has been designated
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
Adopt not Shop
I remember hearing the tune, “How much is that doggie in the window” when I was a kid and wondered why in the world would anyone ever BUY a dog? I thought dogs all came from your neighbor’s friend’s cousin’s dog that just had a litter. I remember when we got a puppy, she has no pedigree, no papers, except for those we had to put on the floor in case she didn’t make it outside in time. We called her Lady, because she was a girl dog. For fourteen years, we had the best companion in the world and when we had to say goodbye, the entire family accompanied her to the Vet’s. We couldn’t have loved her more if we HAD bought her from a store.
Lady found her way into our lives through friends of my parents and she was lucky. We’d see dogs all the time, in the alleys behind our house who seemed to have no family, no home and who were constantly running from the dog catcher. Sometimes we’d be able to pet them, give them a biscuit or a drink of water but that was the very least we could do for these homeless pups. Without proper care, they were at risk for dying from everything from exposure to being poisoned (intentionally or unintentionally) and just as frightening, breeding even more street dogs. I doubt we understood exactly where the dog catcher took the dogs once they were caught but we knew it was not going to be a happy place.
When Lady had her first litter, we had 5 wriggly bundles of fur to care for until they could be adopted by loving families. They were lucky pups because we found them each a loving home. It wasn’t until she had her second litter that we learned there were fates faced by some dogs that brought tears to our eyes and pain to our hearts. Lady had 9 puppies her next litter and developed milk fever immediately. We had to take the puppies from her at two days old and because the Vet didn’t have a momma dog who could nurse them, they were all euthanized. We asked what might have happened had they lived, and the Vet said he would have turned them over to a shelter in hopes they’d be adopted.
A shelter! The very word sounded comforting and safe for dogs. It took years before I was standing in an animal shelter. It was heart breaking. To see all the animals in cages, pleading with their eyes to go home with you or cowering in the corners of their cramped quarters because they were so afraid. If it had been within my power, I’d have taken them all home. But what I could do, was help get the word out that there were some awesome animals available for adoption.
At the time, I ran a television studio and we were always creating public service announcements (PSA’s) for non-profits. I decided that as a graduation requirement for the television course I taught, the class would have to write, shoot and produce a PSA for the local Humane Society. The shelter got the dogs (and cats) spruced up and the students made many wonderful PSA’s. People came to the shelter, adopted animals and many happy families were created.
There are so many dogs who are turned over to shelters, daily. Some need to be re-homed because their owners have died, moved or simply can no longer afford to provide a safe home. While puppies may be adopted rather quickly, there is a such a wide variety of ages available. Some dogs are mixed breeds but you may also find that purebred ready to come into your home. Yes, there is generally a fee required to adopt a dog from a shelter but I have been told these fees are for spaying, neutering and shots. Check with your shelter for specifics. Technically, you are not buying the dog, merely making sure your new friend is healthy.
Perhaps you can open your home and heart to a pooch who is just waiting for a fur-ever family.
Maybe you can help to spread the word and you might even have time to volunteer at an animal shelter.
What about being a foster parent, providing an opportunity for a shelter dog to become used to being with a family again before being permanently adopted.
The shelter is a roof over a head, a place for a dog to live but the shelter of a loving heart, creates a beautiful life for more than just a dog.