Although I normally blog about writing, marketing or books, today I’ve been wondering about something that I can’t get out of my mind. It crept up on me in its own sneaky fashion, until I finally realized that there’s no escaping it, and no turning back. It’s an obsession that is fast rivaling my daily writing “fix”.
Have you ever gone to Facebook and clicked on one of these pages set up by animal rescue organizations? I did. Now, it has taken hold of me and won’t let go. All it takes is one look at a face like this one. You’ll be hooked, too.
The pleas for these animals are desperate. In many states, the organizations work to pull animals from shelters that are known as “kill” shelters. Dogs and cats that come in sick or hurt, or the ones that are aggressive—even if they are just afraid—are the first to be put down.
Yes, I realize that not all stray animals can be saved. But did you know that many animals that are brought to the shelters are “owner surrendered” pets? Why would someone do this? For many reasons—I think one of the main ones being that owners believe that taking an animal to the shelter and ‘dropping it off’ will result in the shelter finding it a good home.
The hard truth is that most shelters are running over. Dropping off your animal is probably not going to result in a preferable outcome of adoption. Most likely, the animal is going to be euthanized within the week.
One story that really tore at me when it was posted was the picture of a sweet golden retriever mix, that was taken in her cell at the shelter. Her eyes were kind. She didn’t understand what had happened to her world. After living with her master for 12 years, she had been “dropped off” at the shelter when her human had to go into a nursing home. I guess no one in the family was able to take her in to finish out her last years. And I can only imagine what anguish her master must have gone through, knowing that his family had surrendered his loving pet to a shelter. “Please help Sadie,” the post began. “She is alone and scared, and doesn’t understand why she’s at the shelter.” Sadie’s story haunted me all day. But it wasn’t the only one.
A few hours later, I saw that Middle Mutts, one of these wonderful organizations, had posted the story of yet another sweet little dog whose family had “surrendered” him as well. Only, they had moved off and left him to fend for himself rather than try to find a home for him. How could a family do this? I pictured them driving away from their home in their mini-van, the dog sitting in the front yard watching them leave, the husband and wife comforting themselves with the hope that “maybe one of the neighbors will take him in…” Nope. Animal control got him first and he went to the shelter, where he awaits certain death if no one adopts him or sponsors him. The picture above is of Zina & Mimi. Mimi is a gorgeous Great Dane/Lab mix around 1.5 years old. She was an owner surrender along with her best friend, Zena, a deaf Boxer. Zena depends on Mimi, and if possible, they’d like to find a home for them together. Please check out a new video of them! http://youtu.be/QyIRUjGmCYI
There are too many stories like this to describe in this short post. What I hope to do is to let you know how you can help these animals.
First: Click on the pages for these animal rescue organizations on FB and LIKE them—Here are three wonderful, very worthy animal rescue activist groups that are in the business of working tirelessly to get these sweet fur babies pulled and transported (with help from some guardian angels across this great country of ours!) to their new owners.
Pet Pardons http://www.facebook.com/#!/petpardons
Middle Mutts http://www.facebook.com/#!/middlemutts
The Bella Foundation http://www.facebook.com/#!/BellaFoundation
Second: When these notices begin to come in on your FB page about the animals that are going to be put to sleep (PTS), the ones who are injured and in need of treatment, the pleas for fostering or transportation funding, RESHARE them on your wall. You never know who might see these pictures and stories and want to adopt that dog/cat, or maybe knows of someone else who will. This doesn’t cost a thing and is a wonderful tool to “get the word out” about these animals, especially if you ask your friends to reshare, too!
Third: Most of these animals have a special “CHIP-IN FUND” that has been set up just for their needs. When you donate to it, the money goes to THAT ANIMAL for their shots, medical care (many of them have been abused or neglected terribly) and transportation if necessary. Most people think their contributions won’t matter. I have seen time and again where the contributions inched upward each day and finally reached the amount needed to pay for the “vetting” for these animals. Even $1 is important. It all matters. Some of the animals require surgery or medical treatment for other conditions. These are the ones that desperately need funding to help them get that treatment and get to a new home. If you have a Paypal account, it takes less than a minute to click on the link for the Chip-In and transfer a few bucks over.
Fourth: Talk about it. Blog about it. Get the word out. Not all support has to be financial! We all have to do what we are able to do, and some can do more than others, but many of these people in these organizations are volunteers. Is there something you could do at your local shelter? Could you start a group like this on your own? Fostering dogs until a home can be found for them is a wonderful service to provide if you are able to do this. There’s no monetary gain, but the reward you get from these loving animals will more than make up for it. Many have never had a kind word or loving touch. The picture above is of Pet Pardons’ co-founder Chris Hoar’s dog. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
“You know sometimes even I find it very hard to look at the pictures people post on my own wall, sometimes it seems like this horrific cruelty will never end, sometimes I want to just give up and go hide in a hole. Then I look at my little rescue Jimmy 2 Shoes, and he reminds me that I can never give up, for any reason, because as hard as this is for me sometimes, it is nothing compared to how hard it is for all of them.” Chris has devoted his life to saving these animals. He’s my hero.
Have you been inspired yet? I hope so. Many of these stories have wonderfully happy endings thanks to regular people like you and me. Sadie, the 12-year-old golden retriever, was rescued within a couple of days of being posted and reshared again and again.
Another remarkable story is that of Vex, a dog who had been hit by a car in Romania and was paralyzed in his back legs. He had been dragging himself around, wearing his hide off for months. But the money was raised to fly him to America to a new loving home. Someone donated the money for him to have a little cart for his back legs so he could get around on his wheels. What a happy ending! Want to be part of something wonderful? Get involved. You’ll be ‘heart happy’ as soon as you do.
Our own “happy ending”–my daughter, Jessica, with her dog, Embry. This was taken about 2 years ago after Embry had to be treated for menengitis. She adopted him as a puppy from a shelter. He has brought us all so much love and joy I can’t imagine NOT having him around!
If you have questions, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org If we all work together, we can at least make a dent in animal cruelty, abuse and neglect and find loving homes for some wonderful sweet fur babies.