February 19, 2002 is going to be a special day for me and really...to all of us involved in Small Paws® Rescue. You see, four years ago on February 19, 1998, a very special little Bichon puppy was born, in one of the worst puppy mills of Missouri.
That Bichon puppy would grow up to be the one known as Chipper the Tall, my very first Bichon baby.
Chipper's Story of Survival from a Puppy Mill

Back then, (it seems like it all happened in another lifetime) I did not know anything about puppy mills, other than what I had heard in far off, distant conversations. They didn't affect me. Puppy mills were like cancer...something that always happens to someone else...not to you or me.
I had done some research about Bichons on the Internet, during the last few weeks of my beloved Nicholas' life, when I did not leave him. This time of study, would become invaluable and well worth it in the end.
Canine Lymphoma: Nicholas' Story

I was convinced that God wanted me to have a Bichon. The other breeds that briefly entered my mind were the Wheaten Terrier and the Bedlington Terrier. These breeds were my idea. God's idea was still for the Bichon.:) Think He knew best? (g*)
I found an ad on the Internet on Yahoo, for an AKC registered 12 week old Male Bichon for $75.00. (WOO-WOO...at this time I thought that AKC registered actually meant something important...now I know that every puppy mill rescue we have gotten in, has AKC papers. It is only a registry...you send your money and you get the papers back.)
Little did I know that this ad would lead me into an underground world of misery, pain, unimaginable suffering and despair. A world where my life would end up being threatened by a commercial kennel owner at a Puppy Mill auction. A world of seeing the very worst in people...and the very best in people. (You guys!) Little did I know my world was about to be changed forever, in a way I could have never possibly imagined. Like the song says, "I was walking along, minding my business, when out of an orange colored sky...wham bam allakazam....."
After I got my baby Chipper back home, I went to work on the Internet. I used my recent grief for my Nicholas, and turned it into anger...enough anger to get me started on a path which would change the entire course of my life, as I knew it...and the lives of hundreds of other people, too.
I learned about the Commercial Kennel industry in America, thanks in part to the Nopuppymill.com site.

I found out about how the USDA inspections worked, and why even the very worst of the worst of mills are allowed to operate today. It is because the laws in Missouri have been purposely made to be so lax...that dog farmers are coming there from every state in the union, to retire and "raise us some dogs".
I learned that some of the people involved in making the laws...are either DOG FARMERS, or married to DOG FARMERS themselves!
My eyes have been opened so wide, and now I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt...why so many things have happened to me. I know why I lost my precious Nicholas to cancer...why I answered an Internet ad and ended up on the steps of a puppy mill in Webb City, Missouri, and why I was rejected by the other Bichon Rescue organization to be a volunteer for them.
Susan Sebring, my rescue partner from Topeka, Kansas, and I, were both rejected to be volunteers. I now know why.
Susan and I were supposed to found Small Paws Rescue...to take care of all the Bichons and Bichon mixes who fell through the cracks of the other rescues. The old, (over age 6 was considered to be old, and these dogs would have "age related illnesses") the sick, the critically ill, and the injured...and most of all, the Bichons who through no fault of their own are doomed to live their lives in wire bottom cages, never being touched, never being loved...only being used for profit, so that a member of my species can claim their "God given" right to "Make a livin' off a animals...it's the way God meant it to be." Yes, I have actually heard these words from a commercial kennel owners mouth.
Dogs are property. Dogs are income. Dogs are "none of yer d*nm business, and I'll do what I want with my property."
Well sir, let me tell you...I have learned alot. I have learned that I am going to make it my business, and the business of anyone and everyone within the sound of my voice, or the reach of my e-mail. I have learned that thousands of people across this great country of ours, support the idea of rescuing every single Bichon and Bichon mix in need. Not just the young. Not just the healthy. Not just the purebred. Every single one.
And, proudly, that is just what we are doing. Not one Bichon or Bichon mix, that we have been told about, has fallen through the cracks, in a shelter. We have miraculously managed to catch each and every one of them. Can I explain this? No. This is one of the reasons we know...this is a God thing. Mere human beings would not be able to accomplish such a task. This success is due to Something that is Most supernatural. And yes, we know it.:)
God has sent us the best of the best to help us realize our dream of rescuing every single Bichon and Bichon mix in need.
Small Paws® Rescue: Meet Our Staff
I am going to continue to sing it from the highest rooftops, so that every single person who sees our website...every single person who hears my voice, every single person who watches the episode of Animal Planet will know....we have a dirty little secret here in America. It is going on all across our country and there is ONE thing that will stop it, and only one thing.
When the public ceases to buy their pets from Pet Shops...the commercial pet industry has no customer. It is as plain and simple as that.
We since have gotten Chipper's Daddy into rescue. I continue to search for his mother...and I will until I find her, or find out she has crossed the bridge.
So, it is with great satisfaction in knowing what we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing, that I happily wish my baby Chipper, the beginning of Bichon rescue and Puppy Mill awareness for me, a very happy fourth birthday! His Dad and I are going to take he and his brothers out for a burger, and a fry or two.:)

One other enormous truth has come to light in the past few years, for me. All of the hundreds of thousands of precious and loving dogs and cats who have been euthanized in shelters and pounds...simply for the crime of being unwanted, all have one thing in common. Neither their mother....or their father...was spayed or neutered.