The Unwashed Masses Strike Back – Part 3

I’m sure you are all familiar with the evil public:  Irresponsible pet owners who refuse to neuter their pets and callously force kindly shelter workers to spend their work days killing friendly pets.  You know – those people, a.k.a. all of us.

It is the public’s fault that bad things happen to shelter pets.  Which is why it was so shocking to come across these recent stories of members of the public responding to a need in our communities.  Clearly, these are aberrations, just like the folks in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series:

  • This article profiles three home based rescues on Orcas Island, WA.  One focuses on less likely to be adopted senior dogs, another on Dalmatians, and the third networks to save dogs in rural shelters in CA.
  • After 25 neglected dogs were rescued from a debris filled home and brought to a NJ shelter, the shelter was “inundated with calls” from people offering to donate, adopt or otherwise help.
  • In Georgia, rescuers are raising money to build a shelter so they can help more dogs than the ones they currently house at an area vet clinic.  A local teenager is helping by selling eggs from her pet chickens and donating the money to the shelter.
  • A mom in FL visited her local shelter and saw the dogs lying on the cold concrete floor.  She found plans to make dog cots on the internet and sits at her dining room table with her two sons making dozens of durable dog beds out of mesh and PVC.  Volunteers get them delivered to area shelters in need.
  • A pet owner in MI was thinking about getting a second dog (in addition to her Chihuahua) when she came across a listing for a 10 year old rescue dog weighing 99 pounds.  She offered to bring him home, sight unseen, thinking he might not have that great of a chance at being adopted.  Provided all goes smoothly at home, she’ll be adopting him permanently.

Let’s be clear:  There are irresponsible people in the world.  Some of them have pets.  Of those, some just need education and a hand up to become responsible pet owners.  Others though, seem to be willfully irresponsible.  They represent a minority with regard to pet owners in general but to some shelter workers, that minority may seem far bigger than it really is due to the nature of their work.  I can understand how someone could lose perspective.

As such, I feel it’s important to remind ourselves that most people are well-intentioned, caring folks who love their pets.  When they learn about a homeless pet in need, they will try to help.

The public is every shelter’s best friend.

That’s why I hate to hear shelter directors blaming “the public” for the killing of healthy/treatable pets.  Imagine if we stopped the blaming, stopped the killing and established a strong relationship with the aim of  making every community a no kill community.  The public has the will.  Will directors of kill shelters join us and help lead the way?

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7 Comments

  1. alice in LALA land

     /  August 19, 2010

    “irresponsibility” is a vague term when it comes to animals.. ones mans best friends dog house is another mans best friends jail.. a tether that holds a dog from harm is an horror to people like Tammy Grimes ( who makes a living out of her “dedication” to seeing dogs “off the chain” no matter how safe they are).. One person feeds Old Roy while another thinks that is abusive..or at least.. not a good thing..many think all dogs need to live in close proximity with humans to be happy.. not so for many.. hubris sometimes on our part..many call dogs “neglected’ because they do not a. live inside b. eat food that is plain c. spend sometime on a tether d. don’t go for walks everyday e. aren’t castrated ( for their own good , you know and more.. dogs usually need three things.. food water and shelter.. bit many who do get that are called “neglected” and are the reason for “raids’ by Animal Rights people.. many of whom ( in the upper ranks ) do not even own a pet themselves..

    Reply
    • Sounds a bit defensive and cynical. Dogs need more than food/water/shelter. Veterinary attention, daily exercise, just to name two. Their intelligence is well documented, so keeping them chained up as a means of confinement is the equivalent of a prison sentence. Yes, everyone has their opinions about how to care for kids, dogs, cats… my opinion is that keeping dogs chained most of the time is cruelty, but so many people still do that. I’d never adopt a dog to someone who planned to chain it up and refused to neuter.

      I’m liking this blog so far.

      Reply
    • Eric

       /  August 23, 2010

      Anyone who thinks an emotional animal such as a dog needs only food, water and inadequate shelter is wrong. It is that simple.

      Reply
  2. What I have come to believe is that each and every one of us humans can and should do better. And we “shelter workers” and rescue volunteers are not exempt! (It’s just that shelter workers get PAID to try…) But us calling them irresponsible is just the pot calling the kettle black.
    I choose to lead by example. And that includes offering understanding and compassion to human animals as well as canine, feline and all the rest.
    Even those that do way more than me, they worry about not doing enough! So I love them and accept them where they are and hope that they can find peace within themselves and not need to go looking outside themselves for people to belittle or harass so as to not feel so bad about themselves.
    Our way up and out of this mess we call life is to love. The unwashed masses show us that!
    My vet sent me a quote this morning…I lost a 13 year old canine friend yesterday. (She didn’t know who she was quoting, but we both found it very appropriate.)
    “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece
    of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”
    Thank you all for sharing. I love it.
    -lynnO

    Reply
  3. mary frances

     /  August 19, 2010

    me too lynnO – sorry for your loss – never gets easy and I love your comment –

    my friend gave me a cartoon of a very cute fat kitty with the saying above it…

    “I love you just the way I am.”

    I thought it was funny and a deep thought for a cartoon kitty….tolerance and love always the best way – we just keep on truckin’ toward that goal I think.

    Reply
  4. mary frances

     /  August 19, 2010

    This series will be shared with others I know – many gratefuls to Yesbiscuit.

    Reply

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