The Doggie in the Window: How One Beloved Dog Opened My Eyes to the Complicated Story Behind Man’s Best Friend by Rory Kress – Book Review – #NGEW2018 #TheDoggieintheWindow #Edelweiss

The Doggie in the Window: How One Beloved Dog Opened My Eyes to the Complicated Story Behind Man’s Best Friend


Rory Kress


From Goodreads: 

When Rory Kress began to wonder where her beloved Wheaten Terrier, Izzie, had really come from, she had no idea of the horrors she would uncover. With stunning insight and tenacity, Kress launches an investigation into the harsh realities of the American dog-breeding industry, exposing troubling ties to factory farming and big agriculture.

From a pet shop on Long Island to the puppy mills of rural Missouri, from the author’s own living room to a ride-along with a dog rescue organization, The Doggie in the Window is a must-read for all dog owners and a call to action for improving the lives of man’s best friend.

My thoughts on this book:

Why did I pick this book?

I wanted to read this book to learn more about puppy mills due to an experience we had in 2003 with a puppy we purchased from a retail pet store (one directly mentioned in the book and considered the nation’s largest retail supporter of puppy mills). At this time, I had no idea what a puppy mill even was. Growing up in the city, I just figured when it was time to purchase a puppy we would head straight to the pet store, which is exactly what we did. Our ignorance led us to the purchase of a Lhasa poo puppy. As soon as we saw her in the window, we had to have her. After bringing her home, we started having problems from day one and she ended up not being a very healthy dog physically or mentally. As time went on, we had repeat problems and had to seek help from professionals. My very good friend said to me, “It’s because she’s from a puppy mill.” Of course, I had no idea and didn’t care. We loved our new dog and wanted to do whatever we could to make the relationship work, but it seemed that no matter what we did, her behavior never truly changed. She had problems her whole life and after reading this book, I understand why.

The book begins with the author’s purchase of a wheaten terrier (Izzie) from a pet store–a store that claimed to only buy their puppies from licensed breeders. As time passes, she begins having a few issues with Izzie and decides to find out where she truly came from.

Because Izzie was one of the million dogs who are born at USDA-licensed breeding facilities every year, I’ve traveled across he country investigating this federally regulated system. I wanted to understand how the government can do a better job of upholding and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act– the role the USDA has been charged with in overseeing out nation’s breeders.

On her journey she gathers facts about how puppy mills got started, the laws that keep them in place, conducts interviews, visits dog breeders, has Izzie tested, and presents all the facts in an organized and easy to read manner. Throughout the book, she weaves in some of her own experiences with Izzie and shares other aspects of her own life, including her desire to start a family.

I found the book to be a huge eye-opener, but hard to read at times. Some of the details that are shared on these puppy mills shocked me to the core. It’s hard to believe that these dog breeders who farm the dogs are human at all. The way the dogs are kept is shocking–they’re mistreated, not given the proper care, starved of food and water, and abused. Their cages are required to be a certain size, but that size seems incredibly small and the cages required for dogs that never get out–a mere 3.75 by 3.75 ft–disgusts me. How can a dog spend it’s entire life in a cage that size?

Breeds are brands; dogs are goods for sale. And just like any other commodity that we mass-produce in this country, dogs are being subjected to factory conditions. 

The fact that the USDA inspectors are barely giving a slap to the their hands is alarming and the laws need to change, in my humble opinion. The dogs’ mental and physical health is severely compromised and it trickles down to the unborn.

Mother dogs exposed to chronic stress both before and during pregnancy tend to breed hypersensitive, psychologically abnormal, and dysfunctional puppies. – (McMillan Study)

I can’t understand how anyone can treat animals so cruelly and not think twice about it. Why are the laws and punishments so lenient? I may be a little derisive here, but it seems like the government struggles to protect children, let alone animals, but will this ever change?

I found one section very compelling as it involves an interview with a small breeder who breeds dogs in her home while giving them the best care. The question asked is, “Why breed at all when there are so many dogs in shelters needing good homes?” This is something I even asked myself before allowing my border collie to have two litters. Their response was, “Why have a child? There are orphans all over the world: underfed, undernourished, undereducated. So why would you have a child? It’s the same thing. It’s something personal, very personal. Obviously, it’s your offspring. Our dog’s puppies are not our offspring, but nevertheless, we’ve watched them grow, watched them develop. That response truly resonated with me.

Overall, the book is written well and easy to follow. I learned so much just after getting a quarter of the way through, but had to put it down a few times as it’s not for the faint of heart. Even with the harrowing details, this has to be one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time. If you have an interest in dogs and how these breeding facilities work, you need to grab a copy of this one.


