My beautiful Pomeranian, Amber, lived four years in a gutted school bus parked about 15 minutes west of Sooke.
In August 2007, I answered an ad for a shitzu. I wasn’t given an address, just directions to reach an out-of-the-way acreage past Otter Point. The 70-year-old lady wanted to sell a four-year-old male but he was too aggressive towards my standard poodle. I always was a snoop and asked to go onto the bus where wire cages were stacked two high on both sides of the bus where seats had been removed. I estimated there were 17 dogs in there. Outside I crossed over old wood, gravel and abandoned cars towards the barking I could hear at the back. In a three-foot diameter pen there was Amber, with no hair, paired up with another Pom male. Beside them were two more pens with a shitzu pair and chihuahua pair.
I know that these puppy mill breeders sell cross breeds cheaper than registered breeders but Amber was already deaf, had pulled out all her hair and had a skin bacteria that I still treat. Because she looked so bad the lady gave her to me. Maybe she hoped I would keep quiet.
I was making mental notes before I called the SPCA. They closed her down the next day. My friend Kathy told me just this month that she had bought a shitzu from the bus lady and her shitzu was in and out of the vets his entire six years. He passed away this May. We just realized that our pets had the same rocky start.
Please keep these people out of business; find a reputable breeder, ask for references, and stay alert for clandestine puppy mills. You are the only voice these poor animals have.