Though Waldorf's breed is atypical, his origin - a puppy mill - is unfortunately not uncommon. Puppy mills, which the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals defines as dog breeders who place "profit over the well-being" of dogs, are large commercial facilities that have up to 1,000 breeding dogs at a time. Mother dogs are bred to exhaustion, the Humane Society says, and may be killed when they can no longer reproduce.
Puppy mills are a "huge problem in New York," Browne said. Up to 99 percent of dogs sold in stores, especially in Manhattan, she said, come from puppy mills.
These large-scale operations are not known for their careful breeding of healthy dogs. And Waldorf is, sadly, a sick puppy. On the NSALA website, veterinarian Gerard Laheney described the pup's problems: a severe heart murmur, a hole between his heart's left and right ventricles, narrowed heart valves and "a hole in the diaphragm where organs from the abdomen slip through, and rest in the chest," Laheney said. "In Waldorf's case, his liver was found lying next to his heart."