I’d like to thank the author, publisher, and Edelweiss for sharing this book with me for my honest review.

Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (April 3, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492651826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492651826


This is book #10 for my Netgalley/Edelweiss Challenge


You can see it HERE.

Thanks for reading my review of The Doggie in the Window. Have you read this book? What do you think about these mass dog breeding facilities?

❤ Mischenko

40 thoughts on “The Doggie in the Window: How One Beloved Dog Opened My Eyes to the Complicated Story Behind Man’s Best Friend by Rory Kress – Book Review – #NGEW2018 #TheDoggieintheWindow #Edelweiss

  1. Pingback: Reading Challenges 2018 – Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge #NGEW2018 and Ultimate Reading Challenge #UltimateReadingChallenge – ReadRantRock&Roll

    1. I hear you. Not an easy read, but it isn’t totally laden with horrible details. I just can’t imagine how a person can keep a dog in a cage its entire life and then their just disposed of like they don’t matter. It’s hard to get over that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Teri. 💚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! I can’t either. What’s even worse is how they violate even the lowest standards of care and do it over and over. How the mills got started is interesting too, with farmers turning to it to replenish income, but I don’t care. There needs to be change. I hate that many of them lack the common sense to recognize these dogs as human beings. It’s just horrid. Thanks, Nina. 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I knew puppy mills were bad but I learned a lot just reading your review about how horrific they really are. I have only ever bough hermit crabs and fish from pet stores. Cats and dogs we have always gotten from shelters or from people whose pets accidentally got pregnant.

    I am glad you mentioned the section about the small breeder. We got our puppy from a guy who had bred his dog before and wasn’t planning on a second litter but didn’t notice quick enough when she went into heat and she got pregnant again. So he was kind of a breeder but this particular litter was an accident. We found him on craigslist and that was how we got our puppy. I have had people judge me for getting our puppy from cragslist because there are so many dogs in shelters that need homes. But my thought is that our puppy needed a home too so why does it matter where I got her? I am not supporting cruel animal conditions. The guy was super nice and it was obvious his dogs were well loved and well cared for!

    This book sounds super informative but also super sad! I am glad that info is out there and I hope it helps take down the puppy mills! Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would never judge someone for buying a dog on Craigslist. We ended up doing that years ago, although the dog was free. We ended up finding out it was very aggressive when startled and deaf. It had major problems and we ended up finding a lady who dealt with those sorts of disorders. So he ended up getting the help he needed because we were clueless. This is why we were so afraid when Munch was born deaf, but it’s worked out okay so far. I hear you and it isn’t fair to judge. In our case, we chose to breed ours twice and I did receive some harassing messages once we put them up for sale. I guess you’ll have that, but we wanted our dogs to be the offspring of our original two border collies. So, it is what it is. There are good breeders out there, but some people feel that dogs shouldn’t be bred period, because of the populations in shelters and rescues. I get that too.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this and your experience. I’m glad yours worked out! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Puppy mills are so sad. I should read this one to get more information. Thanks for sharing your story with us. My sister had a problem as well. Her puppy had parvovirus, after spending a fortune, she still died. Just awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carla, you should try it out. It’s very insightful. That very same thing happened to us! We picked up a cute little chocolate lab pup from the Humane Society and brought it home. She was salivating and listless the next day. We took her in and the vet told us she had parvovirus. We took her to Purdue and ended up spending $1300 dollars trying to get her to live. My son was devastated because she didn’t make it. It was such a nightmare experience. I’m so sorry your sister had to go through that too! It’s horrible. I couldn’t blame the Humane Society because she seemed okay when we got her, just a little fatigued. Someone had just dropped her off at the shelter so who knows how long she was out running around with no vaccs 😥

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Carla. You’ll have to let me know if you end up reading it. 💜


  4. Noriko

    Sounds like a read that spoke to you, Mischenko! I assume some parts have been really hard for you to get through, but I am glad you enjoyed it in the end 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It certainly sounds like a book that should be widely distributed and read, but I’m not sure I could read it. We didn’t get a rescue, altho I’d looked into it. We went to a local breeder who loved and cared for the puppies in her home (turned a bedroom into a nursery, puppy romper room). They were all happy, frisky, healthy puppies and the breeder followed up with me for several years. I visited my puppy three times before we took her home. Frosty has been perfect for us. I did a pet tag from Carla back in March (this year) about her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How sweet! I’m glad you ended up with a positive experience. Now I have to go back and search for your pet tag because I don’t remember seeing it? Frosty is such a cute name! 💜

      I certainly don’t judge breeders either. I feel like that isn’t fair and good breeders should be able to breed dogs, I’m just not sure of the number. After Cynder had her second, I chose to stop because I do have some guilt there. I wanted to raise our dogs from pups and they didn’t come from rescues/shelters either so…I think people have a choice and they choose what’s best for them. I just really hope the laws will change. Some of these dogs never see the ground–they remain in a cage their entire life. What torture.

