According to the Humane Society of the United States, about four million adoptable dogs and cats are put to sleep every year. I am most reminded of this startling statistic when I have a foster dog. Right now I have Forest, and although I don't know whether he was officially saved from death row, just being in the over-crowded shelter put him at risk of euthanasia. Sierra was going to be put down in Arkansas, and so was Lassiter (who is now in a different foster home since I have Forest). It blows my mind that these wonderful, affectionate, and happy dogs would be dead. Sierra was adopted and has made an older couple and their dog very happy, Forest is well on his way to an awesome home, and Lassiter already has multiple applicants who would love to take him home. These wonderful dogs were SO close to their death, but instead are one step away from amazing forever homes.
Sometimes I am kept up at night thinking about the millions of amazing animals, like these three that I have known, who are put to sleep instead of getting the happy ending that they deserve. Some are strays who were dumped, or never looked for. Some are the victims of bad economic times, a divorce, or their "families" changing their mind about wanting a dog after they had an accident, or chewed up a shoe. And even purebred dogs can come into these circumstances every day. Almost every breed of dog has a rescue out there to adopt from. Many of these dogs are put to sleep because there is not enough space in a shelter, or enough money to treat their ailments when sometimes all it takes is a shot, or an antibiotic.
There is not one thing to blame, but many changes that need to be made for this problem to be overcome. Pets need to be spayed and neutered. People need to adopt pets for life, know the commitment they are getting into, and honor it. When possible, pets should be adopted through humane societies and rescue groups, and NEVER bought in pet stores. And people need to help, volunteer, foster, adopt, donate, or simply share the message.
|One of my favorite awareness ads.|