There is arguably nothing more irresistible than the face of a sweet puppy in a store window. With their soft, fuzzy fur and big shining eyes, how could you not want to just scoop one up and cuddle them forever? As animals lovers, we would like nothing more than to see a world where all of the puppies in store windows get adopted into loving homes and leave their sad days pining over a warm bed behind.

But what if we told you that by purchasing one of those puppies, you were supporting the suffering of thousands of dogs every year. Yes, it does sound extreme, but unfortunately, that is the reality. How, you might ask? Well, a majority of the dogs in pet store windows are the product of puppy mills.

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Puppy mills are large-scale breeding facilities where dogs are treated like puppy-making machines. The breeding dogs in these facilities will never know anything but a rusty cage for their entire lives, if they are lucky they will have access to fresh water and food on a few occasions in their lives. Unlike other dogs, puppy mill dogs grow to fear humans because they only associate them with their abusive and cruel owners. The most tragic part about this entire industry is the fact that the profits from the sale of puppies go right back towards the further abuse of their parents.

So the next time you see a puppy in the window of a pet shop, it would be more apt to envision this:

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This little sweety  was recently saved from a Midwestern puppy mill thanks to the heroes at National Mill Dog Rescue. This amazing organization works to rescue and rehabilitate puppy mill dogs, and as you can see from this image, some of the pups they rescue are in pretty horrible condition when they find them.

Luckily, this pup is on her way to a better life in the able hands of rescue workers and she is set to join 100 other recently liberated dogs on their journey to forever homes.

We can all help protect dogs from puppy mill cruelty by refusing to purchase dogs from pet stores. With over six to eight million perfectly adoptable animals being brought into animal shelters every year, there are plenty of pups looking for forever homes! So please remember, always adopt, don’t shop!

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To help National Mill Dog Rescue care for this dog and many others, click here.