

There are rows and rows of cages filled with all of the faces with a story to tell, if you only had the time to stop and listen. Each cage has one or two or three dogs crammed into it, crap is everywhere, these dogs didn’t even get a carpet tile, they had a piece of rubber floor mat in the corner that they could stand on. Most cages had large amounts of crap in them and they had no choice but to stand or lay right next to it. 

The first aisle I approached had the Italian Greyhounds in them, so many of them were clutching each other huddled in the corners of their cages, My eyes locked on one black and white one, she stared at me and beckoned me to come over. She sat so proud and tall in her cage with crap surrounding her, she was not about to lose her dignity and I went over to have a conversation with her. She immediately very gently stepped a bit closer to say hello. I reached my hand in and she gave me a gentle lick and I rubbed her face and she sat back up struggling to not step in the poop in her cage. I told her that I would get her out of there and that I would be back, #148

I walked and walked the aisles, stopping to look in to the cages of hundreds and hundreds of dogs, many of them would never look at you, shivering in fear, and many would beg for you to come over. The aisles were filled with people and it was nearly impossible to get to so many of them, so I would keep circling around and around. I have a catalog in my hand that has all of the dogs listed in it, that have been assigned a number and the auction would begin with number 1

As I would walk around trying to make my decisions, the number sequence began with the English Bulldogs, I walked and looked into each cage, some of them behaving aggressively towards each other with 2 in a cage that nobody would do anything about. Some of them it says in the catalog are pregnant and due in a few days, these dogs will be very expensive and for sure not in my budget. One of them had the most painful eyes, cloudy and half closed, she needed medical care but it was not likely that would happen. I walked by number 15 and there was a lovely English Bulldog in there that was just so dignified and sweet, I knew that she was one that I would choose, never pushed past the other dog in her cage but instead waited politely for a pat. I marked her number down on my catalog as one I would like to try and get. We then turned the corner and looked down the next row and in the middle of the aisle I layed my eyes on the sweetest face, I went over and said hello and she very gently turned her face to the left and pushed her cheek into the wire as hard as she could, I gave her a scratch and she then stood all the way up on her back legs, turned her whole body to the left and pushed the entire length of herself into the wire, I stood there for a while and talked with her, she was intently listening to everything I had to say. I told her that I was marking her down in the catalog and that I would be back for her, #20

I next moved through to the Frenchies, it was obvious that they were the biggest draw for this very casual crowd of people from who knows where, they hovered around all of the 8 week old puppies, 8 or 9 of them them all blue Piebalds, I knew that they would be so incredibly expensive that I didn’t even stop to look at them. I focused on the mama dogs, that was my objective, get the mama’s out. I walked around and around, several creams in a row that I stopped to look in at, their whole bodies shivering with terror, they looked like they were in pain from the amount of shivering that they had been doing and I knew that would continue for hours on end. I wanted to scream from the horror of it, and grab them all and rip them out of there, I constantly had to regroup and gather myself to focus. I stopped in to talk to a lovely shy girl, fawn with a white face, she stopped her shiver for a second and gave me a small lick on my hand. I whispered to her that I would be back and jotted down #77

I continued down each aisle and it was harder and harder to get close, I saw a cream frenchie, who picked up her eyes when I said hello to her and we spoke for a moment and I jotted down #73, a little ways down from her was a second fawn darker than the first, so nervous and so afraid but she was so pleased that I took the time to talk to her instead of poking and prodding her which others were doing. I told her that I would return as well, #79, right next to her was another cream that was so incredibly shut down, she was beyond afraid and was trying to make herself disappear, I stopped to talk to her but she was unable to turn her face or her eyes toward me, I spoke softly to her and I know she could hear me because her shiver would decrease but it was just too much for her to respond to my request to look over at me, I told her not to worry that I was going to do everything I could to change her life #68 

The next aisle I approached had a black and white pied that called me over, she was a friendly girl, gave me a wiggle, and a lick, I told her that she was on my list and that I would do my best #66 I had met a lovely cream girl that I spoke to and I calmed her for a little bit and told her that I would try my hardest to insure her freedom, her number was # 62 and I had her jotted down in my catalog. Next to her was another older fawn girl that was quiet but gentle and came over to lick my hand, I jotted her down #77

