I need to talk to you about something.
I know, I know, you came here for puppy pictures and puppy stories and happy endings; I promise there will be plenty of that.
But first, I need to address something that’s been on my mind and my heart, and then, I’ll share lots of puppy pictures. You’ll get so many, you’ll be like – Quit with the puppy pictures, I’m sick of looking at those puppies!
Most days I don’t have a lot of spare time to think about the larger issue of dog rescue because I’m busy rescuing dogs.
Now and again, I have a moment to consider what can be done about the situation beyond the band-aid that is my puppy room, and so many like it.
OPH, and rescues like it, do amazing work, and yet there remains an endless stream of unwanted dogs whose lives are in danger of being extinguished because of any number of situations that have nothing to do with that individual dog’s breed, behaviors, or health.
Last month, I heard the term ‘economic euthanasia’ for the first time at a gathering of our rescue volunteers and it has haunted me ever since.
I’ve wondered, is it possible dogs are dying because of simple lack of funds?
In part, yes. Shelters in many of our southern states and around the world do not have budgets or facilities that can care for the number of dogs entrusted to their care. They need money for food, staff, equipment, buildings, medical care. When there is not enough money to feed, house, and treat the dogs, the dogs are euthanized, regardless of how ‘adoptable’ or ‘healthy’ they are. I think we all want to believe that doesn’t happen, especially in a country as rich as ours, but it does.
Here is a recent message sent to an OPH shelter coordinator from one of our shelters in South Carolina after they learned that we would be unable to pull dogs from their shelter because our foster homes were full:
Over the holiday weekend, the shelter took in 44 dogs – and the inflow continues every day as always.
There was minimal space available for intake last Friday and it was quickly filled. On Monday the euthanizations began. The first to go were dogs surrendered on Friday because their people were going away for the weekend and didn’t want to be bothered with finding someone to care for their pet. Court cases and strays take precious space because they must be held for specific periods of time.
The sight of beautiful dogs lying dead on the floor, to never having another chance at life, is beyond heartbreaking.
We were counting on next week’s transport to save precious lives, so this news is devastating. We are so very grateful for the many dogs saved thus far by OPH.
Today, I’m praying for a miracle.
I read that as Willow sat beside me, her head on my thigh. OPH pulled Willow and the Chocolate Factory pups from that very shelter.
Money could make a difference at that shelter, not just in terms of much-needed food, medical supplies, and space, but to help them increase staff so that more could be done to advertise their dogs, educate their community, and provide resources to the families that adopt from their shelter so there are fewer owner surrenders. Money is what made it possible for Willow and her pups to be flown out of there before their time was up.
So, yeah, money is good. (There are several ways you can help us raise money listed at the end of this post – one only involves the strategic use of your computer, the other does involve your pocketbook.)
But money alone will not solve the problem of economic euthanasia- dogs dying because there isn’t enough money/space/time to save them.
The one thing that can have the biggest impact on the lives of dogs endangered by economic euthanasia doesn’t involve money, it involves YOU. (Yes, YOU, this is not the collective/generic you I’m talking about.)
The bottom line is this: If we have more foster homes, we save more dogs.
If we have enough foster homes, we save all the dogs that are dying from economic euthanasia.
End of story.
No more need for this blog.
If shelters are not overwhelmed stretching strained budgets and trying to decide which dogs they can afford to save and which will have to die, they would have time to do the work they were built to do—serve their community. Not only could they care properly for the dogs in their shelter, they could educate, support, and be a resource for their community and in doing that, perhaps stem the tide of dogs arriving at their shelter.
Because I know that you have many good reasons why you cannot foster a dog, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty (much), but I am trying to make you consider the possibility. I’d like to plant in your heart the kernel of the idea of YOU as a foster. For just a moment, consider what that might look like. You don’t have to foster a hundred dogs or entire litters of puppies, but you could foster one or two or ten a year.
My book coming out in August is not just the story of my family and our first fifty foster dogs, it is also a plea. My greatest hope is that by sharing the good, bad, ugly, and magical reality of fostering dogs, other people will say, You know, I could do that.
Because you could.
And it will change the world.
My daughter gave me a little sign that hangs outside my puppy room. It says,
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog the world will change forever.”
If you’d like to know more about fostering through OPH, click here. If you don’t live in Virginia, Maryland, DC, or South Central PA, look up a rescue or shelter near you. I’m happy to answer any of your questions or point you in the correct direction. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll get to the puppy pictures momentarily, but first, here’s how you can help OPH win grant money to save more dogs like Willow and her pups.
All you have to do is vote for our story. Follow this link and then click to vote for Major and OPH. It’s super simple (and they don’t even ask for your email). You can vote from multiple devices, multiple times. Please vote and then please SHARE.
This month I’m taking part in the Spring2Action campaign to raise money for my favorite cause – OPH. If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, please consider making a tax-deductible donation (of any size). I’m raising money to fund emergency transports, like the one that saved Willow and the pups. I’m almost halfway to my goal and I could sure you use your help! Thanks! Here’s my fundraising page.
And, as promised, here are your puppy pictures! The Chocolate Factory pups are adorable and messy and most importantly, safe. All the pups have approved adopters and Willow has several applications, so for them at least, there is a happy ending.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present and extra puppy pictures, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.
COMING AUGUST 2018 from Pegasus Books: