A reader told me she didn’t like the Amish because they ran puppy mills…out in Ohio somewhere. She was sincere, a lover of boxers and pugs. I also am a dog lover so when I go up to Smicksburg, Troutville or Volant to Amish farms, I notice dogs. They all seem well fed to me and well, pacifists, like their owners. Not a one has scared me, making me not get out of the car for fear of an attack.
Back to the question. I paid good money years ago for a little silk terrier from a puppy mill run by Englishers, non-Amish. The place was pitiful and reported. The place was filthy and housed 50 plus dogs. It was appalling. I literally shook as I talked to the owner, paid for Penny, and got her out of there. As I left, the roar of the dogs was deafening. “Help me,” they seemed to say. “Take me too.”
I've never had this experience in all the Amish communities I've visited, which have been many. Living in rural Pennsylvania, I have suspicions about a few people, non-Amish. I've reported, but folks are given a warning before inspection. If the animals are in semi-clean condition, fed etc. they don’t rescue the dogs.
It’s so frustrating; I have rescue dogs in my Amish Knitting Circle Series, especially Amish Knit Lit Circle. Granny takes in a Pomeranian, (as we did…I use my dog’s real name…Beatrix Potter;) Another dog is rescued and is given to a woman in the circle dealing with depression, and Angel, the little black dog, is the only one Mona can talk to, bringing her healing.
I always say I write from facts, and yes, the Amish I know do care for all creatures great and small. They breed hunting dogs in the Smicksburg area, and sell them dirt cheap, mostly to other Amish. They also have dogs that help shepherd, especially Australian Shepherds. These dogs are made to herd, and we rescued one that did just that. Ran. Ran away from us so often, the best place for Leah was Amish country. I trusted the Amish to take care of my dog, giving her up. I also had a cat that went haywire on us and needed to be an outside cat. I took him up to Lydia’s, crying as I entered her house full of Amish women seated around a quilt frame. They were all sympathetic, saying how hard it was to give up an animal. Lydia’s dad even took me to the barn where my cat would receive “fresh cream from the cows” twice a day.
I just got done reading a book about a man who left the Amish. It was so stereotypical, making them all mean as spit. I don’t understand this. It’s like saying all Italians talk with their hands and all Irish have bad tempers. Haven’t we outgrown these stereotypes? Prejudices?
I do appreciate people concerned about puppy mills, but this pigeonholing all Amish as animal abusers, or not attached to animals since they’re not humans, really needs to end. So does the myth that Amish kill virgin forests, but that’s for another post.
|Amish Knit Lit Circle, an 8 part serial, will soon be compiled into a novel. Notice the dog & cat on the cover?|
In the series, they are rescued and adopted by Amish and Englishers.