Give the Gift of Hope with ‘Giving of the Heart’ Christmas CD by Dahna Bender

My ‘Giving of the Heart’ Christmas album is a labor of love, driven by the love I feel for every precious pup still living in the nightmare of a puppy mill (if you aren’t familiar with the horrors of puppy mills, click here to learn about them).  When I met Dahna going to Colorado : Dahna BenderTheresa Strader of National Mill Dog Rescue, I knew I’d met an angel.  Her passion and drive was all it took to get this incredible organization off the ground.  Theresa started NMDR 7 years ago and in that time they have saved more than 9,600 dogs from puppy mills. Relying solely on donations and grants for funding, they rescue discarded puppy mill breeding dogs from all over the county, and transport them to their home base kennel, ‘Lily’s Haven’, near Colorado Springs.  Once at ‘Lily’s Haven’ each dog receives veterinary care, grooming, and most importantly, LOVE.  I will forever be inspired by the dedication shown by their many volunteers and supporters; each of these individuals a part of facilitating rescues and aftercare, eventually helping to place each precious pup in a loving forever home.

I have been blessed to have the voice to create my ‘Giving of the Heart’ Christmas album, and the resources to offer all proceeds to support NMDR’s tireless efforts to help these innocent, abused dogs.  I have believed from it’s inception that a completely selfless act of kindness can oly be successful if it’s pure – and there is no organization more pure than National Mill Dog Rescue.

The album is available on CD, digital Mp3 download, and iTunes.

CLICK HERE to purchase, or preview the music below.

2Jingle Bells2:29
3The Little Drummer Boy3:45
4Silent Night3:25
5What Child Is This (feat. Karmine Alers)3:56
6Sleigh Ride2:57
7The Christmas Song2:34
8Breath of Heaven4:25
9Winter Wonderland3:09
10Oh Holy Night3:36
11Grown-Up Christmas List4:50



How to Fight a Puppy Mill

Help Stop Puppy Mills : Dahna Bender


The Huffington Post frequently blogs about animal welfare situations, including puppy mills.  Yesterday they featured an article full of good and bad news.   The good: there is currently a lot being done to stop puppy mills across the nation.  The bad: there is still a lot more to do.

From the Huffington Post…

Most people understand there’s a difference between selling a puppy and selling a toaster oven, but do our laws? It depends where you look.

Across the country, puppy mills — which in many cases are legal — are allowed to put profits ahead of pet welfare in the sole interest of their own profit-driven desires, churning out puppy after puppy like household appliances on a conveyor belt.

The good news is that states are finally addressing cruel breeding and animal selling practices, as well as strengthening industry accountability, with a variety of laws designed to protect and save lives. While some of the laws are stronger than others, they’re all no-brainers to those who see animals as more than products, yet many state legislatures are still resistant to regulation. Two current battlegrounds are North Carolina and Illinois, but many more states are tackling these issues.

You can play a part in ending puppy mills by refusing to buy anything, including both dogs and pet supplies, from a pet store that sell puppies, as well as supporting enactment of strong state humane laws. While the federal Animal Welfare Act sets minimum standards of care, these standards are grossly inadequate — enforcement is underfunded and too often lacks teeth. As a result, state and local laws often offer better protection for these animals.

Monitoring progress in every state provides a good snapshot of how attitudes are changing nationwide. Here’s a very current overview of recent animal welfare struggles and wins in state legislatures across the country as well as at the national level:

