Best Friends Animal Society, Puppy Mills, Hoarding Cats with Dr Frank McMillan on the Real Dr. Doolittle Show

Dr. Franklin McMillan has been the Director of Well-Being Studies at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary since October 2007. As Director of Well-Being Studies, Dr. Frank assesses and studies the mental health and emotional well-being of animals who have endured hardship, adversity and psychological trauma. Through these studies, he hopes to learn what the effects of trauma are – the psychological injuries and scars – and how best to treat them in order to restore to these animals a life of enjoyment rather than one of fear and ongoing emotional distress.

His studies looking at the psychological health and behavior of the breeding dogs rescued from puppy mills and of dogs purchased from pet stores is land breaking. Currently he is studying cats from an institutionalized hoarding situation (the Great Kitty Rescue in Pahrump, Nevada), the psychological causes and effects of abuse in dogs, the emotional rehabilitation and recovery of the fighting dogs taken from the estate of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and measuring personality and quality of life in cats.

Before coming to Best Friends, Dr. Frank was in private practice in Los Angeles for 23 years. In addition, he was a clinical professor of medicine at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Frank is the author of Mental Health and Well-Being in Animals, the first textbook on the mental health of animals, and he has also written a book for the general public titled Unlocking the Animal Mind: How Your Pet’s Feelings Hold the Key to His Health and Happiness.


1. What is Best Friends Animal Society?

2. What is the No More Homeless Pets initiative?

3. Why do you believe that our pets feelings hold the key to their health and happiness?

4. Why is your study of dogs in puppy mills and their long-lasting, severe psychological harm being called a landmark study?

5. What are the key findings of your study?

6. What is cat hoarding and what are the effects on cats who have been hoarded?

7. What would you say to someone who is considering buying a dog from a pet store or online?

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About Best Friends Animal Society®:
Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets. The society’s leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country’s largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

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Photo by Mircea Iancu from Pexels

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