Happy Birthday to my Zoe pup!! It’s her 3rd birthday today! 🙂
Today’s Ultimate Blog Challenge writing prompt is to share photos and stories behind the photos. Since my last two posts were along similar lines – I shared photos of my photo imprinting process and then of my quiltmaking process – today’s photos are about my little pup, Zoe — it’s her third birthday today! 🙂
After we lost our Kita, a 12 1/2-year-old black lab on December 18, 2012, we were heartbroken. About a month later we adopted our Desi, a Plott hound, from the humane society (another rescued pup), but I still had my heart set on adopting another black lab.
Then in September 2014, we met a wonderful lady named Nadine who operated a rescue organization out of Maine, until recently. She used to make all the arrangements to rescue dogs and cats from high kill facilities in southern states. Nadine helped us rescue little Zoe from a facility in Georgia; she was literally on the “kill” list for that afternoon! Nadine put in the order to remove her from the list. We named her Zoe, because that means “life.”
Zoe joined our family on October 4th, 2014, and we learned from the vet that Zoe is more whippet than black lab. So she will always be a smaller dog, which is OK – she enjoys being a lap dog! 🙂
If we had a larger home and a few acres of land set back from the road (and the finances to accompany all that), our dream is to run our own rescue for dogs and cats (we also have 8 cats, all rescues). So many domestic animals like dogs and cats are killed for no real good reason in these alleged “shelters” – after our experience with Zoe, I was inspired to write the following article.
Pet Rescue: Saving Lives from Death Row
at High Kill Facilities
If you have ever visited a humane society or an animal shelter, you are probably someone who feels that tug on your heartstrings as you walk past rows of cages filled with abandoned or surrendered former canine and feline companions, and other animals.
As you peer into the eager faces of fur babies who desperately want to go home with you, looking for their “furever” homes–or worse, observe some poor former beloved pets cowering or facing the corners of their cages, afraid and hopeless–do you ever ponder why or how they arrived at that facility?
Reasons for Shelter Residency
Sure, some dogs and cats might be residents at shelters for legitimate reasons. Sometimes owners become too sick or elderly to care for their pets, or living situations change for pet owners so they can no longer keep their beloved pets or take them on moves to new homes. Other times, pet owners pass away. In any of these situations, if nobody else claims the pets, they may end up at shelters.
Sometimes shelter pets end up there as captured strays, as anonymous or known surrenders, as abandoned pets, or worst of all, as abused pets who were rescued from their former owners.
But what’s next for any of these shelter pets?
Regardless of how or why the pets arrive at shelters–how do they get OUT?
Adopted or Euthanized
Just a warning ahead of time, some of this information may be too graphic or emotionally stressful for some readers. Also, here’s fair warning that this writer does have a bias, based on personal experience.
There is really only one way for shelter pets to get out of shelters, aside from escaping or getting stolen from a facility: adoption or euthanasia.
The sad realty in many “kill” facilities is that if dogs and cats are not fortunate enough to be adopted in a timely manner, and the facilities run out of room and resources, the poor animals suffer the fate of being euthanized.
Put to sleep. Put down. KILLED. By the millions each year! 🙁
According to statistics from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), about 150 animal shelters nationwide take in 6 to 8 million cats and dogs every year–and then routinely euthanize half of them. That’s 3 to 4 million former pets killed on an annual basis! 🙁
These so-called “shelters” (a misnomer, considering shelter actually means a place that provides protection from harm) have their rationalizations for the high percentage of killing that goes on. Their alleged reasons are often about not enough room, not enough resources, and not enough people willing to adopt pets.
Or as Nathan Winograd, author and no-kill advocate and founder of the No Kill Advocacy Center, stated, these shelters allege, “the American public is uncaring and irresponsible.”
But advocacy and rescue organizations aren’t buying these excuses to justify killing innocent animals!
Advocacy and Rescue Organizations
Many concerned people have formed non-profit organizations specifically for the purpose of advocating for and rescuing doomed pets on “death row” at “high kill” facilities. The people who operate these advocacy and rescue organizations typically invest much of their own finances, time, and effort into rescuing pets–and sometimes even put their own physical and mental health on the line for the sake of these precious animals who were likely, at some point, beloved pets.
Imagine how incredibly emotional this labor of love must be, to know if you don’t get the word out, can’t raise enough pledges and donations to pull a dog or cat off the “kill” list, and can’t find an adopter when a dog or cat is listed as “out of time”–that’s another life lost.
Organizations such as RescueMe! strive to stop this mind-boggling slaughter of innocent animals by educating people about adopting cats and dogs from these “high kill shelters” that only keep animals for a limited time before killing them.
The organization also provides assistance to shelters and rescuers with grants and adoption services to match interested adopters with pets who desperately need new homes. For instance, as of the end of 2014, the organization had found loving, adoptive homes for nearly 230,000 pets posted on their site.
As previously mentioned, the No Kill Advocacy Center is another organization focused on educating the public and the shelter personnel of “high kill” facilities that euthanizing animals by the millions is unacceptable and should NOT be standard operating procedure. This endeavor is supported by the HSUS as a common goal for all animal welfare organizations to promote and enforce.
The official position of the HSUS regarding no-kill shelters is as follows:
“The HSUS believes there must be at least one animal shelter in every community that operates under this philosophy.
Ending the euthanasia of homeless animals is a goal that all animal welfare organizations share.”
In other words, No Kill advocates reject the notion that “you can’t save them all.”
A Personal Perspective
This beautiful pup, Zoe, had bonded to us and we to her. It’s hard to comprehend that her young life hung in the balance all because her previous owner dropped her off at that “high kill” facility…and as a black puppy, her chances at adoption were reduced even further, due to “black dog syndrome” (a subject for another post!)
So what about YOU?
Do you have any dogs or cats?
Did you adopt or would you consider adopting and saving the life of a shelter pet or two?