First off, let me tell you the question: How do we ever solve the problem of all the dogs in the shelters?
Now that you know the question, you’ll have to ponder the answer… and to many there may be no answer. No way to ever see that every animal is safe, that they all get rescued and to be sure that every animal is loved for their entire life. It can be a pretty daunting task, and many give up. The problem is that every time a good person gives up, many more dogs die. I said a long time ago, “you can’t save all the animals in the world, but you can save one.” That has become my slogan and my mantra. I know that every life I touch and each life I save is saved because I care. If I didn’t care or if I gave up, that life might not be saved. Then I focus on the home-front and know that my dog has a forever home with me, and even if we have to live in my car, we will be together until one of us dies.
Now, onto the question at hand, what is the answer? Well there are a few. There are several things that have to happen to solve the pet over population situation. Let me first say that in this country we don’t really have an “overpopulation” problem, we simply have too many pets that people don’t want in particular colors, breeds and temperaments. There are people buying and looking for dogs all the time. And to simply state we have an overpopulation problem, does not address the issue. We have, in many cases, an ignorance problem. We have people who get dogs and don’t understand them or even grasp the concept that this dog will grow up. We have people who don’t train their dogs, don’t spay / neuter and others who are just plain idiots, those that breed their dog with the neighbor’s dog in order to show their children the miracle of birth. I would think it better to have a child watch a sex film, and then take them to the hospital and have them watch the birth of a child. That is more along the lines of what would make sense. Seeing a dog hump another dog and then 8 puppies born would not be realistic. People who do this are down right stupid. Dog breeding to show a child the miracle of birth is senseless. Unless of course you want to march your child down to the shelter a few months later and show them a barrel full of puppies, dead puppies. The one’s that didn’t get a home because of all the people exploring the miracle of child birth with their children.
Often times spay/ neuter is not readily available to a wide degree in poor areas. That is where we should be focusing much of our efforts. Mobile spay neuter vans can spay up to 75 or more pets in a day at a greatly reduced cost. The big name orgs could take a fraction of the money that they spend on marketing and actually fund these life saving events. Of course this probably would not be good enough PR to garner millions more in donations, so they just leave it to the little guys and then show up for a photo op.
Now, how about low cost vet services for people that can’t afford medical issues with their dogs. These are available and every now and then a person in a Cadillac will show up and screw the system. DAMN, but at least we know there are some places available. But yet another place that big rescue ogs could really help the desperate dogs of our society.
People could also spend more time volunteering at local shelters and help walk dogs, train shelter dogs, socialize them and make them more adoptable. Everyone who loves dogs possesses a skill that could save many dog’s lives, but that would involve giving of your time and caring. So many people I’ve met are constantly starting their own “rescue’s” because they feel pulling dogs out of the shelter and into their rescue is the answer. Is it? Well, no one is really sure. There are those that do great work, there are those that get the best dogs and sell them at a good profit under the guise of a non-profit and there are those that go off the deep end and have 170 dogs on their property until they get busted and many of those dogs that suffered at their house will now end up back in the shelter… and often times killed.
So, what is the answer? I would say moderation. People should be conscious not to take on more than they can handle. A focused volunteer protocol with a local shelter or rescue, doing what you can do, supporting small local rescues that actually do the work and putting pressure on the big orgs that you may support would make a big difference. Remember, only a couple of pennies of every dollar you give to those big ANIMAL orgs every gets to the animals and next to nothing ever trickles back to your local animal shelter.
I urge you to think locally and act in the best interest of your community. Help the animals where you live and investigate where your money goes when you donate. Volunteer and encourage people to keep their pets, help someone who can’t afford it with their vet bill if they are broke. Maybe suggest to your local vet to start a fund to help the poor in the area. Helping out with local rescues, shelters and mobile adoptions is a great benefit to the animals at risk in your community. Remember, charity starts at home. Think about helping others when your back yard is clean.