  • Right now in North Carolina, legislation to prohibit certain inhumane breeding practices passed the House of Representatives in 2013 thanks to the strong leadership of House Speaker Thom Tillis. What the Senate will now agree to isn’t clear, but we fortunately have great friends in Governor and First Lady McCrory who have made the puppy mill issue a priority. We hope for a successful resolution in the coming weeks as the legislature is in session, but you can still help push this bill through.
  • Last week, Minnesota lawmakers passed the state’s first puppy mill bill, which will help vulnerable animals in puppy and kitten mills thanks to the creation of a licensing program, annual inspections, and compliance with minimum standards of care for dogs and cats in commercial breeding facilities. The bill was signed into law on May 20 by Gov. Mark Dayton. This landmark legislation passed in large part thanks to Gov. Dayton’s admirable work with local advocates for many years.
  • In Illinois, state legislators enacted a pet lemon law last year to hold pet stores accountable if they sell dogs or cats who later become ill. Very recently, at the urging of Gov. Pat Quinn, a bill was introduced to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. Several communities in the state had already enacted similar bans, making this state-wide push possible. However, with so little time left in the legislative session, this measure will likely not be considered before the legislature adjourns for the summer. Learn how you can still take action.
  • In Connecticut, a bill awaiting the governor’s signature holds pet shops, breeders, and brokers more accountable for the welfare of the animals they sell by significantly increasing pet shops’ obligation to reimburse for veterinary care, prohibiting the sale of dogs from breeders and brokers with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violations, and requiring pet shops to post federal breeder inspection reports.
  • This bill, championed by tireless animal advocate Rep. Brenda Kupchick, grew out of a task force created by a statute in 2013 to examine possible legislative solutions to the puppy mill problem, including a full ban on the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet shops. A compromise, the present bill instead bans the sale of dogs from USDA licensed facilities that have certain violations of the Animal Welfare Act
  • New York state law now authorizes local governments to crack down on cruel and unscrupulous pet dealers throughout the state. Until this change was made, only the state could control the fate of the animals in these facilities. As a result, a number of localities and counties have already introduced proposals to regulate pet dealers on the local level.
  • A new law in Virginia requires pet stores to disclose the origins and health histories of dogs they sell, and expands the ability of customers to seek financial remedies if a purchased dog or cat becomes ill. Find out how to thank state lawmakers.
  • Vermont lawmakers passed a measure that improves enforcement of the law protecting breeding dogs and the puppies they produce by providing clear definitions and eliminating legal loopholes.
  • West Virginia passed a strong new law in 2013 requiring commercial breeders to be licensed. It also mandates inspections of breeding premises twice per year and sets minimum standards of care for dogs.
  • Federally, the USDA now requires U.S. commercial breeders who sell puppies directly to the public sight unseen to be licensed and inspected. For the first time, thousands of breeders who sell dogs over the Internet will have to open their kennel doors to regulators.

Unfortunately, this leaves out puppies coming in from overseas. That’s why we’re still working to encourage the USDA to finalize a federal rule requiring non-U.S. breeders who import puppies to the U.S. to provide certification that each dog is in good health, has received all necessary vaccinations, and is at least six months of age.

Of course, the puppy mill and dog breeding industries are fighting tooth and nail to keep their industries alive with little or no accountability, which is why we need to be active and vigilant. Though contacting your representatives may seem like a futile effort, we’ve seen momentous change come from a loud community voice.

You can also help by taking the “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge not to buy anything from pet stores that sell puppies, and by encouraging others to do the same. Pet stores typically purchase puppies from USDA licensed breeders, many of whom are frequent violators of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and are allowed to sell even after repeated violations, including denying veterinary care to injured animals, keeping them in filthy and dangerous environments, performing invasive surgeries on their own animals without veterinary licenses, and, in some cases, shooting their unwanted dogs.

Our “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign also features over 10,000 photos taken by USDA inspectors at licensed breeding facilities, allowing consumers to see first-hand where pet store puppies really come from.

Puppy mills wouldn’t be the first inhumane industry to be stopped, banned, or criminalized thanks to public pressure. Child labor, animal fighting, sweatshops, horse slaughter, lead paint, and shark finning are all examples of one-time commonly accepted practices which now fall below the standards of civilized behavior. Strong laws, personal action, and collective outrage can make the price of doing this kind of business too high for even the most motivated entrepreneur.

The bottom line is this: Humane treatment is not our gift to animals; it’s our obligation. If your state isn’t doing enough to keep breeders in check, urge your elected officials to do more. If your community is tolerating puppy mills and pet stores that sell puppy mill puppies, bring the true nature of those businesses to light.

And if you think this is a problem that can’t be fixed, think again.

Thank you to Matthew Bershadker, President & CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), for penning this article.  Learn more about the ASPCA’s mission and programs at ASPCA.org.

Are you interested in helping rescue discarded puppy mill breeding dogs?  Visit www.milldogrescue.org

A Giving of the Heart Conclusion

As many of you know, my initial efforts behind my website and my social networking was to help National Mill Dog Rescue raise funds through the sales of a Christmas CD – ‘Giving of the Heart’.  I am very honored by those who purchased the CD and helped promote it.   Thank you for that.

Although the project didn’t do what I had envisioned it to do for 2013, the good news is there is always another year to try again.  What was so frustrating for myself and the PR firm is we received a lot of lip service from National Media. When it was time to commit no one stood by their word.  Jules and Dani of The Pitching Staff were most upset as they truly believed in our vision and had every confidence and intention that they could achieve the goal of National Media that they were hired to accomplish.

