Susie-Belle Schnauzer has been living in freedom for three years and during this time has undergone a remarkable transformation from a timid, hurt, damaged soul to the loving, gentle, peaceful being that she now most certainly is. For years she was confined in prison-like conditions in a puppy farm also called a "puppy mill," battery or factory farm. Her existence was solely so that her captors could make easy money by breeding her to within a shadow of death, selling her puppies to satisfy the modern demand for cheap, popular, fashionable puppies. While the offspring of her abused body lined the pockets of the people who saw her as a commodity, her mind suffered agonies of loneliness and fear but her spirit stayed strong and awaited the day she might be free.
It is her deep, inner spiritual strength that we see shine brightly now as we live our lives together, which we talk publicly about in order to help others to see what suffering lies behind the mass commercial scale of puppy breeding. And why it must end. Susie-Belle's journey through life has been a hard one, tougher than most humans could bear to think about, but far from remaining imprisoned by her past she has allowed herself to be coaxed, cuddled and loved into her new life, one she now enjoys fully as a free, very much loved dog, not a commodity, not a thing to make money from.
We have been very keen to offer Susie-Belle many good experiences. These excerpts, taken from the book "Saving Susie-Belle: Rescued from the Horrors of a Puppy Farm, One Dog's Uplifting True Story" give a taste of Susie-Belle's journey:
"When Susie-Belle first arrived at her foster mum's she had never walked on a lead and most likely had never been outside in the open air for any length of time. Dogs in commercial breeding places are often kept indoors their entire lives and even those with access to the outdoors are kept confined to cages or kennels, frequently with no protection from the elements. With no shelter from wind, rain and cold, or the heat of the sun, they live in misery and it's hard to imagine what is worse: being kept indoors in narrow concrete pens never seeing the sun, or in cages stacked several high, exposed to the harshness of the outdoor environment."
- Chapter 24 "An early sign we did spot of Susie-Belle openly starting to feel comfortable in the home was in her eagerness to participate when we were preparing meals. As soon as activity in the kitchen began she became noticeably engaged and keen to take part in the process. It wasn't long before we could predict that within seconds of going into the kitchen around dinner-time, we would find Susie-Belle either sitting or standing in the kitchen, watching what was going on.
It was a stroke of good fortune for Susie-Belle that she landed in the home of a professional chef, who, contrary to what many often assume, loves nothing more than cooking for us at home after his day in the kitchen at work. There is always culinary activity in our house to entertain Susie-Belle and keep her mentally engaged. In the early days with us, she showed real enjoyment when it came to her gourmet life. Whereas most of the time she appeared content to stay quietly tucked out of the way seemingly lost in her own thoughts, when food was around we saw a side to her that brought her fully into our world."
- Chapter 11 "With autumn fast approaching we wanted to continue the momentum of Susie-Belle's programme of new experiences, so we took her down to the beach for the first time for what would be my last sea swim of the year.
This was almost certainly Susie-Belle's first ever experience of the seaside and she stood at my feet, lifting her face to take in the flood of tastes and smells of the seaside as they whipped themselves around her in what was a much cooler and stronger wind than I had hoped for when we left home that morning.
Much of my enjoyment from outdoor swimming comes from the sheer release of tension it brings and the primal sense of freedom I feel whilst swimming. Nothing worries me when I'm swimming, any stresses I might drag with me into the water don't survive the immersion and I come out refreshed in body and mind. Coming up for air and looking back at Susie-Belle standing on the shingle with her characteristic hunched, tight, tense stance, I wondered when, if ever she had felt such a feeling of being free as I did in that moment. As canine researchers now know that a deep level of emotional interplay exists between dogs and their human companions, I felt there was a chance that in some way, Susie-Belle's emotional response to her day at the beach would be positively enriched by my evident enjoyment of a cold, rough sea swim. If I had thought she would enjoy swimming with me that day, I would have gladly taken her paw and led her into the sea alongside me, but she was no water-loving Labrador and showed no inclination to come close to the water's edge. However, I was determined one day to find out what she would enjoy and to discover the key to unlocking her from the anxiety and tensions she was currently imprisoned by. As I dived again below the chilly water, a dream of Susie-Belle one day living freely without fear or tension, unshackled from the memories of her past abuse, accompanied me as I swam back to shore".
- Chapter 8 Excerpts from Saving Susie-Belle by Janetta Harvey © 2014 the author. Published by John Blake Publishing Ltd.
We campaign vigorously to raise awareness of what goes on in commercial scale puppy breeding, and do all we can to bring an end to the suffering of dogs like Susie-Belle. We support others around the world who recognise the urgency of this campaign and welcome contact with people who wish to see an end to breeding dogs for profit.
Our campaigning efforts and Susie-Belle's life with us can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and our Blog