Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Rare Breed of Love (copy)

Baby doesn’t speak. Instead she looks at you with haunting black eyes and the question on her lips expresses, “Will you love me and treat me special?”

Baby is a 15-year-old poodle that spent her first nine years of life as a breeder in a puppy mill at an undisclosed location in California. Her known story begins with a woman, book refers to her as “Drive-by Angel,” driving the country roads and spotting a “Puppies for Sale” sign. When Drive-by Angel pulled into the idyllic setting she remembered being excited by the type of puppies she might find.

She could feel something awry after the home owner refused her entrance into the house, but insisted she bring the puppies out to a pen in the yard. These were no puppies, but Drive-by Angel played along. Her heart ached as the dogs vied for her attention, but all she saw was matted-down filthy, malnourished animals.

The gig was up and the woman said matter-of-factly, “They’re too old to produce. I’m going to put them down. You can have any of them for two hundred dollars.” Drive-by Angel decided the little white poodle with 94 tattooed inside her ear—an indication of birth and expiration date—deserved a new home.

During her first days in the new home, Drive-by Angel gave her the name Baby. She explains, “When I brought her home, everything was a first for her. Grass. Toys. Furniture. My kids said, ‘She doesn’t know about anything, just like a baby.’”

Within two days of being in the new home, Baby jumped off the sofa and shattered her left leg. Osteoporosis is a common problem with breeder dogs because the puppies require most of the calcium produced by the breeder, and being in a puppy mill most dogs are deprived of sunlight, exercise and proper nutrition. Her bones were too brittle to repair and her leg was amputated. The vet also informed the family that Baby’s vocal chords were severed and this is why she didn’t make a noise when hurt.

Readers will encounter Baby’s story within the first chapter of Dr. Jana Kohl’s A Rare Breed of Love. The rest of the book is Baby’s encounter with the rich and famous in order to change our archaic animal laws. Seeing her portrait with the likes of President Barack Obama, Judge Judy, Elizabeth Dole, Paul Harvey, Todd Oldham, Amy Sedaris, etc., one will recognize her as the perfect “spokesdog.”

Visit with Baby here.