There was a bittersweet story in the news about a handsome young dog who survived a gas chamber. Granted a reprieve, the shelter has received about 100 applications from around the country from people who would like to adopt the plucky pup.
I can understand why seeing Daniel the wonderdog in the news would tug at the heart-strings and make people want to rescue him, but I was saddened by the story's statement that about half the applicants said they didn't want to adopt another pet if the survivor dog wasn't available. Where were those people BEFORE Daniel got gassed? I can't believe so many people would be blind to all the other anonymous pooches and kitties that will be put to death because no one cares and there are simply not enough resources to responsibly care for all these unwanted pets.
Let's be honest-- we as humans have had a great hand in the engineering of dog and cat breeds. We have made them what they are, really, and although animals can survive in the wild, we've bred pets-- particularly dogs-- to trust us and to be the gorgeous, loving things they are. We fail them if we don't do all we can to prevent unwanted litters from being conceived, and we fail them if we don't do all we can to see they are taken care of.
My pet story has unfolded here over the years. My first dog, Valentine, was kept as an only pet, and I was ignorant and though she was happy, I now know she could have been happier. When she died, I got one of her descendants, Praline, and I've been much more responsible. I wanted to get another pup to be a packmate with Praline so she wouldn't have as solitary a life as Valentine. I mentioned this to my vet and they practically forced me to take Chuy. "We have the perfect dog for you! He is wonderful!" My vet had rescued an entire litter of chihuahua/wiener pups from a shelter. I fought it. I always said I'd never have a chihuahua OR a dachsund, and here I was getting the best of both breeds. I could see how adorable he was, but I was still grieving Valentine and Praline was just so perfect that Chuy seemed like a booby prize to me at first.
The real boob in the story was me, because that little chiweenie-- that little beaner-schnitzel -- wended his way into my heart and is more snugly ensconced there than any heartworm ever dreamt of being. My pets have made me a better person, and if you ever look at a dog online at a shelter and feel stirred and you have the money and time and will not put yourself in the poor-house for doing so, pleasepleaseplease go to a shelter and get a pet. What you spend on the adoption will be nothing compared to what the little critter will do for you. And you may not realize it, but a pet can heal your heart like few things in life.
The life you save may be your own.
If you can't afford to adopt, but you could spare a little money, find a local no-kill shelter and send them $5 or $10 every month or so, and you'll be contributing to solving the homeless pet problem. Or go to the no kill shelter occasionally and help them walk and play with the animals. However small a gesture, it will mean worlds to the animal(s) you help. Don't cheat yourself out of that.