A western Quebec woman who took in 14 dogs from a closed Quebec puppy mill says each one suffered from severe physical and mental conditions.
France Turcotte runs Valley Boxer & Mastiff Rescue in Masham, Que, about 50 km northwest of Ottawa.
She has spent the last two months using intensive rehabilitation on 14 of the almost 600 puppies previously rescued from the Paws-R-Us breeding kennel, located near Shawville, Que., in mid-September.
Turcotte said many of the dogs were shut-ins at the kennel and went through serious trauma.
"We went individually and assessed every dog's situation and, one by one, we worked on them individually to address the different issues they have," she said.
"Basically, they had never been pet, never been touched, never been walked on a leash, never felt the wind on their face, never felt raindrops, snowflakes. Everything was new," she said.
Many puppy mill dogs had trouble walking
Turcotte added many of the dogs had not walked long distances or had any experience with heights. Many, she said, stumbled when they first tried to walk.
For each dog, Turcotte said the rehabilitation meant treating him or her like they were just born. It has likely involved even more work, she said, as many were traumatized from their experience.
One case involved a puppy named Bear who could only sleep standing up.
"It took us a few days to realize he was actually sleeping. I thought he wasn't, but he was actually standing up sleeping," she said.
Many of the dogs are making progress, though, and half should be adopted after the holiday season.
In early December 14 of the puppy mill's dogs were swiftly adopted at an Ottawa pet store.