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Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  987 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
A compelling true story of one dog's rescue from a Pennsylvania puppy mill

This touching narrative uses the poignant makeover of Gracie, a sickly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, to tell the story of America's hidden puppy mills-commercial kennels that breed dogs in horrific living conditions and churn out often-diseased and emotionally damaged puppies for sale.

Saving Gracie

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Howell Book House (first published April 1st 2001)
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Despicable. Puppy mills, their owners and the people who abuse these animals for their greedy gains. Theses a story about the beginning of the Anti puppy mill movement in Pennsylvania and how it moved to other states.
I picked this book up when I saw it was about a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescue. I have two CKCS rescues and wanted to connect with the story around my dogs. The CKCS dog is only a small part in the story. It is a very heartbreaking and heart warming story but a very small p
Apr 09, 2013 Blanche rated it it was amazing
I give this book 5 stars, not because it is a great work of literature. I usually reserve 5 stars for those. This book puts a face on puppy mills in a way that humane societies and animal rescue groups do not have time for. It is a great piece of journalism. I especially recommend this book to people who have heard of puppy mills, but have not been informed of the details. I already am involved in contributing to the cause. I didn't need the book but wanted to read it. In 1996 I bought a pet sto ...more
Mar 04, 2010 Diane rated it it was amazing
(possible spoilers)

I knew this book would not be an easy read, but I just had to read it. Just 2 weeks ago a family member rescued a four year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, like Gracie, from a Georgia puppy mill. This dog is the sweetest little lap dog ever, but everything is foreign to him: his bed, toys, leash, grass, the sound of cars, birds -- all of these things are new to a puppy mill dog.

Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills, is not all about o
Eva Leger
Mar 27, 2010 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any animal lover and anyone who may buy another animal
Recommended to Eva by: library
I hate waiting to review a book because I'm bound to forget certain things but here goes and I only finished this yesterday so maybe I will remember all I wanted to say.
This first thing is I actually met a Cavalier King Charles from deplorable Mike-Mar kennel that is no longer in business thanks to a lot of local heroes. Yesterday I went to the vets office to get my dog his pills and saw the beautiful little dog. I'd have went over anyway because I love all dogs but since I was currently reading
Mar 26, 2010 Peacegal rated it really liked it
Saving Gracie is an examination of the infamous but secretive world of the mass breeding facilities known as "puppy mills," through the stories of one group of rescued Spaniels.

Wisely, the author frames the Spaniels' story in a much wider scope by concurrently documenting legislators' efforts to rein in the out-of-control puppy breeding business in the state of Pennsylvania. I found this element more intriguing than the chapters documenting the dogs' struggles with housetraining, walks, and oth
Sep 06, 2011 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own
I have fallen in love with Gracie, with her rescuers, her new owner and this book!!

I have known of the plight of puppy mill dogs for years (I bought one myself without realizing till too late that he had and will always have temperement issues) and do what I can by donating money to groups who do rescues, wish I could do more, especially after reading this book. It will spur you on to want to do all you can, esecially if you are an animal lover. It reminds me of hoarding but they are hoarding l
Jun 03, 2010 Karla rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone considering buying a puppy or a dog lover in general.
Recommended to Karla by: Berks County ARL Website
I would highly recommend this book to anybody who is considering buying a dog instead of adopting one from a shelter or rescue group. The book goes in depth at what goes on behind the scenes of a puppy mill raid. It also gives the reader an excellent graphic look into the world of puppy mills and the type of business that are supplied by them.

Also a good read if you are from the Berks County PA area and are a dog lover. It's nice to know that something good can come out of this area besides cri
Aug 05, 2012 Kelle rated it really liked it
If you love dogs or any animals, this is a must-read. It's the true story of Gracie, a puppy mill dog written by an award-winning journalist. It shows the fighting spirit of animals and humans.

Most people I know don't understand what puppy mills are and how they hurt dogs. This book explains it all in a captivating real-life story of one unfortunate puppy mill dog.

I hope more people will read it so they can make educated decisions when buying from breeders. Or maybe it will steer more people t
Jan 20, 2015 Yvonne rated it it was amazing
One of the most engaging nonfiction books I've read recently. I love dogs, and know the Cavalier King Charles dogs fairly well.

