Those who adopt, care for and rehabilitate puppy mill survivors are performing very special acts of kindness. Helping mill survivors to become well-adjusted family pets can require much patience and understanding. Pet Refuge of Mishawaka has been working for several weeks with 35 puppies and adult dogs that were rescued from a Mauckport, Ind., puppy breeding operation. These dogs were among 240 confiscated June 2 when the Indiana Attorney General, State Police and Department of Revenue, along with the Humane Society of the United States, raided the southern Indiana operation. The owners have been charged with tax evasion. The pups in the group are especially fortunate. They are young (some newborn) and have little misery to forget. They will be adopted to homes where they will grow to adulthood knowing what it is to count on humans. Its the adult dogs that face special challenges. Some mill survivors never have been outside a cage. They never have been handled except by the scruff of the neck. Theyre exceedingly timid. Everything startles them. They dont know how to play or interact, even with other dogs. The challenge they face? To learn everything there is to know about being the family dog. They begin without a clue. For example, the instinct not to soil living space is what makes it easy to housebreak a puppy. These breeding adults were forced to soil their pens all their lives. The learning process for them will be different than it would be for a pup with uninterrupted instincts in housebreaking and in everything else. Its the wish to please humans that motivates dogs to learn good behavior. That wish is based on trust. Mill survivors have no experience with trust and no sense of humans being the source of all things good. They dont know what good is. But they can learn. And they do. Experienced mill dog rescuers report that, while rehabilitiation takes longer with some dogs than with others, it is nearly always successful. That is a testament to the good people involved those who give these dogs another chance at life by adopting them, and those who provide the adopters with advice and support. I look forward to hearing how the process at Pet Refuge going. It is a noble undertaking indeed on the part of all involved.