14 Oct A hard day in rescue
Friday, Oct 11th was one of the hardest days I’ve had in rescue for quite a while. To most, what I did was nothing more than a kind act, to help a troubled rescue dog find his forever home. Spending over 12 months at his current shelter, Charlie was getting little interest and passed over by most who came in to find their canine companion. So we decided to transfer him to a different location to afford him a better chance of a forever home. However, as one of the very few people that Charlie trusted in the world, I know that in his mind, I violated that. For he has no clue why we spent a wonderful 4hr car ride together, only for me to leave him behind, in a strange place with strange people. Good people, but he doesn’t know that yet. As of today, nothing is familiar to Charlie. And while our shelter was certainly not his home, it was at least a place that he had come to understand. It was also where he got to spend time with one of his few friends in this world. Me.
We can do better than this. So many of these bad choices are avoidable!
in the name of hope
I have cried many tears since I left him and drove back to my shelter with two other rescue boys, a pit mix and a husky, who are also having to get used to their new surroundings. I arrived back with them around 730pm last night, and after 4hrs of getting to know these guys, I helped them out of the truck, let them pee, placed them in their new kennel and turned off the lights. Leaving them in a strange place with strange people. While I certainly didn’t have the relationship with those two as I did with Charlie, there was nothing about that day that made me feel like I had carried out a good deed. Even if it was all done in the name of hope.
3.5 million humans make bad decisions every year
Those boys are just three of 3.5 million dogs that find themselves in the shelter system every year, due to humans making bad decisions. Decisions such as:
- To breed their dog just to make some quick cash
- To not get their pet microchipped
- To get a puppy when they have no way of financially supporting her
- To rescue a dog, expecting him to settle after a few short days
- To raise a puppy and a baby/toddler at the same time
- To choose a breed that is completely incompatible with their lifestyle
- To buy a dog as a gift for their child or other family members/friends
- To adopt a dog when they do not have permanent living arrangements
We can do better than this. So many of these bad choices are completely avoidable. We CAN decide to take advice from professionals before deciding to adopt a puppy or rescue dog and make sure that we are ready for the task ahead. We CAN make sure we have considered every possibility, and have the support to get through those difficult days, weeks or even months. We CAN make sure that we educate ourselves on how to raise a puppy. We CAN make sure that the behavior advice we are following is scientifically proven and offered by a certified professional. We have the power to make all these decisions. The problem is that many of us don’t. 3.5 million of us to be exact.
#Be Mutt Mindful
Operation BeMuttMindful has been created in honor of Charlie, the two boys I spent 4hrs with on my way home, the hundreds of dogs I have worked with within the shelter system and every dog that is currently waiting for their second chance. It’s a 4-week online group program that will start on Saturday, November 2nd. Think of it as a prenatal class for pet parents if you will. A course that will provide knowledge about the entire dog adoption process, from where to adopt, which breeds would make suitable companions for you and how to prepare for living with a puppy or rescue dog. In turn, knowing what to expect from that first day, all the way through to adulthood will go a long way towards reducing a pet parents’ anxiety and prepare them for the rollercoaster of a journey they are about to endure. Just think about how we could change the world if every pet parent enrolled in this program? The more prepared we are, the fewer mistakes we’ll make. In this world, dogs like Charlie and millions like him will never need to know what shelter life is all about.
I would be so appreciative if you could help spread the word of this new initiative by sharing this post to as many people as you can. We can change this, but it’s going to take a village.