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience. 💜


  6. Great review! This is definitely information more people need to be aware of. Backyard breeders (shady people who essentially run small scale puppy mills in their yard) are also something to inform yourself about. If someone wants a purebred dog, they definitely need to do their research about the breeder first. One telling sign of a backyard breeder is that they want you to meet them somewhere for the puppy instead of you being able to meet the parents and see where the pup comes from.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Mischenko. I don’t think I could read this one. I’d be like you, putting it down and picking it back up. I’m so emotional when it comes to animals, particularly dogs (and cats), that I don’t think I could get through it. Why don’t people treat people and animals the way they’d like to be treated? I often wonder what’s wrong with these folks. If I read this book I’d be on a quest to save every abused dog!!
    Thanks for the great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally hear you! It was a little difficult at times. I don’t know what’s wrong with people. How they can do these things and not think twice about it….it makes no sense. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on it. ❤🧡❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review on an important book and subject, Mischenko!!! I really get upset, too, about the mistreatment and abuse of our most vulnerable–those who require our voices and actions to keep them safe. It breaks my heart when animals are mistreated, like in puppy mills, and laws need to have more teeth. When people abuse our furry best friends, the consequences need to be substantial. It’s one way to help rectify the problem. Another is to get informed, and this book and your review promote awareness. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent review.
    While the book sounds true and informative, I probably already have all of the knowledge I would ever want regarding puppy mills.
    As for the question of why people breed dogs when there are unwanted dogs (yeah, I like the analogy to children, but people always set the human race apart), good breeders are doing it for the *health and the future* of the breed, not to make money or whatever the current fad is. The current trend of “designer” dogs and calling them a breed is a bit disheartening, especially when owners run around talking about the breed of their dog, when their dog is a mix, mutt, what have you. Oh, goodness….sorry about the rant. After being involved in rescue, I guess I have more than a few opinions regarding dogs–and people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean and appreciate your comment! ❤😊

      In my case, I didn’t consider myself a breeder for breeding my two borders, but some would argue that. To me it was my decision because I wanted to have two more dogs from mine, and not someone elses. I did get some harassing messages, but to me, breeding my two dogs doesn’t mean that I’m supporting puppy mills. There’s the *good breeders* who would say that what I did was wrong too. So, it’s a tough subject!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! ❤😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I respect your position. If I’d had the foresight, I might have done something like that with Cha, except I wouldn’t have known about her inherited neurological disease. 😦 But with Scout I have an everyday knowledge of what some people (so-called breeders) will do to get money at the expense of innocent dogs. argh.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aww. I didn’t know your pup had a neuro disease. I didn’t have my dogs tested beforehand, but they’ve been healthy so far. It is a chance you take I suppose.

          The breeders that are running the mills, there’s just no excuse for it. There are other ways to make money. I myself could never put a dog in a cage and keep it in there every day of its life. No way. I couldn’t sleep. When Munch was born, we started to do research and I couldn’t believe the stories about breeders and how they would just kill the dogs if they were born deaf. Munch is such a happy pup and she can’t hear. If some of them can’t get money, they just don’t want them. It’s sick. Thanks for your thoughts. 💗

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Thanks. It was my Cha who I lost 3 years ago almost to the day. She was 16 1/2. I don’t think her breeder even knew that the gene ran in the dogs because it was one of those things that would only manifest later in life and I’m sure that none of Cha’s siblings lived as long as she did. And, the disease is only diagnosed post-mortem, don’t know if I mentioned that.
          Regardless, my dogs have always brought me more joy than sadness, and hopefully I have reciprocated.
          I’m sure that’s all we ever wish for the furry ones in our lives. 💗

          Liked by 1 person

  10. starjustin

    Thanks for the information on this disheartening subject Jen. This is a situation where one can use the phrase ‘money makes the world go around’.
    So sad for these puppies. I hope, somehow, this changes for the better someday. 🐕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So very true. People are willing to do what they need to. That’s another interesting part in the book where she shares how these puppy mills got started in the first place with farmers who needed the supplement income. I hope the laws will change too! Thanks for your comment. ❤🧡❤


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