I walked down the rest of the aisles and was drawn over to one cage on the very end with a very quiet dignified obviously older Schnauzer sitting in there, she was all alone, her feet all stained dark red, she looked as if she had an old eye injury and I leaned in to say hello, she tipped her head down to me, I gave her a little gentle touch and she moved closer, I stroked her whole body and I could tell that it was the very first time in her whole life that a person had ever touched her gently, she melted and so did I. We talked for a while and I promised her that no matter what, she was coming with me #245 a

I walked around further with limited time before the auction was to begin, I went over and spoke to the Neapolitan Mastiff pups and felt so much pain that Gretchen wasn’t able to raise enough funds to try and save the 2 Neo pups that were here. I walked down the aisles that had the Maltese there, I had a little girl catches my eye, she was in a cage with 2 other girls and I said hello to all of them but she was the one that came over to wag her tail at me and give me kisses, she was precious and a very kind soul. I marked down her number and it was time for me to go.

Travis and I touched base with each of the women that we knew were there to rescue in order to work out our game plan in order to not bid against each other, we climbed into the bleachers and kept our eye on where the rescues were in the stands to be able to watch how and what they were bidding on.

The auction begins with selling all of the misc. mostly the garbage that is laying everywhere, dirty cages, dog houses, waterers, feeders, Greenies that are moldy but as the auctioneer points out “ they’re still good” I know in the past that they will sell pallets of expired dog food saying the same thing.

Then the time comes for the dogs, a group of 5 or 6 kids, some Amish some not come, out of the back with the first 5 or 6 dogs in numerical order and line them up on a table side by side facing the crowd. The Auctioneer will say the same thing with each group, this ones good, this ones pregnant, this ones in heat, this ones a good mom, this ones got cloudy eyes but the AKC inspector said that it was okay, this one is missing one eye, this one has a tumor, etc…etc….etc… One 6 month old English Bulldog pup came up with a cherry eye, the auctioneer announces that its no big deal, and tells us that there is a vet in the back that will cut it out for 5.00 bucks in the back after the auction, no anesthesia no pain med, he’ll just cut it out…What kind of vet is that???? I have to fight back my rage at this point and focus again, and the bidding begins…..

The auctioneer is loud over a microphone, with the rolling of his voice and of course the amount starts very high and keeps going down until he gets someone to raise their hand, for the life of me I don’t know why anyone raises their hand for any amount, I would make him start from zero for each and every dog but thats not what happens, and someone does and off he goes, once you get the winning bid that person gets to pick which dog out of the 5 or 6 that they want. If they want they can claim all of the dogs on the table as theirs for that price for everyone of them individually. If they choose just one then the remaining dogs are offered to anyone else wanting one for that winning price. If there are no takers the process starts all over again, and most of the times the winning bid is less, but not always..

They start with the English and in the blink of an eye the first English that I wrote in my catalog came up number 15, and she was out of my budget and I watched her be sold and whisked away never to know what her fate was.

The next round came up 5 more English Bulldogs including #20, the girl that was pushing herself into the wire cage begging me to touch her. We were not the highest bidder but they did not pick her, the bidding started again and the price continued to go down, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, the adrenaline is rushing, we did not win again, they did not choose her again….The bidding begins again with 3 girls up there but this time Travis wins, they ask us who we want and Travis shouts out #20……..That was it!!!! #20 was free, Edith now had a brand new life…. I was so overjoyed for her, I started to get tears, but I had to stop that….I watched them scoop her up off the table back to the back room, but I knew that I would get her.

They then started with the male Bulldogs, I had no intentions of getting any males so I never even looked at the male Bulldogs, the auction continued, table after table, but the table cleared and this baby boy was left and nobody was going to bid on him anymore, the auctioneer got frustrated and yelled out will anyone take him for 500 and Travis flipped his number up and he was ours #32 was now Archie and would come to the Ranch with us.

