I Can’t Save Every Pet at Your Local Shelter, But I Know Who Can

You.  All of you in your local community, partnered with your rescue contacts in other communities.

You can advocate for the pets in your local kill shelter.  You can connect with others in your area and form a group.  You can talk to your local media about the needless killing going on in your public shelters and how other cities are doing a much better job saving lives.  You can make a presentation to your community leaders about the proven programs of the No Kill Equation.  You can contact your state politicians about introducing the type of law they passed in Delaware to save more lives.

This post is my answer to everyone who attempts to justify the needless killing of healthy/treatable pets in their local shelter by asking, “Are YOU going to save them all?”  No, I’m not.  I will not be renting a truck to drive to your community shelter from my home here in SC every week to load up every friendly pet on your community shelter’s kill list.  I will not be whisking them away to a magical land of fairies and sparkles.  Because those ideas are totally ridiculous.

In reality, it takes a group of dedicated animal advocates willing to stir things up in their own community by challenging the status quo and refusing to accept killing as a means of population control.  There are consequences to such actions:  old friendships may be broken, egos may be bruised, glass houses may be shattered.  This ain’t no fairy tale.  It’s hard work which will be met with resistance by some.  You will no longer be able to ride the I Love Everybody and Everybody Loves Me bus.  You will not be nominated for homecoming queen.  No soup for you.

Like all things in life, working to end the killing in your community is a choice you must make for yourself.  You can choose to carry on with the “save a few and kill the rest” status quo.  You’ll get to keep all your Facebook friends and play Farmville with them in between posting pets from kill lists.  Or you can choose to reject the idea of needless killing as justifiable in any way.  You’ll make some people feel uncomfortable and they will resent you for it.  But you’ll have the opportunity to educate and learn from others who are on the same path.  No longer will you feel an awkward compulsion to defend those who kill friendly pets in shelters while simultaneously advocating to save shelter pets.  You will have the clarity of mind that comes from knowing where you stand.

I am for no kill.  What are you for?  And why are you asking ME to save all the pets in YOUR community’s shelter?

What I will do – and this goes for anyone working toward no kill in their community – is support you via the blog in any way I can.  I will publicize your efforts, bring attention to your cause, promote your events – whatever I can do to help.  Just let me know.  This is how I choose to advocate.  This blog is what I’m doing to work toward no kill.  And I will be more than happy to share with readers how you are working to save the pets in your local shelter.  You.

I believe in you.

Leave a comment

9 Comments

  1. Erica

     /  March 26, 2011

    We can only hope that those who have recently “found” this blog will read this and instead of jumping on you for not saving all the animals, realize that they themselves hold the key!There is no magic serum that can be passed out to change the outcomes of shelter pets everywhere. Too often I see certain shelter suppporters jump on here blast away and disappear from the face of the earth…they got irked from a single post they disagreed with, came here, blasted everyone, and left. They expect everyone else to “fix-it” and, geez, Shirley, while we sit here blogging or cross posting…I guess that isn’t enough for them. God forbid anyone speak up about no kill and how to implement it…we are the devil. Too often I see the argument being that animals are killed everywhere and all we can do is the best we can with what we have. Plus, the old argument that it’s done everywhere so we should just expect it and deal with it. No thinking outside the box, no suggestions will help…we’re wrong and they are right. Period.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. It needed to be said. And you ARE right, deciding to stand up and make yourself heard WILL lose you friends – it doesn’t matter what you stand for there will ALWAYS be someone against it. I would rather lose a million ‘friends’ over standing MY ground, because IF they really were my friends they would support me. So, to hell with the haters…stand up and do what YOU think is best for the shelter pets. Our ‘friends’ can go play with their imaginary animals on Farmville…I’d rather fight for the real animals stuck in shelters ANYDAY!

    Reply
  2. Nathan J Winograd

     /  March 26, 2011

    I haven’t had soup in 20 years.

    Reply
    • Stephen

       /  July 26, 2011

      Nor have I, Nathan… soup that doesn’t contain some considerable measure of pet hair, anyway…

      Reply
  3. Morgana

     /  March 26, 2011

    Amen Shirley.

