Saturday, March 01, 2008

No More Homeless Pets

This morning I'm getting ready to head over to the Lawrence Humane Society. I'm especially excited about going to exercise dogs and take their pictures today because it's actually supposed to be warm outside--around 60 degrees!! With that said, there are definitely weekends that I don't feel like volunteering: when the weather is bad, when I don't feel good, when there's stuff around my house that needs to be done, when I feel bad about leaving my own dogs to spend time with other dogs, when I'm tired from a long training walk (during the 3-Day season), when I haven't spent enough time with my husband during the week--the list goes on and on. For the most part, I generally go anyway.

A lot of people don't really understand why I spend so many weekend hours at the shelter. I can't tell you the number of times people ask me if I still "work" there, as if it's my second job for which I'm actually paid. When we're talking about weekend plans, my friends frequently ask if I "have" to go to the shelter. I never have to go. The shelter won't close down if I'm not there, although I will catch some good-natured flack from the staff if I don't show. It's more like I need to go. I need to go because the dogs need me. They need exercise, they need companionship, they need training and they need socialization if they're ever going to get out of that place. While many of them will meet their forever families just by hanging out at the shelter and being cute, many, many others will first be introduced to a family through their Petfinder ad. I want every dog to have that opportunity. That's the main reason I need to be there--to take their pictures for Petfinder. My short-term goal is to have every available dog and puppy have their own little space on the web so that their forever family will find them.

My long-term goal is much different. Eventually, I'd like to have my weekends back. My goal is to not go to the shelter every weekend. My dream is that there won't be hundreds and hundreds of homeless animals who've been discarded by their original families living in tiny cages. My hope is that our society will become better educated about spaying and neutering their pets, so that there won't be 10 litters of adorable yet unwanted puppies growing up at the Lawrence Humane Society at any given time. My desire is that families who are thinking of adding a four-legged member would think first of rescuing a homeless animal instead of buying a puppy from a breeder. My wish is that people would become educated about how many purebred, well-behaved, well-adjusted dogs there are available from breed-specific rescues around the country. My dream is that our society would start thinking first about saving a life instead of thinking about their own selfish wants when it comes to owning a pet. My hope is that people would someday realize that somewhere around 7 million animals are euthanized in U.S. shelters every year. To me, this is heartbreaking. To me, these animals are worth saving and worth being memorialized. To me, it's a cause worth giving up one day of my weekend.

There are other people who share my hopes and dreams. Hundreds of shelters and rescue organizations exist in our area alone, and each organization has its own list of dedicated volunteers. One such organization which is new to the KC area is No More Homeless Pets KC. This coalition of vets, shelters, rescues and individuals is working towards the goal of (you guessed it) no more homeless pets in the KC metro area. They are leading a cooperative effort to end pet overpopulation in Kansas City. It's a big job and a big dream, but the goal is achievable. There are other areas of the country that don't have the overpopulation problem that we have here in the Midwest, because their communities have become educated about spaying, neutering and adoption.

So check out the No More Homeless Pets website. There is tons of good information about spaying and neutering and about pet overpopulation. You can make a donation or find a place to volunteer in the KC area. You can pass along this great information to your family and friends, some of whom might need to get their pets spayed or neutered. You can help educate our communities and be a part of the solution. You can dream of a day when maybe, just maybe, I won't feel the need to get on my soapbox and deliver ridiculously long lectures on my blog. :)


CW said...

Very well said! ILY!!!

Beth said...

You always inspire me to do more for animals and what you do is not just volunteering for the pets; I know that much. Your actions also serve as an incredible witness to others that people CAN make time in their lives for serving others and people CAN make a lasting impact. Actions speak louder than words!!

God's kingdom includes more than just human beings and I think we have an obligation to take care of ALL of God's creatures, especially those most helpless--which sure seems to show a huge need at shelters of any kind; human or pet.

Thank you for all of the work that you do, and all the ways you inspire those around you.

ILY 2!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Personally, and not just because you are my daughter, I think you are totally amazing. After growing up on a farm where the dogs and cats roamed free, I took them for granted. I've learned so much from you. You have had your own health issues, your constant doing and going for others, me included, and still you give your heart and energy to humans and to lonely,sad animals who find homes.
In the words of Beth, "Thank you for all the work that you do, and all the ways you inspire those around you." Mom

kjl said...

Beth and Mom, you guys are way too kind!!