Once the English were finished the Frenchies came out, they started with the table full of the 8 week old blue pied puppies and the bids grew large, Jo Ellyn from Alabama Frenchie/Boston rescue was the highest bidder, she took them all and the crowd gasped all at the same time, no puppies were available to anyone else in the crowd again, she swooped in and took them all and they will never live in a mill. Period…

The first group of female Frenchies came up with 5 on the table, this had #62 on the table, one of the first cream girls that I jotted her number down, the bidding took off, fast and furious and the bids were high, I was terrified that if they all went for that much we wouldn’t be able to save enough, Travis was not the high bidder and the wining bid chose #62…..I looked at her face when they grabbed her off the table and her eyes were frozen in fear and I nearly lost it, I couldn’t save her and I was devastated…..I can’t be devastated….The auction continues fast and furious, no time to lose your composure, my whole body was shaking, and so was Trav’s adrenaline is rushing, fear, anger, apprehension, confusion, but you have to continue, it is happening in seconds, table after table we were then able to win two times, # 66 # 68 Tina Turner and the most incredibly frightened Mary Wilson were now safe. 
The next round begins, there is no break, no chance to regroup, no time to breathe, the table is full of girls again and the bidding is underway. Travis was not the high bidder but they didn't choose my pick on the table, the next time Travis did win and he selected #73 Aretha Franklin was safe, in the blink of an eye 5 more girls came up and the second round of bidding Travis won # 77 #78 Etta James and Martha Reeves were with us. The last table is loaded and Travis was the high bidder the 3rd time going and he grabbed #79 Miss Patti Labelle. 

Once the frenchies were through we had a moment to go outside and try and catch our breath, both of us were overcome with the many feelings that race through you.
You just want it to be over, I had met with Maggie of HazelJanes Italian Greyhound rescue that was there determined to get all of the 23 Italian Greyhounds, she was going to bid on all of them including my girl #148. They placed all 5 of them on the table, I was standing near the bleachers and #148 found me out there and locked her eyes on me, it was like we were the only ones in the room.
The Auctioneer is ready to begin, but announced first that 3 of them on the table are pregnant, nowhere in the catalog did it say that. They call out the numbers of which ones are pregnant and the first is #148 I am having a heart attack thinking of losing the baby Cowboys one after another, I'm seeing the tube feeding I think of very sick pups in my mind, I race to the other side of the building where Maggie is bidding to say....wait I can't raise another litter, but just as I got to Maggie I heard them yell SOLD and Maggie took the entire table, I ran up to her and she said, I got your girl, she's yours....yikes!!! #148 was mine, Rose.

We waited for all of the rest of the dogs to go, Chihuahuas, Shihtzu, King Charles, Bostons, Dachsunds, Poodles,etc. etc. then it was time for the Maltese to come up, the little girl I spoke to was up there and we were ready, she was the second to the oldest on the table and 2 others were pregnant so I was sure she would not be chosen, the bidding started, it went too high for us and the high bidder picked 2 of them and to my horror one of them was my little friend. I once again looked at her face as her eyes grew large and she was pulled away from me ever saving her. I simply could not believe it, I was devastated and felt horrible that I failed her. That little face will haunt me forever, until the end of time.

I went out to the car to sit in the quiet and try to find my sanity, Travis stayed inside while the Neo pup came up and he came out to the car to tell me that the big pup was so afraid that he wouldn’t even stand out there, he collapsed to the ground while the bidding for him was happening, Travis won him very quickly and came out to tell me. 

All that was left was waiting for my little Schnauzer that I had made the promise to, I had very little money left but I didn’t care, if I didn’t have enough I would pay for her with my personal credit card. I was haunted by the face of the cream Frenchie and the Maltese that I had failed. It wasn’t going to happen with this girl.

She came up on the table, standing very still with her head hanging down, she wouldn’t look up at the crowd peering at her and the bidding began, it started pretty low, she is after all 7, how much breeding life does she have left for these monsters anyway. She got up to about 380.00 and it started to trickle in 10.00 increments, Travis was relentless, but the other person was too. It didn’t matter when it got to 410.00 the other guy backed away, it seemed as if it took an eternity to hear him yell “sold” in my ear. # 245A was now known as Promise and I was elated that it was all over, and that I had in fact kept my promise to most. Travis told me that the two I lost will always be my scars, and I will never forget them. He has his scars from previous auctions and he recalls them vividly as well.

