20 March 2011
Dogs are born with the desire to revolve around us. More than any other animal, dogs naturally want to please, protect, and be loved by humans. If you've ever walked into a room full of 8 week old puppies, you know what I mean. All of them (except maybe the shy one in the corner) will drop what they're doing and push and shove each other just for a chance to get close to you. As wonderful and interesting as other domesticated pets are, you probably aren't going to see this same ecstatic behavior with a group of baby horses, a litter of kittens or a bunch of baby birds.
Dogs want to belong to someone. They don't choose us; we choose them. We buy them and bring them home, and they adore us as if we were their number one choice for an owner. They quickly learn to anticipate fun with us, and how to adapt to our moods. It's always fascinating to me when I go to dog parks and each and every off leash dog there knows who they came with. They keep tabs on their person. They listen for their owner's voice. A dog's desire for us is uncomplicated and unconditional. Dogs want us.
Last night I was reading an article in Cesar's Way magazine about rescue organizations and shelter dogs. If anyone knows about giving dogs second chances, it's Cesar (also known as The Dog Whisperer) and a few main points and quotes in his recent articles really stood out to me. So I wanted to share them with our blog readers.
-This year alone, 4 to 5 million abandoned dogs and cats will be put down in Shelters across America.
- After three decades of declining numbers, experts say that the totals have begun rising in the past two years, largely because of the economic crisis.
- People have been leaving their dogs behind in their foreclosed homes. Many dogs have been found weeks after their owners left, tied to trees, or locked in garage or houses, starving and traumatized.
- Some cities are doing a better job at taking care of their strays. Austin, TX for example saves up to 90% of its strays, whereas Dallas and San Antonio euthanize 70 to 80%.
- The tight economy means fewer people are stepping up to adopt dogs.
Even though a great deal of dogs could be saved if more people would consider rescue, I believe it's equally a shelter's responsibility to make it as hassle free as possible for people to adopt. While it's good to do their best to ensure a dog will find a forever home, it's also important that potential adopters don't get turned away because they couldn't fill out a Q&A sheet exactly right. Too often it seems as though shelters lose their common sense and develop a counter productive system and even a cynical attitude toward would-be adopters. Of course, not all are this way by any means. But still, it's something to think about and it's why I couldn't agree more with the following quote, taken directly from Cesar's Way magazine:
"The municipalities that save the most dogs are the ones that allow the public to do the right thing", says Natahn Winograd. "They make adoption convenient, fun, exciting. The ones that fail have shelters that aren't clean, and customer service isn't great. They give people the third degree. Shelters have to understand that people looking to adopt have many other options"
Aside from the current economic state being a contributing factor to so many homeless dogs, I think another one is that sometimes people give up on their dogs a little too soon. Don't be afraid to ask for help. More often than not, there is a solution out there. If you're having trouble living with your dog, contact a trainer or experienced owner before you throw in the towel. Some things just take a little extra work and patience, but can pay off big time in the end. If you stick it out with your current dog, you may look back in a few years and wonder how you ever thought of giving him away. Taking responsibility for the pets already in our care can help greatly reduce the growing numbers of perfectly healthy ones being put down.
Also, doing research before getting a dog can literally mean the difference between life or death for him. Your neighbor's perfectly trained German Shepherd probably has more to do with the owner and the owner/dog chemistry than it does the breed, for example. In other words, just because a dog of a particular breed you know is wonderful doesn't mean that it's the breed for you. It just means it was a good match.
There are certainly circumstances where giving your dog away may be the best thing you can do for him and your family. And sometimes even after hard work people find that the dog they chose turned out to be a bad match. Even Cesar, who can fix almost any behavior problem and encourages people not to give up, will occasionally suggest that a particular dog be re-homed with a different type of person.
We are definitely lucky that there are so many no-kill rescues out there today, so if you find that you absolutely can no longer keep your dog, take advantage of these organizations.
"If you really feel you have to give up your dog because of foreclosure, don't wait until you're about to leave your home. Try to find a family to adopt him, or seek out a no-kill shelter. His chances of adoption will be much greater than if he's abandoned"
On that note, here are four dogs that are currently waiting for a new person or family to belong to. Each one really stood out to me and pulled on my heart strings, so I wanted to help spread the word!
Molly and Stella
(This beautiful photo was taken by Julie Austin Photography Also, check out Julie's blog, facebook, and twitter pages. She is wonderful!)
I saw Molly and Stella while casually looking on Petfinder.com. I can't explain why I was particularly touched by them, but I was! Stella is a Rat Terrier/Beagle mix and Molly is a Rat Terrier. They are looking to be adopted together and the description of them melted my heart for some reason, in fact, I could easily get teary eyed just looking at their pictures and video (which I watched several times!) I can just tell they are very special, loving little things who deserve a great home. You can find them at Motley Zoo Animal Rescue in Redmond, Wa.
Check out Stella and Molly's Petfinder pages for more information:
Tiger and Whitie
The other two are these guys, Whitie and Tiger; male Husky/Retriever mixes. I live a block away from Homeward Pet Adoption Center in Woodinville, and I see their volunteers walking adoptable dogs every day, rain or shine. For the past couple weeks I have noticed these two dogs were always being walked together, and they make such a striking pair. They look almost identical except for color and they are always walking so calmly side by side with whoever their volunteer walker is that day. I can't help but smile every time I see them. They have such a wise look to them, and it breaks my heart that they lost their home. Today I decided to look them up online and found out that like Stella and Molly, they are looking for a home together. They seem inseparable. I have a feeling they will make an excellent pair for the right family!
Check out their Petfinder pages for more details!
We would love to hear your rescue stories! Email them to TheHotDiggity@Hotmail.Com or post them here :)
I'm a satellite heart
Lost in the dark.
But no matter what you do
I'll be true to you.