A Family for GigiPosted by April Nockleby, ALDF's Online Content Manager on November 5, 2007
Gigi, our family toy poodle, and I were inseparable growing up. She was in my family nearly a year before I was born, so she was a constant in my life until her death when I was 14. Her name was the first word I ever spoke and she was by my side when I took my first steps. When I was 6, I rode my sister’s hand-me-down bike – a hot pink cruiser with a banana seat and a plastic, daisy-laden basket on the front handlebars. It was sa-weet! Gigi sat in the basket as we rode endlessly around the neighborhood together. (Not something I would necessarily recommend for a 6-year-old today, but thankfully, I never crashed while Gigi was my passenger.) When she wasn’t acting as my bicycle co-pilot, we were playing in the yard together making mud pies or I was dressing her up in doll clothes. She was my pal and I delight in the memories of our countless fun times together.
It is memories like those I have of Gigi that make it even more difficult to hear about cases like the one ALDF filed last week against Janie Conyers of Raleigh, North Carolina. Conyers was keeping over 100 dogs, mostly toy poodles like Gigi, in deplorable conditions at her house. The details are enough to make you cry. As I looked at the pictures of their little faces and read the details of the case, I couldn’t help but feel immense sadness. These beautiful dogs deserve so much better. They deserve to have families who love them and who will share the adventures of life with them.
Animal hoarding, the act of keeping far more animals than one can care for and denying the suffering of the animals, is an extreme form of animal cruelty and oftentimes goes unnoticed and unreported. The sometimes hundreds of dog or cat victims of hoarders typically suffer horribly and, unlike most other forms of companion animal cruelty, their misery can go on for years. I encourage you to learn more about animal hoarding and how to spot an animal hoarder. Read ALDF’s animal hoarding fact sheet. Dogs deserve families, not filthy cages.