Critically Ill ‘Puppy Mill’ Dog on the Mend after Surgery

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An adorable 9-week-old puppy who was bought online and shipped from Missouri to Massachusetts by truck arrived in the state so ill he required emergency veterinary intervention at the MSPCA-Angell, the organization announced today. Now the pup, named “Nelson,” is on the mend and will be placed for adoption after he recovers.

The Shar Pei-Pug was brought by his former owner to the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center Monday, Dec. 7, suffering from lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Nelson had been in Massachusetts for only a week, having endured the 20-hour trip from Missouri in a small cage to reach the state. It turned out Nelson’s intestines were entangled; Angell surgeons had to remove a large portion, repositioning and reinserting them into his tiny abdomen.

Alyssa Krieger, manager of the MSPCA’s animal care and adoption center, settled the puppy into the shelter after the owner surrendered him. “Thankfully, Nelson arrived in our care just in time, as he would have died without emergency surgery, which would have been doubly tragic given everything he’d already endured,” she said.

Nelson will be placed in foster care for two weeks, to continue recovering from surgery before he can be placed into a new home.

Puppy Buyers Beware

Nelson’s plight spotlights the dangers of “online-only” pet sales, in which buyers are not able to visit the breeder to inspect conditions or meet dogs before purchasing. “This was a classic puppy mill situation, and it’s not surprising to us that Nelson was so sick. He was likely critically ill before he was even transported to Massachusetts,” Krieger said.

“We encourage everyone to please adopt, versus buying a new pet, but at the very least buyers should be able to inspect a breeder’s property to see firsthand how the animals are raised and treated before buying,” Krieger added.

Nelson’s surgery and hospitalization cost nearly $4,000 and was paid for via the Alison Irving Fund, which was established in memory of a former MSPCA-Angell employee and enables the organization to treat thousands of animals every year before they are placed for adoption.

The Road Ahead
Nelson will be ready for adoption around Christmastime. Readers interested in adopting can email for more information.