Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Sophie's Choices" (Reply)

(Picture Left: "Lou" -- Rescued from Euth list at city pound. Wonderful cat now doing beautifully in foster home. But, Lou's rescue was one of "Sophie's Choice" as others considered with him, have since been destroyed and now only live in memory -- and guilt.)

SKDean Writes: I also hope and pray for all of us in shelter/rescue that 2009 shows some progress toward stemming the flow of unwanted animals so that some day the services that we provide will no longer be necessary.

Reply: Our services will always be needed as long as humans keep pets. Disasters happen, illnesses and death occurs. People get arrested, evicted, become disabled or simply "move" and don't take their animals with them.

Like you, I too, would love to see the day when our services were no longer needed, but I know better than to wish for that.

Instead, I simply wish that most people would "get" certain realities, such as the critical needs to neuter pets and take responsibility seriously. I would love to see the day when no shelter gasses animals and a day when no shelter dog or cat is tagged with the ghastly, disparaging names given to them by past owners (such as "Rambo," "Busta," "Capone," "Gotti," "Mace," "Stinky," "Loon," just to name a few).

I would love to see a day when the term, "unadoptable" (and therefore slated for death) would no longer be used to cover everything from ear mites to nervousness when poked by a vet tech or pinched by a so-called, "Behavorist."

I would love to see a day when all shelter animals are correctly identified in terms of breed types and age and that shelters prioritized getting as much information from past owners as possible -- i.e. "Animal Profiles." (If we don't know the animals past, it is almost impossible to predict or speculate about the type of homes that are appropriate for them or even understand much of their current behavior.)

Finally, I would love to see the day when the numbers of available adoptive homes and rescue would match the numbers of animals arriving at shelters. I would love to see animals no languishing in boarding or "no kill" facilities for months or years. I would love to finally see an end to puppy mills and back yard breeders.

But, most of all, I would love to see the day when no cat or dog would be forced to die at the pound simply because there is no loving and committed home for him/her to go to.

I don't mind that our services are needed.

I do mind that they are all too often, "Sophie's Choice." --PCA



Lisa D. said...

It is indeed Sophie's Choice. I still remember the faces of some of the cats left behind when I picked out each of our 3 ACC cats.

So much of what you describe in your eloquent "wish list" could happen more frequently with education: spay and neuter, adopt, pay attention! People need to be made aware of the shelter situation in their own communities. It's painful, but each little step counts (though I know to someone like you, in the thick of it, that may not feel like the case).

As to the "unadoptable" animals, your story of Willow is an argument against that. There is a book recently published by the man who trained most of the Annie dogs (all rescues). There are several who would have been labelled "unadoptable," including one who had to live in his cellar for a time until he tamed the dog's aggressiveness. My little dog was at death's door after 5 years in a puppy mill and has made her way to a safe and happy life in Manhattan.

So many good stories, and, as you say, so many others without a happy ending. As always, thank you for your work and for your blog.

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