January 6, 2010

Consider rescuing an animal...

Hubby walked out the front door to take the dogs out for their last evening potty break. The sound of vicious barking from my own dogs outside startled me, and the next instant the front door flew open and the dogs were practically thrown inside. Just as suddenly as the barking first began, it picked up again with my dogs now viciously barking at the back door. To my surprise, there was a big, sweet puppy, happily wagging his tail, staring through the glass door while my dogs went crazy.

Confused, I immediately asked Hubby why there was a dog on our patio. He said he thought it was a stray and that the dog had just been sitting calmly in our front yard.

We immediately made our powder room into the new dog's temporary hotel suite by putting up a baby gate, covering his shivering body with towels, and offering him food and water. Then we began trying to figure out where he had come from.

By asking around, we discovered that he had been in our neighborhood at least since the previous weekend. Most of the neighbors had seen him, some had given him food, but none knew who he belonged to. We decided to keep him inside (near-freezing temperatures outside) until we could find a place for him.

After the first night, we took him to the vet to see if he had been microchipped. Unfortunately, if an owner doesn't bother to give him a collar, he probably hasn't bothered to chip him either. No information. We decided to put flyers around the neighborhood, realizing that we probably wouldn't hear from anyone. We then asked several people if they would adopt him (as well as posting it on facebook), but nobody was looking for this kind of dog.

The only other thing left for us to do was to take him to a shelter. After spending another night at our house, the next morning we loaded him in the car and took him to the nicest shelter in the area. They were completely full and would not accept him. We asked what we were supposed to do, and the lady at the counter handed us a list of all of the other local shelters to call, which we did. None of them had any room for another dog, and those that might have considered it refused when they found out the dog was a pit bull. We even offered to sponsor the dog by paying for his vet bills and food. He was still refused. Our final option was to take him to the city pound and pray that somebody would see this sweet boy as the perfect addition to their family. It was devastating to leave him there.

This situation has highlighted so many things that are wrong. To some, stray animals might seem to be a minor concern in comparison with other issues in our society. To me, it is heartbreaking. It is heartbreaking that there are so many homeless animals that there is no room for another at the shelters. It is heartbreaking that a handful of irresponsible people have forever tainted an entire dog breed (Staffordshire Terriers, a.k.a. pit bulls) so that they are not welcome at most places or by most people.

My plea to my readers is this: please consider adopting a dog from your local shelter. Give these animals a chance. If you are absolutely set on a specific breed, do a little research and find the breed's rescue organization, and adopt from there. Please do not go to breeders. For every dog that is bought from a breeder, another animal spends another lonely night in a shelter, and the cycle is perpetuated. If you are not looking for another animal, please consider donating to your local animal shelter.

This is our baby that we rescued from the shelter in June 2009. She brings so much joy to our family.

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