Sunday, November 30, 2008

(Normal) "Holiday Blues" -- or, Something Else?

(Picture Left: Daisy, momentarily enjoying a belly rub. But, what does the future hold for her?)

These are downright dark and scary times in animal rescue and adoptions.

While we normally expect increases in animal abandonment and drop-offs in adoptions prior to any major holiday, I personally have never witnessed such extremes as we are experiencing now. And I've been in rescue almost 20 years.

There are constant and very desperate email "Alerts" from the shelters and from volunteers working at the shelters. Recent kill lists from the shelters include kittens, purebred cats and even a few small dogs.

We in fact, rescued a very loving, sweet, purebred Cocker Spaniel from the shelter yesterday who was on last week's "Euth list." The shelter simply ran out of space and time to keep Goldie any longer. If loving Cocker Spaniels can end up on a shelter kill list, what does that say for the larger mutts and Shepherd, Pit or Rottie mixes? What does it say for cats?

If I could normally feel confident about being able to place a small, purebred dog with a nice temperament (even when a senior dog), I am not at all confident now.

Even Foxy, our small and extremely loving and well behaved Pomeranian mix has failed to generate any qualified or serious adoption inquiries so far. And we've had Foxy almost a month now.

I'm not sure what exactly is going on.

Is it the normal "pre-holiday" ("I don't want to adopt right now, because I/we will be traveling over the holidays") downturns?

Or, is it something else?

Like, "I don't want to adopt right now because I'm not sure I'll still have a job or a home, six months from now."

I don't know.

I just know that while our abilities to rescue animals decreases due to a lack of fosters, boarding space and adoptions, the pressure on us to do so increases.

We currently have 6 dogs in boarding!

A couple of months ago, we experienced a very brief upsurge in dog adoptions when a number of our foster people elected to adopt their foster dogs. I thought we were finally out of the "summer doldrums."

But, unfortunately, I was wrong. We have been unable to recruit new foster people to replace the ones who adopted.

I try not to worry and fret over this stuff too much as its something we don't have ultimate control over.

We advertise the animals; try to get decent photographs and do nice write-ups and usually with some time, good and qualified homes come through.

And yet, what seemed to work so well in the past, just doesn't seem to be working now.

Yes, I try not to worry and fret too much, but deep down, I am very nervous.

Yesterday, I went to see and walk some of the dogs we have in boarding.

I am particularly concerned about "Daisy" -- the lovely Golden Retriever/Chow mix who was given up from a senior citizen unable to care for the lively, exuberant dog.

I remember the shelter worker telling me Daisy's former owner had requested euthanasia, not wanting her dog to be bounced from home to home or to end up being "warehoused" somewhere.

Have I honored the heartbroken former owner's wishes for her dog by rescuing Daisy? Or, am I in fact, just "warehousing" Daisy as the owner was seeking to avoid?

Daisy is a young, beautiful, vibrant, healthy and chock full of love and energy dog.

But, where to find that family or person who can give Daisy the care and exercise this dog needs?

So far, despite advertising her on three adoption sites, including Petfinders, we haven't had one inquiry on her.

Perhaps, Daisy's former owner knows something I don't.

It seems almost 20 years in animal rescue and placement hasn't taught me anything at all.

And yet, we still keep rescuing........

I guess because its what we "do."

We just can't think or worry too much, about what's waiting around the bend.

But, I am, right now, very, very nervous. -- PCA


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