Rescue Dogs & Cats in Shelters
Before I took the position with Animal Control, I was forewarned that I wouldn’t be able to not get attached to the animals there. I replied that it was just a job.
Working with Animal Control is and never should be just a job.
You must have a heart for the animals in your care to do this “job” properly. Most of the animals coming in are terrified. They’ve either been put out on the street by their owners, wandered away from home and are lost, or owners handing them over to a stranger because they’re no longer wanted. The saddest are the seniors that have been a part of their families for years, only to be given away because they’re too old or their own owner has passed away. These animals shake and cry because they don’t understand what is happening. Unless a rescue group steps in, the seniors are put to sleep because they are deemed unadoptable.
The majority of adopters are looking for puppies or younger dogs to grow with their own family. Older pups and especially cats are passed over and are eventually euthanized due to overcrowding of shelters. I’ve had a countless number of people bringing in animals and I tried explaining that there was no room so the animal would be euthanized. The people would tell me they didn’t want to hear that and they’d rather think of them finding a wonderful home. One lady turned in her chihuahua that she supposedly adored because the dog kept getting pregnant. I tried talking her into getting her “much loved” pup spayed and it would cure that problem. The woman didn’t want to put her chihuahua through an operation. Sometimes you had to step back and keep your mouth shut. Sometimes = Daily
This leads to another topic, owners must do their part and SPAY or NEUTER your pet. There is NOT enough room in any shelter to keep all the animals being brought in. It’s just not possible. I can speak from personal experience that shelter employees do not want to walk through the kennels choosing which animals will die that day. If more of the public had to witness this act, then more people would spay or neuter their pup or cat. (I would hope)
Speaking of cats, I wasn’t a cat person when I started working at Animal Control. As time moved on, I saw the huge disadvantage the kittens and cats have. Most people prefer dogs for reasons I’ll never understand. I have become a “cat person” and will always advocate for the kitties. If you claim to be an animal lover then that includes cats. There are thousands of rescue groups for dogs but much fewer for cats. That fact makes it even harder to get them out of the shelter alive.
While working with Animal Control, I met some compassionate and hardworking people. Unless you’ve worked in or around Animal Control, you may not fully understand all of the hours and dedication involved in saving these animals’ lives. I hate when people say there are more important issues to be concerned with in our world today. It’s not that we don’t care or take a “blind eye” to other issues but I believe that God calls each of us for a particular purpose. Sometimes, you’re called to take the 6 week old hungry, flea ridden kitten home and love her for the rest of her life. Sometimes, it’s taking a leg on a transport to help one or a dozen puppies to forever homes. In either case, you are making the difference in one of God’s creations and that is worth fighting for.
This was written by Kimberly Stanley Johnson
A former employee of an Animal shelter.