I feel the need to rant. I might as well make use of the space. Spoiler alert: there are no solutions and I abhor pity, so don’t read if the state of the World gets you depressed. Disclaimer: I know there is a lot of good in the world and it’s my responsibility to be the change I want to see.
Today’s rant: I don’t know whether it’s just here in the deep South (probably not) but the degree to which animals, especially dogs and cats, are bred and then dispatched with, is deplorable to me. I belong to two online “yard sales” and I see pups and full grown dogs being “given away.” Not given to a local rescue group to foster and rehome, or even to the shelter? We’ll discuss high kill shelters and whether it is preferable to euthanize an animal or let it be abused/neglected or used as bait in fighting in another post. How do folks raise an animal, or take it into their homes, then one day just abandon it?
I live in a military town, and many folks who get deployed use services that foster their pets until they return from deployment. My neighbor just returned from six years in London, and told stories about how the Brits thought their sweet hound was a “mutt”; she is, she’s a rescue. And my new neighbors brought her with them overseas and here she is back in our town, soon to be a big sister to my neighbor’s soon-to-be-born baby.
How does one bring a Great Pyrenees into an apartment and then realize it is bored out of its mind and can’t move/run/do the work for which it’s bred, and then offer the dog for free, to anyone, no rehoming fee, no questions asked? (Yep, there is one right now on this “yard sale” site.) How does one own a German Shepherd from puppyhood, show pictures of yourself hugging it, and then post it’s available at no cost?
How does one just give away puppies and kittens because you “don’t believe in neutering” – oh lord don’t tell me it has something to do with protecting YOUR manhood. I go down the path that gerbils and small rodents are going to become snake food; I’ve done my time in pharmaceutical research and I know the deal (quick aside: no, PETA fans, animal labs do not get their subjects from shelters. The science behind the research requires a pure, consistent strain on animals for any results to be valid. Sigh. Another post….) Dog fighting is alive and well where I live, and in the surrounding areas; puppies and small dogs are snacks.
This doesn’t take into account the animals that are in my town that are chained up outside, barking out of anxiety and frustration. Does anyone believe they serve as protection? They are captives. The lucky ones break free and get hit by cars. No, I’m not as cruel as all that. If you have seen this situation over and over again, you can judge me.
Education is not the solution. Folks who abandon their animals always have justification: moving, new baby, change in animal’s behavior, busy work schedule, can’t afford them. I stayed in a homeless shelter with my cat in a carrier hidden behind a tree for three days until I found housing. I fed her chicken thighs I had stuffed in my pocket. You know that meme “Would you go without food so your pet could eat?” I’ve done it.
My local shelter is so eager to place animals they don’t have time to interview folks about their capacity to keep and care for an animal. Many people don’t even know what questions to ask about animal welfare, what it costs to maintain the health of a pet, how long an animal will live and what its needs are. From personal experience, I filled out a form, made a “commitment” to keep the animal, and walked out with a dog that was absolutely inappropriate for me. I got read the riot act by one of the shelter employees when I called and asked to bring the dog back, was told I was evil and deserved to die. I had “signed a contract and now” I “was reneging on it,” was what he told me and all he cared about. So I rehomed the dog with the help of friends and colleagues and this dog is now in the perfect home, and in return, I have the perfect service dog for my disability. I will never recommend this shelter as anything but a place to take unwanted animals. I laud the local rescue groups that selectively pull animals from the shelter, get them temperament tested and socialized, and work their hearts out to find their forever homes.
Why even bother with animal rescue when there is so much poverty, child abuse/neglect and homelessness with which to deal? I’m on a six year waiting list for housing, and some places are denying me housing APPLICATION because my disability is not mobility related. That’s another rant for another post. The reason I am speaking out is because these animals CAN’T. My depression leads me to a dark place where I rage that I had no say in being born, life is more than difficult and at times I wish I were dead, painlessly, because I just don’t want to hurt anymore, and that includes killing myself using violence.
So I take my service dog for a walk in the sunshine and take a deep breath. Many years ago, I had a signature file for my email that has become the tag line on my business cards “Saving the world, one puppy at a time.” It’s all I can do.