Q & A: Amazing Gracie
A journalist tracks a rescued puppy mill dog, exposing the breeding industry along the way
How do you put a face on the immense suffering caused by puppy mills—the thousands of commercial dog-breeding operations that produce and sell millions of puppies each year—for unsuspecting people who have no idea of the cruel conditions in which these animals are raised?
In Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills, Carol Bradley met that challenge by describing the journey of one Cavalier King Charles spaniel rescued from years living in a cage as a breeding dog.
The dog who would become Gracie—she was initially known only as “No. 132”—was one of 337 puppies and breeding dogs rescued in a 2006 raid on Mike-Mar Kennel in Lower Oxford, Pa., by the Chester County SPCA and local law enforcement. The partners who operated the kennel were found guilty of multiple counts of animal cruelty and fined, and their operation was shut down. Bradley recounts the raid, the ensuing legal wrangling, and the happy ending for Gracie, who found her way to a loving owner and slowly transformed from a terrified creature who didn’t know how to interact with humans into a cherished pet.