If you volunteer at a municipal shelter long enough, you invariably see a dog come back through the system. We were home in Jacksonville for the long Labor Day weekend, so I spent some time at my home shelter photographing the pups this morning. See that beautiful girl above? This is Kay ... today. I first photographed her four years ago and actually blogged about her then because she broke my heart. So when I saw her today, with the photo I took of her four years ago on her kennel card, my heart sank. I took her out and I don't know if she actually remembered me (I did spend quite a bit of time with her back then) or if it was just her innate incredibly sweet and loving nature, but she snuggled up to me just like an old friend. Praying that a very sweet family finds this very sweet girl very soon.
And then there's this guy. Meet Tilt ... today. I first photographed and blogged about him five years ago, and with that little tilt of the head, he is unmistakable. He's much bigger these days, but he's still such a fun loving fella. Both Kay and Tilt came back into the shelter as strays. At one time, they had homes. Who knows what's happened in their lives between then and now. Prayers they get a new fresh start very soon! They are both available for adoption at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services.
I shared a post on Facebook several weeks ago written by a shelter tech about the question she and all of us who spend a lot of time volunteering in animal shelters hear often: "Is this a kill shelter?" Her post was so well written and really got to the heart of the matter of animal sheltering. The truth is, even "no-kill" shelters have to put animals down, but in sheltering, we refer to it as what it is: humanely euthanizing. The numbers vary slightly around the country, but for the most part, to earn no-kill status means that 90% of the animals that come through your doors walk back out. That 10% is there for a reason. Some animals are too sick to be saved, and it's far more humane to release them from their sickness. And frankly, some animals are simply too dangerous to be safely adopted out. I'm not sharing this because I think Kay or Tilt might face this fate, not at all. They are both highly adoptable and will hopefully meet their new families very soon. I share this to try to spread understanding. It makes me so sad to see people say they won't support a large municipal shelter or even a small rural municipal shelter because they believe those places "kill" animals. Please take some time to learn and understand what that phrase means. Even your humane societies humanely euthanize animals at times, because it's simply the right thing to do, for the animal or for the safety of the public. Think about your own family pet. Have you ever had to euthanize a pet? I know I have, and I think most people who have ever loved numerous animals have been faced with that painful decision. But you knew it was the best thing to do for your pet.
So, please, support your municipal animal shelter. That shelter is the one charged with taking in every animal that comes their way, be it a stray, owner surrender, cruelty case, confiscation, you name it, they take them all. Support them, either by volunteering your time, fostering, adopting, or donating funds to the organizations that raise funds for them. Help make a difference. They need you.