Bessie

I fell in love when I first saw her. She was old and ugly in that way that is endearing. She looked at me through the bars of her kennel with rheumy eyes that spoke of things I didn’t want to know. One ear stuck up straight, the other flopped, giving her a lopsided look. Her old, gray face was tired. She had served her previous master well with untold numbers of litters now weighing down her tits so low they reached the ground. Her people got what they wanted from her. She got nothing. I opened her kennel door and I spoke to her – quietly – but I am sure she understood me.

Today I ran right to her kennel and she looked at me, wouldn’t stop looking at me even though others stood before her kennel. After 2 weeks of being confused, though well taken care of and loved by everyone in the shelter, she was going to a foster home where she would be warm, cozy, and loved by a family. Wonderful news for her. I started my shift whispering sweet somethings in her ear and when my shift was done, she was gone. Her kennel still held the blanket she cozied up on, and the toy some kind soul gave her, but her essence was gone, and as ashamed as I am to admit it, I had to wipe away a few tears of grief and loss. Please, family, give her the love she needs and deserves.

Walking Dogs in Winter

It’s cold. Today I walk the shelter dogs. My heart is warm.

Photo by Ryan Bruce from Burst

Abandoned Pets

All wags, all wiggles, all bone. Despite being horribly abandoned by his owners, this little puppy greets all humans with great joy and excitement.

Abandoned – no one knows for exactly how long, certainly long enough to become a wiggly bag of bones – when his people left their home –and him, without water or food.

I do not know the back story but suspect someone heard his cries and called our animal services who brought him to a place of warmth, with plenty of food to fatten him up, his own kennel – all inside, and plenty of staff and volunteers to love him up.

Abandoning a poor helpless animal is despicable. No matter how desperate someone may be, there are options far better than to leave the animal with no hope of taking care of itself.

Why Are Pets Abandoned?

Here are some reasons why people say they abandon pets.

  1. Too busy – The pet takes more time than the owners thought, or they just don’t want to bother anymore.
  2. Too big – That cute little puppy or kitten grew into a much larger dog or cat.
  3. Too expensive – Little did they know that pets need medical care, too.
  4. Too “unhealthy” – No way should a new baby be exposed to a dirty animal.
  5. Too bothersome – The pet just doesn’t have a place in our new home or apartment.

By the Numbers

The good news is that the number of dogs and cats in shelters has declined since 2011. The bad news is that nearly 6.5 million pets end up in shelters each year. This does not include the number of animals wandering the streets as strays. Of these, 1.5 million pets in shelters are euthanized yearly, but this number has declined since 2011 by 2.6 million.

What do these numbers mean? They mean that things are happening, that awareness for the plight of homeless pets has increased and more people are opting to adopt.

Back to our skinny-boy. After a week in the shelter, I almost didn’t recognize him. His bones were not protruding nearly as much and he almost looked like a “normal” dog. As this shelter often does, he was put into a foster home where he’d get much more attention and the comfort of living in a real-live home until he eventually finds his way into a home of his own.