What I have come to unfortunately realize is that the organization and the cause isn’t one that the Media finds as “news worthy” on its own merit.  And since I am an unknown person my desire and campaign to help was also perceived as not “news worthy” . As horrific and untrue as this is, unfortunately they control what “the People” get to be exposed to.

With the kindness of Jules, the owner of the PR firm he has volunteered to continue his efforts for the project without compensation.  What I have come to understand is we need to deliver what the Media “wants” to accomplish the goal.  Bring funds and awareness to NMDR and the cruelties about Commercial Dog Breeding.  Our main focus is to get celebrity support for the project in any form. Known artists to do songs on the CD. Celebrities to endorse the project or act as a spokesperson for the cause. Retail support in some way. Etc.  These are the things we are currently and aggressively working on now.

Along with this I have retained Lesley Hollywood’s company to handle all the Social Media Marketing strategy’s for the project.  This is to work hand and hand with what we still need ” The Media” to be truly successful this year.  Lesley has been working with NMDR’s Rudi Taylor and helping her with all of their Social Media.  So it’s wonderful that she already has great knowledge of what is needed to support NMDR with the project.  She will be working with Rudi to help us support NMDR in the best fashion on this front.

I have to say I absolutely believe my/our efforts have not been in vain and still maintain that a true act of kindness when its purpose is pure the universe must deliver its success. I know in my heart “the People” want to help. I just need to do a better job of navigating through the obstacles and get the word to them so they can help.  Just like NMDR’s mission and amazing success of saving the pups.

With humility and hesitation, I apologies that my campaign did not achieve the high hopes I had for it this past year to support NMDR’s work.

As I have stated I/we will not be giving up. The pups need us all to fight for them. It is the only reason.

With love and much respect,

 Dahna Bender

Theresa Strader of National Mill Dog Rescue : Dahna Bender Blog

Adopted, My First Day

I was the first baby and last child to be adopted from Italy to the US in 1966. I came over very very sick. They loved me anyway! My Mom tells this story with pride 🙂

“National Mill Dog Rescue” (NMDR) take in the first babies and the last left.  They are all very, very sick. They still love them.  They then rehabilitate them.

ADOPT from NMDR!  The organization my project supports!

Dahna at adoption : Dahna Bender

Having a Blind Father

My father was an avid animal lover.  In his older retired years I used to wake up and find him feeding 4-5 cats on the kitchen counter.

I’d say, “Dad your feeding strays on the counter.”

He’d typically respond, “Oh I thought they were ours, how’d they get in?”

I’d respond, “Really? Maybe because you left the front door wide open might be how.”   This was a regular conversation. 🙂

NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE leaves their door OPEN for all the puppy mill strays!  ADOPT!

Dahna and her blind father : Dahna Bender

Being Adopted

Dahna with her mom : Dahna BenderWhen I was a child my Mom used to tell my sister and me, “We didn’t grow UNDER her heart, we grew IN her heart.”

Growing up and not being blood related to anyone put no value or important on it for me.  We CHOOSE to love our Husbands, Wives, Partners and Friends.

Animals are also a choice. My pupper Eli didn’t grow UNDER my heart she grew IN my heart.  Not blood related, Not species related, but I love her just the same.

Thank you Mom for Adopting me and opening up my heart.

Please go to NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE and ADOPT and open up your heart!

Thank you,

Dahna M. Bender

Staying Educated

NMDR pup for adoption : Dahna BenderMy mission is to STAY EDUCATED.  It’s ones best defense to “not” help add to the continuation of Commercial Dog Breeding “Puppy Mills.”  Ignorance is not an excuse!

“The USDA’s office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released a report confirming that USDA inspectors regularly ignore horrific suffering at commercial dog breeding facilities and allow the facilities to continue to operate, unimpeded, despite repeated violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act.”

As quoted from the Humane Society of the United States website under Commercial Breeder Bill Fact Sheet!

Pictured here is BEA BOP.  Just one of the many dogs at National Mill Dog Rescue up for adoption!

Going to Colorado

Dahna going to Colorado : Dahna BenderI’m going to Colorado in April to visit National Mill Dog Rescue and see first hand what they do.  I can’t wait to meet Theresa Strader, the founder and all the people involved with her and her amazing organization.  I have a feeling I’m going to want to adopt all of the dogs 🙂

Thank you NMDR for all that you do!

Dahna Bender