The author of this book has taken one rescued dog, Gracie (or dog 132), and woven her story around the real horror story of puppy mills. If you don't know much about puppy mills, or are unaware of what a pervasive problem they still are, this book will do much to add to your education. Plus, you'll love the story of Gracie's happy life after six years as an over-used br
Amanda Nevins
Jun 10, 2013 Amanda Nevins rated it it was amazing
Such a great book! Brought me to tears many times through out and was so inspiring. Th story is not only about Gracie, but the many people that rescued all of the dogs.
Patricia Sanders
Mar 15, 2010 Patricia Sanders rated it it was amazing
This story is about saving a group of dogs from a puppy mill. It is insightful and heartbreaking. A must read for dog lovers.
Feb 23, 2012 Jackie rated it it was amazing
This book was a very painful eye opener about the horrid conditions found in puppy mills. I knew puppy mills were bad but I didn't know to what extent how awful and cruel they are.

If you love animals you should read this book. If you don't care that much about animals I think you should read this book, too.

I think it is a disgrace what people are doing to defenseless animals whose only desire is to love and be loved. What kind of example are we setting for our children and other countries aroun
May 03, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing
This book was about more than just a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Gracie who was saved from a life that was lived in horrible conditions, it was also about the horror of puppy mills. Before reading this book, I had heard of them, but I didn't realize what all was really done in them. Reading this book showed me the absolute nightmare that these helpless dogs lived, and I think all people should read it, if only to let them know that they should not buy a puppy from a person who could poss ...more
Nov 12, 2010 Troy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals
Bradley provides a well-written look into the unjust world of large-scale puppy breeding. While the majority of the book focuses on a single case centered in Pennsylvania, Bradley does document some of the nationwide issues as well.

While I was aware of the horrors of puppy mills before picking up this book, I am still satisfied with my decision to pick this one up. Any publicity this issue can draw is welcomed, and I feel that Bradley does a remarkable job outlining the poor moral decision you
Apr 24, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
Saving Gracie is unique in that it follows one dog from her rescue from a puppy mill to her adoption by a family and how they helped her overcome all the issues, both mental and physical, that she developed as a result of her life in that puppy mill. The reader gets to see both the legal side of things, as well as, how much work is involved in shutting a puppy mill down. Very interesting, but also disturbing to think about how these puppy mills abuse thousands and thousands of animals. I would h ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm not quite finished with it, but we have a cavalier King Charles spaniel that we got over the summer. Before we got her, I started to read this book. After that, I was so thankful that my baby's life didn't start like that. It's really a shame that cavaliers are so expensive and aren't commonly up for adoption, because they are smart, beautiful, loving, friendly, and they just love their owners. Someone in my family has a cold and was on the floor coughing, and my puppy walked over and licked ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
I am not giving this 5 stars as the first 1/3 was so very difficult to read outlining the horrors of a puppy mill. However, there was redemption by the end. EVERYONE should read this. If you are a dog lover, you can appreciate the fact that dogs should have a good life with humans. If you are NOT a dog lover, this book just may change your mind. It is one of those true stories which needs to be told and heralded to spread the awareness that we need changes, and some of the individuals here are h ...more
Jan 20, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it
One of the few books I actually READ! Typically I listen to my books on cd, but this wasn't available in audio format. It was such a stirring book that follows a dog from the horrors of a "hording" puppy mill owner to the woman who decides to give her a better life. The dog and her savior learn a lot about survival and love. The puppy mill owner is a sad story of someone in the limelight of showing AKC champions and his downward spiral to running a horrendous puppy mill.
Apr 08, 2010 Rhiana rated it really liked it
Saving Gracie is a story that is at once inspiring and yet disturbing. It is full of compassion and love, but also sprinkled with disturbing images that are more terrible than any Stephen King or Dean Koontz thriller. What animal lover could fail to be touched by this book?