People ask me if I will go again, and the answer is yes, I have said it before and I’ll say it again, these mill dogs I honestly feel are my calling and I’m going to do what I can to change as many of their lives as I can. The laws need to be changed and I don’t know how to do that, so I will do what I know and that is to save their lives.

I hear the criticism, “you are just putting money into the mill owners hands, and it’s no different than buying puppies in a pet stores” 

This is my philosophy and nothing that anyone says will change my feelings about it. If the puppies in pet stores don’t sell, the store owners will lower the price, if they have to continue to put them on sale over and over again they will finally sell for a discounted price to some member of the public, but if there is no profit the pet store owner will not continue.

All dogs in the shelter have a small chance of being adopted, even it it is small there is a chance. These dogs in the mills have absolutely no chance of being rescued EVER, if they aren’t sold by the mill owners at these auctions to rescue they will absolutely never be rescued, when the mill owners don’t want a dog anymore and they can’t sell them, they either kill them, by shooting them, poisoning them with an overdose of worming medication or like Sir Frederick in East Texas they just throw them out the door to fend for themselves.

I will never feel guilty about buying these dogs, and I will continue to do, what I have to do, to save their lives.
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Tonya Feather

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RESCUE - PETS TRANSPORTATION RESOURCES 
http://www.freedomtraintransports.com/

P.E.T.S. LLC - Animal Rescue Road Trips
www.petsllc.net

Kindred Hearts Transport Connection :: Request for Transport
http://www.kindredheartstransportconnection.org/request-transport/

Forgotten Angels Rescue
http://www.farec.org/transport.htm

Rescue Transport and Lost/Found Dogs ... Paw Printz Pitbull Rescue is a growing network of dog http://pawprintzpitrescue.tripod.com/

ROADS OF HOPE -http://roadsofhope.org/
http://www.examiner.com/article/merry-christmas-from-roads-of-hope

nationwide animal transport link.. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Flying-B-Pet-Transportation-or-any-transportation-/144878448915671

MUST BE CHECKED- FIRST - http://gcbb.weebly.com/national-transport-links.html
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Best friend
http://bestfriends.org/Resources/Resources-for-Rescuers/Help-for-Individuals/Animal-Transport-Resources/_
___________________________________________       

http://www.lacroixtees.com/fb_directory/animal-rescue/index.php
Animal Rescue Facebook Directory
lacroixtees.com
__________________________________________

GREAT ANIMAL RESCUE or a GREAT SCAM? COMPLETE GUIDE.
Read more
http://petadvocatesnetwork.org/wordpress/2012/11/04/great-animal-rescue-or-great-scam-a-complete-guide-by-alison-hector/
____________________________

ARTICLE RESOURCES 
http://www.examiner.com/review/trains-planes-and-automobiles-transporting-pets-around-the-world?cid=db_articles
_______________________

FB Rescue Pages  Listed by State
http://www.advocateforsavingdogs.org/animalrescuesonfacebooklistedbystate.html

BAMBI'S RESCUE RESOURCES - SHELTER PULLERS, TRANSPORTERS, RESCUES, FOSTERS AND LOW/NO KILL SHELTERS
https://www.facebook.com/notes/kimberly-glasnapp/bambis-rescue-resources-shelter-pullers-transporters-rescues-fosters-and-lowno-k/468278633182590?hc_location=ufi

http://www.lacroixtees.com/fb_directory/animal-rescue/
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Australia’s oldest man, 109-year-old Alfie Date, knits little sweaters -- to help cold penguins after oil spills. >> http://kiro.tv/PenguinSweaters
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Approx. 5-7 MILLION companion animals enter shelters every year. Only 15-20% of stray dogs are found by their owners. Without a micro-chip, they may never find their way back home.

Here is a happy ending for one such dog, her reaction gave me happy tears...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7VO-CLfPdk
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 In the event you're in the Hospital or otherwise in trouble, people should know you have pets that need to be looked after. Print It --> Fill It --> Keep It. Share It.
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  • Advocate for Saving Dogs™
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Tonya Wolf Feather Spirit ~ Advocate for Saving Dogs™
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One person can not do everything, but everyone can do something. If we do not, who will?
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Tonya Wolf Blue Feather -A.K.A.- Advocate for Saving Dogs