AROUND TOWN: National Mill Dog Rescue expands with a site in Midwest puppy mill country | Lifestyle | Barky Supplies Expert Tips

AROUND TOWN: National Mill Dog Rescue expands with a site in Midwest puppy mill country | Lifestyle

It started with rescuing one abused little breeding-stock English greyhound, Lily, in 2007.

Since that first rescue to more than 19,500 dogs rescued as of this month, “this is me watching our dream come true,” National Mill Dog Rescue founder and rescue coordinator Theresa Strader told supporters at the annual fundraising Wine & Wags Masquerade Gala.

Strader had shared the NMDR story during the festive evening at the Double Tree Colorado Springs on Sept. 30. At daybreak just hours later on Oct. 1, a rescue team was leaving their facility on the plains near Peyton for Missouri to pick up what could be almost 200 more dogs.

In the early days, dogs were killed by breeders as quickly as their usefulness was over. Over time, Strader convinced them to alert NMDR to come get the worn-out breeding dogs that had spent their lives inside often filthy, rusty cages, not even knowing what it was to run outside in the grass. Just having litter after litter.

The Peyton facility, frequently running at capacity, has trained volunteers to help the dogs learn to be dogs, playing with doggie toys, curling up on blankets and doing zoomies outdoors. It’s the mission to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome, leading to the dogs being adopted.

And they are increasingly busy. “Animal rescue is in a really bad place now,” Strader said. “We have rescued twice the amount of dogs we have ever rescued before,” she said.

During the gala’s program, she introduced supporters to the NMDR expansion area via video. They have renovated a lovely property with a large contemporary horse barn-turned-temporary-kennels near a small town in southern Missouri, one of the country’s largest puppy mill areas. The property was a one-time gift from donors and money was raised for renovations.

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Now, instead of driving the dogs from the Midwest to Peyton, NMDR can work together with partner rescue groups from around the country, especially those from the East, right where dogs can be picked up.

From the Oct. 1 rescue, 41 dogs came to Peyton and 155 others were rescued by five partner groups and one air flight. There were “boxers, Bichons, Maltese, German shepherds, cocker spaniels and huskies.”

This year, the airplane pilot has flown 500 dogs out of Springfield, Mo., to other destinations for rehab and their first real homes.

Several of the dogs that were stars of the Wine & Wags Gala cocktail reception had been part of a Sept. 26 Canines and Coutures fashion show fundraiser on a lake in Evergreen. They wore outfits with fabric matching the fashion models’ outfits.

“Our reach is growing so far so fast,” Strader said. With tears, she assured those at the Colorado Springs gala that even with the expansion, “this is our home. This is our dream.” (

Special guests at a front gala table were Rhonda Schademann and Joy Neely from Kansas. Before the new site, which has bedrooms for rests during rescue trips, the women had opened farms for teams from Peyton to sleep before the final return drive in filled vans west to Colorado and National Mill Dog Rescue.

Closing the evening there were tears during a video of the local rescuers showing the awful conditions for the dogs in the mills. It was set to the heart-grabbing music of singer Lauren Daigle, “I hear your SOS, your SOS. I will send out an army. I will rescue you.”

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