Read more at Suite101: Saving Gracie by Carol Bradley – Book Review http://activistbiographies.suite101.c...
Nov 16, 2014 Maryann rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Great use of the specific to highlight the more general problem of puppy mills.
Jul 05, 2012 Crystal rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Ok, I've had this book for some time. I was given a copy, either by my MIL, or the author herself as she's a relative. So I picked it up, noted it's personalized, and decided what the hay; I'd read it.

I've read, over the years, an assortment of these types of books. Most of them though are a bit more...cohesive. This one reminded me quite a bit of the book detailing the fall of Calumet stables - lots of investigative reporting related, but not essential to the story. In this case, while there's
Feb 16, 2012 Aeslis rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals, non-fiction
The thing about this book is that it advertises itself as a story about a dog being saved, and that's there, but it's not what most of the book talks about at all. The book reads like a report, and spends many chapters listing information about animal rights groups, the horror behind puppy mills, the laws that have changed over the years, and the trials that happen to change them. I think these are important things, and all eye-openers, but it's not what I originally sat down intending to read, ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Jami rated it really liked it
Shelves: animal-books
Although this book was very different from what I expected, because it had more information on puppy mills in general and was not 100% about Gracie, I enjoyed it. I found the information on puppy mills very disturbing and difficult to read, but it is necessary to know that this stuff is going on out there. We can't hide from things we wish weren't true, and the only way to get rid of them is to publicize the conditions at these awful places. Gracie sounds like an awesome dog and I'm happy that s ...more
Jul 13, 2014 Patty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf-dogs
Carol Bradley does a great job not only telling Gracie's story but also telling of puppy mills, legislation in PA, and Gracie's breeder. When combined it is a much more complete than just the story of one dog and her recovery. The story is well told and captivating.

I picked up this book because we adopted a puppy mill mom and we wanted to find something about the recovery process for these dogs. But I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs or wants to know more about puppy mills or d
Traci Ahlbrandt
May 06, 2013 Traci Ahlbrandt rated it liked it
I only issued a 3 star rating because the synopsis of the book made it seem that the book would be focused on the particular rescue of Gracie, a tri-color cavalier. I have a tri-colored cavalier that I rescued from a puppy mill in Kansas and so I was hoping to compare stories I guess. This book was more about puppy mills and legislation to govern them and try to put bad breeders out of business. It was interesting and I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't what I expected.
May 26, 2010 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Quote from book: "To the surprise of many, Amish farmers admitted openly to raising dogs as livestock---they confined them to tiny cages and destroyed the breeding animals as soon as they stopped producing. The Post described dogs caged in dimly lit barns---filthy, covered in feces and so broken in spirit they were "unresponsive to a visitor's presence and voice." The stories prompted the passage of puppy lemon law, but did nothing to curtail the poor breeding practices."
The story of Gracie and puppy mills is a heart wrenching one. Though this story did have a side of it that was too much detail and too many organizations and mouthfuls to remember, it was a very informative read. I enjoyed the story of Gracie and her rescue and life after the puppy mill as breading stalk. I was also very happy to learn of the "where are they now's" in the books epilogue.
It was an interesting - an often horrifying - read. Doesn't pull any punches (and rightfully so) describing the conditions the animals were being kept in, or how they were health-wise. It's not really what I'd consider graphic, though.

On the other hand, there's a lot of names & dates, especially regarding the law changes which is kind of interesting, but... statistics. meh.
Oct 18, 2010 Patricia rated it really liked it
Heart wrenching account of one dog saved from puppy mill.
I learned a lot about how puppy mills operate, where the majority of them are located, the and effect on the animals that are born there and sold from there. I'll look for all the legislation that I can to
stop these outrageous businesses.
Dec 10, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book. Most of what's wrong with dog breeding and treatment in this world occurs because the majority of people don't even have a clue that its happening. Everybody should sit down, take a chance to educate themselves, and we'd all walk away from it ready to make a difference.
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Before turning to books, I spent many years as a newspaper reporter in my home state of Tennessee, New York, Washington D.C. and Montana.

My family had a couple of dogs when I was very young and adopted a number of stray cats, but I really became interested in the lives of animals after my husband, Steve L’Heureux, and I acquired two Shelties. I was fascinated at the intelligence and emotional comp
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