April 20, 2001 Rockford, Michigan, USA

Winston didn’t quite make it around the world, but he did make it across five Michigan counties and a few frozen lakes.

Last month, the 11-year-old Sheltie was dropped off at the pet-sitter’s house in Rockford.  His owners then left for a planned 10-day trip to the Southeast.

Barely an hour or two later, Winston apparently decided that he wanted to go with them; he pushed open a back door, launched himself over the deck railing, and made his escape. 

Pet-sitter Kathy Burch recalls getting there just in time to see the 35-pound dog’s hind-end vanish into the distance.

Ms. Burch of Lakeside Pet Sitters had never lost a pet before.  After combing the area for four hours by herself, she organized a search.

The next few days resembled a sort of massive dragnet operation.  More than a hundred people in half a dozen counties—mostly total strangers—joined forces in passing out flyers, investigating “Winston sightings”, driving through the countryside and even taking the search airborne, as one couple did in their private plane.

Meanwhile, Winston’s family cut their trip short and returned to Rockford to join in the effort.

“What an amazing thing that people would take all of this time to come out and do this,” said owner Chris Beaudoin.

“It says a great deal about the quality of this community and the people, that they would do so much to help someone they don’t know.”
For three weeks, the dog meandered across the state of Michigan, through cornfields, along country roads and over frozen lakes, according to the eyewitness reports that were called in from various checkpoints along Winston’s trek.

Finally, last Sunday, a thunderstorm blew in, and Winston (now in Freeland, MI) decided to come in out of the rain.  It just so happened that the door he scratched on belonged to a family who had seen the fliers.

They notified the search crews, and after one long drive up Interstate-46, Mr. Beaudoin arrived on the scene and collected the little runaway.  The pooch had lost about 10 pounds and was sporting some pretty impressive dreadlocks, but otherwise he was just fine.

Since then, Winston’s family has been “feeding him hamburger and rice in bed.”

Article courtsey of Dogs in the News

Puppy mills are nothing new, but they continue to be a problem because unsuspecting consumers keep buying those adorable puppies in the pet store window, on some slick Internet site, or even through an ad in the trusted local newspaper.

But behind the friendly facade of these pet shops, web sites, and newspaper ads, there often lies a puppy mill. These canine breeding facilities frequently house dogs in shockingly poor conditions, particularly for “breeding stock” animals who are caged and continually bred for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family. The bitches are bred at every cycle. Many are never vaccinated. The pups never get the all- important early socialization from dam and litter mates — they are taken away too young so they can be shipped cross-country and placed in pet shop windows or commercial kennels at their most appealing age. Many of these have problems (physical, temperamental or both) that will show up only later in life. Most will bear only a passing resemblance to the best representatives of the breed.

After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are commonly killed, abandoned or sold to another mill. The annual result of all this breeding is hundreds of thousands of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems.

The puppies will be shipped cross country by truck to be sold in pet shops, but many are also sold via newspaper classifieds or Internet sites — and are often accompanied by false claims such as, “We’d never sell puppies from a puppy mill.”

Even if you luck out and get a puppy mill pup that is healthy and adjusts well, you will have contributed to the cycle of abuse that condemns their parents to a life of suffering.  Please do your homework before bringing a new puppy into your life.

Learn more at: STOP PUPPY MILLS  and Where can I get a Sheltie?

Back to: Sheltie Puppies


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