When the Shelters are Full ...

When the shelters are full….

Today is one of those days…when the *URGENT* posts go out from a shelter (there are many but I’m mainly referring to Athens Clarke County Animal Control), https://athenspets.net desperately seeking help from anyone willing to foster, adopt, sponsor. Anything, because time has run out. It won't stop; it never stops. The number of strays and owner surrenders coming in. Some of them were just adopted and then returned within the week because the adopters didn't really think through what owning a dog entailed: time, patience, exercise, potty training, etc. Sometimes shoes are left on the floor getting chewed up, barking because they are scared, vet visits, annual shots, heart worm and flea treatment monthly.  So back they come, and now as an owner surrender they jump ahead in line, closer to death than they were before. and now the shelter is full again. 

A shelter dog spends probably 23 out of 24 hours (on a good day) inside a concrete run. They can smell each other, hear each other, see each other. They watch people come and go, and they can beg and plead to just get out; but the harder they beg, the louder they may bark and cry, and the less chance of someone taking them out. It is the ultimate conundrum- they want to be heard, they want you to see them, but the louder they are the less adoptable they become because many don’t get a chance to show people what they are like on the other side of that gate.  Makes me think of a person who is lost at sea. The random ship comes by and they are so, so, so close but they don't stop. They can’t hear with all the noise so they just stay on course and off into the night they go. Days, weeks, months go by and some just start to give up, break down physically and emotionally. They just want it to stop. 

The guilt that I feel on days like today, when i can’t help save one of the dogs is just soul crushing. So imagine how it must feel working at the shelter, or regularly volunteering at the shelter and getting to know these dogs. Imagine being an animal control officer and picking up the starving, abused, neglected, forgotten dogs found after being dumped on a lonely country road. Literally dying of thirst and/or exhaustion because when they were tossed from the car they didn’t understood and ran and ran after the car waiting for it to stop so they can jump in, but the car just kept going.  Or the ones left behind by their “owner” when they moved. Or the  female pibbles used strictly for breeding and when of no more use they are thrown away like trash. What are they really like hidden behind that fear? Too many often don't get a chance to thrive and shine. Imagine being the one that has to take them back and put them down. 

And lastly, imagine the hell those 700 dogs rescued from a puppy mill this week have lived through. There are no words sometimes. Just lots of tears. https://www.wcvb.com/article/700-dogs-found-in-horrific-conditions-as-part-of-extreme-hoarding-puppy-mill-case/26625158

Together though we can all help make a difference!!