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Pixie, The Story of a Mill Auction Dog


The trip was long and allowed her to finally fall asleep next to some treats that she was unsure of. Her first night of freedom was spent in Mukwonago, and the next day she was taken to Racine. Pixie’s next new experience was a complete grooming, a bath to wash away the stink from her former life, a haircut to make her look like the Poodle she was meant to be. On March 16, 2009, she was given complete veterinary care. She received a dental cleaning and all of her shots and was spayed. She left the hospital on March 18 to go to her foster home in New Berlin, Wisc. This was a big adjustment for Pixie. A change from nearly four years in a cold barn to being pampered and loved is not an easy undertaking for such a small being.

Pixie’s Final Journey
Pixie’s new life and surroundings were very puzzling to her and when the chance presented itself she darted from her foster home and was reported lost on Thursday evening, March 18, 2009. Fliers with Pixie’s picture were immediately printed and distributed throughout the area. Automatic “area blanket” calls were placed to 500 homes. Volunteers and neighbors continued the search for four days and nights. The Elmbrook Wisconsin Humane Society provided a cage trap, which was set near an earlier Pixie sighting.

At dusk on the evening of Sunday, March 22, Pixie’s body was found a few feet from a busy New Berlin walking path, only a block or two from her foster home. Her eyes were still open although her body was still. I happened to be in the area, when I saw one of the fellow searchers walking towards the road with Pixie wrapped in her jacket. My immediate reaction was joy and celebration. But I could tell by the look in the rescuer’s face that the news was bad; my stomach sank like it never had before and the tears couldn’t be held back. Pixie was rushed to an emergency facility but the effort was in vain.

Pixie, #80, #0695885-001, who had won the lottery by not having to return to a puppy mill, left us for a journey to her final resting place.

The emotional imprinting the life in a puppy mill gave Pixie cost her life. Pixie died only an arm’s length from a busy walking path, used by many local dog walkers. All Pixie needed to do was say hi and she would have immediately been ushered to safety. Instead, Pixie’s lack of understanding about friendly hands, soft voices and love, prevented her from being rescued.

Mary Palmer, Pixie’s auction rescuer put it best: “She will never be forgotten, although only with us for a very short period of time, she was loved. Those blackberry eyes will remain forever embedded in our hearts.” 

Amen to that.

A Lesson From Pixie
The message left for us in Pixie’s story is that of the emotional damage puppy mills imprint on their captives. It’s a triple jeopardy scenario for the puppy mill populations. 1) Dogs that stay there never get socialized and for that reason are difficult to “save.” 2) The pups that are born there leave their mothers at too young an age and miss their moms’ finishing school lessons and in turn become behavior problems for their adopters. And, of course, 3) puppy mill dogs are treated inhumanely. Again, further testimony as to why Wisconsin needed a law in place to monitor and control this cancerous industry. Wisconsin Act 90 is doing that, and is now being used as a benchmark piece of legislation in neighboring states’ dog advocates who are striving to free their “prisoners of greed.”



Frank Schemberger has been involved with the advocacy for stricter State and Federal puppy mill laws and inspections, and also participated in getting WI Act 90 (commercial dog breeders law) adopted in Wisconsin. He attended the protests at the now-defunct Horst Stable dog auctions in Thorp, infiltrated puppy mills across the state, saw the suffering, smelled the stench, found the dead, gained a better perspective of the cruel puppy mill industry and wrote the following story about one of its victims. This story also appeared in Fetch Magazine in Wisconsin. docs.legis.wisconsin.gov

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