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Thursday, October 6, 2016

I Died Today: A Grim Reminder That Mindful Adoption is Our Responsiblity


Dear Readers,

If you've been following my posts on a regular basis you would know that I love writing about successful adoption stories but I rarely talk about the tragedies that occur due to pets landing in a home where owners do not take the responsibility to ask for help if their dog isn't behaving as they expect him to be and then, frustrated, the owners drop their dog off at the shelter to wait for a patient, knowledgeable soul to take him home but, tragically, many are euthanized because they became unhealthy, or they were overlooked because of its size, breed, age, or behavior.

I will let you in on a little secret: I've been interviewed for the position as an animal adoption counselor three times but have ended the interview as soon as I was told that they have a policy of euthanizing dogs who do not meet the adoptable status by a certain time frame. My response to their policy is that I believe that all dogs are trainable and should not be put in a one-size-fits-all category because no two dogs are alike in temperament or in the degree of trauma they went through prior to being dropped off by their owner who should've taken the responsibility to reach out for help as soon as their frustration level reached the tipping point. It saddens me to think that some owners neglect to seek help because they do not know what resources are out there that aren't cost prohibitive. For example, there are plenty of books and videos at the library and there are plenty of pet sitters, dog trainers, veterinarians, vet technicians, and even neighbors, friends, and relatives who would be more than happy to give a few pointers to get them on the road to a stable and happy relationship with their confused but lovable dog.

Please take a moment to read this poem that I was fortunate enough to find on Facebook and please pass this along to anyone who could use a reminder that dogs are our responsibility and are not a cast-off when things are going as smoothly as we'd like them to be.

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I died today. You got tired of me and took me to the shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left. My collar was dirty and too small, but the lady took it off before she sent me to the Rainbow Bridge . Would I still be at home if I hadn’t chewed your shoe? I didn’t know what it was, but it was leather, and it was on the floor. I was just playing. You forgot to get puppy toys. Would I still be at home if I had been housebroken? Rubbing my nose in what I did only made me ashamed that I had to go at all. There are books and obedience teachers that would have taught you how to teach me to go to the door. Would I still be at home if I hadn’t brought fleas into the house? Without anti-flea medicine, I couldn’t get them off of me after you left me in the yard for days. Would I still be at home if I hadn’t barked? I was only saying, “I’m scared, I’m lonely, I’m here, I’m here! I want to be your best friend.” Would I still be at home if I had made you happy? Hitting me didn’t make me learn how. Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach manners to me? You didn’t pay attention to me after the first week or so, but I spent all my time waiting for you to love me. I died today.
Love, 
Your Puppy

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