    Reply
  4. Okay, I’m addicted to both Farmville and CafeWorld…so you can de-friend me if you must. (Although it’s really quite simple to *hide* any games you don’t want to be bothered by without ditching the people who think differently from you.)
    Thank you for believing in me Shirley. It helps, it really does!
    I’ve made and lost a few friends. I’ve formed and joined a few groups. I don’t have the fresh enthusiasm to start all over again. But every day I feed and water dogs that either did or didn’t get shuffled into but were not destroyed by the broken system.
    I can’t save them all. But I can do my part to save SOME and advocate and support others to do the same.
    The weak link in this system is that there are those who wish to declare the standard of *saving* above that which some people can maintain.
    What we must each explore personally is that place in our hearts and minds where an animal *would be better off dead.* Because some of you (probably not you personally Shirley, but certainly some of your readers and some of your commenters) might think this way about some of my dogs, and most certainly about some of the adopters I have placed dogs with.
    Well, heck, if we’re shooting for full disclosure, I’ll have to admit that sometimes I wonder if I am doing the right thing and if some of my old guys might indeed be better off dead. But I shall fight FOREVER to maintain my ability to make that decision for myself! I don’t mind medical opinions, and deep thoughtful conversations with other moral and ethical folk, but I will fight long and hard to keep *the government* (and yes, you people) from taking the right to make that important decision away from me!
    And, if I might ask, WHY do people feel the need to have/take control of other people’s animals when there are already so many that are homeless and in need of help and support?! It’s like a retriever with a tennis ball. They’ll collect one or two, but then go absolutely nutso to get one away from another dog when they already have more than they can manage on their own!

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  March 26, 2011

      LynnO – I must say I have always thoroughly enjoyed your posts. You have always been straightforward and honest, even if you feel (or know) that others may disagree with you. And, to be perfectly honest – I have had my fair share of people that disagree with me choosing the pit bull type dogs to rescue & rehab because in their eyes the dogs are either unredeemable or there is already an over abundance of them and I shouldn’t “waste my time” on them when there are so many other dogs that they feel would be better off being saved. But, like you, I continue to do what I feel is best for those that I do save. Sometimes I worry that the ‘wrong’ person will end up with one of *my* dogs just because of their breed and wonder if they wouldn’t be better off dead than sent to a new home. Yet, in all the years I have been doing this there is ONLY 1 dog that I had problems with – or should I say one ‘owner’ that abused the dog I put in his possession by trying to return her to the fighting world. Sadly, she ended up confiscated and ultimately killed. The shelter even refused to allow me to be with her when she was put down…broke my heart to know that she would spend the last moments of her life with people that didn’t know her or love her like I had.

      I appreciate what you do for the animals you save. You love them and save them one at a time and help make their lives better. I can’t imagine that any of them would be better of dead…just knowing that you love them and do what is best for them I think that the judgment you make on each dog and potential new home is that you are using your heart and brain. I am pretty sure that if you felt a dog would be better NOT to be in a home that you also are more willing to continue to keep the dog until you do find the right home. Keep doing what you ARE doing and let those who disagree with you do so…you can’t please everyone all of the time, right?

      Trust yourself and trust your instincts….I’m pretty sure that you do the absolute best that you can given the situation you find yourself in.

      Reply
  5. Tonya

     /  March 26, 2011

    Great post Shirley!

    Shared!

    Reply
  6. Debbie Smith

     /  July 25, 2011

    As always, you have nailed it. I LOVE your writing – sure hope you aren’t tired of hearing how good you are, lol! As always, thank you for your clarity, succinct style, and directness. BRAVO!!!!!

    Reply
  7. Cee

     /  July 25, 2011

    Great advice, Shirley. I started getting involved locally while at the same time learning about what other communities were doing.

    We have the support & desire from our excellent rescue groups but we’re having difficulty reaching the public. The rescues have been intimidated for a long time and those who are silent appear to be rewarded. I’m at odds as to how much to go public with, or just give them info about what other communities are doing. To understand the issues, I believe people need to know what is possible.

    Reply

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