Rory KressApr 7, 2021
The Doggie in the Window
How One Dog Led Me from the Pet Store to the Factory Farm to Uncover the Truth of Where Puppies Really Come From
When journalist Rory Kress met Izzie, she didn’t think twice before bringing her home. She found the twelve-week-old wheaten terrier in a pet shop and was handed paperwork showing Izzie had been born in a USDA-licensed breeding facility—so she couldn’t be a puppy mill dog, right?
But a few years later, as Rory embarked on her own difficult journey to become a mother, her curiosity began to tug at her. Sure, Izzie was her fur baby, but who was her dog’s real mother, and where was she now? And where did Izzie pick up her strange personality quirks? Like so many people, Rory had assumed the young puppy was a clean slate when she bought her. Those questions led Rory—with Izzie by her side—on a nationwide investigation, the first of its kind. From a dog livestock auction to the laboratory of one of the world’s leading animal behavioral scientists all the way up to the highest echelons of the USDA, they sought answers about who we’re trusting to be the watchdog for our pet dogs.
The Doggie in the Window (Sourcebooks, 2018) is a story of hope and redemption. It upends the notion that purchased dogs are a safer bet than rescues, examines how internet puppy sales allow customers to get even farther from the truth of dog breeding, and offers fresh insights into one of the oldest bonds known to humanity. With Izzie’s help, we learn the real story behind the dog in the window—and how she got there in the first place.
Rory Kress is a journalist and a national Emmy Award-winning television producer. She has reported on Iraqi refugees in Jordan coping through rollerblading, surrogate mothers giving birth to American babies in India, the cultural awakening of Jewish youths in Poland, and the conversions of Hispanic Americans to Islam in New Jersey. She was the news producer for NBC's Today Show and is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Princeton University. She lives in Denver with her family and her dog, Izzie.
Mark Molloy is the reviews editor at MAKE: A Literary Magazine.