The photo here is heartbreaking. It shows the absolute fear, confusion, and uncertainty on the face of this adult male Pom Mix dog caged at a public shelter in July 2012.
That dog senses the fear in other dogs as they pull back from being taken to that room down the hall where they somehow know their life will end.
Lifeline Dog Rescue staff track news for a variety of animal rescue topics including animal shelter news. Every day one or more public kill shelters publish urgent headlines about overcrowding.
Others send us daily partner emails. Each has photos and profiles of up to a dozen or more dogs at risk.
At 4 million euthanized per year, 10,000 dogs die every day in the USA. Holding periods get shortened. Some public kill shelters have gone from holding dogs 2 weeks to 1 week to 3 days. Others will put down owner surrender dogs immediately.
Yes, that loyal and trusting family dog you chose to relinquish, signed off their surrender form, and then drove away hoping they would be adopted to a loving family, could be dead before you get home.
A cute puppy purchased at a pet store or from a breeder for Christmas may become a liability in July because owners did not think through a lifetime commitment. On average a new dog will cost $1000 a year every year over their 14-20 year life expectancy depending on the size and their health.
Happy endings require time, energy, and money.
The poor economy makes the overcrowding situation even more critical. A lost job, unexpected expense, or being forced to move may result in a “me or the dog” decision. Suddenly that sweet, loyal, and trusting puppy is a liability. Maybe it’s an older dog with health issues.
The number one reason for surrendering a dog is their family moves.
The peak months that people move in the USA are June, July, and August. Families with school age children want to minimize the disruption in their education, so many will move during summer vacation. For others the weather is a factor.
If moving with children to a smaller home, do you suppose people choose to drop 1 or 2 kids off to an orphanage on their way out of town? Of course not, yet dogs are “family”, too, and your dog deserves consideration for keeping the family intact.
Given no other choice but to surrender your dog, PLEASE consider a non-profit private rescue shelter before taking your dog to the pound. Private rescue groups are likely the best no-kill option. Your dog gets a second chance, and your conscience is more likely to avoid extreme guilt and sleepless nights.
Readers may want to review the Top 10 Reasons for Dog Surrenders in a previous blog post before acquiring a dog. View that list and then ask yourself which if any put you at risk for relinquishing a dog before you decide to bring one into your life.
Responsible pet ownership is the key to reducing the euth rate. Don’t buy. Adopt. Spay or neuter. Think ahead. Share these concepts with others you overhear talking about adding a dog to their family. Reducing pet overpopulation is necessary to minimize the tragic loss of millions of dogs each year.
Click this link for a bigger view of the dog shown, and then look closely at the expression in his eyes. As you gaze into that innocent face, imagine reading his thoughts without shedding a tear.
Dog rescue is an emotional roller coaster ride. We’re happy as dogs are adopted, yet sad as they leave us for their forever home. Tears flow equally, yet most of our tears are shed at night as we cry ourselves to sleep for those lost we cannot save.
You can make a difference towards ending the cycle of animal shelter summer headlines begging for help.