Originally, I was going to dedicate this first "real" post to introducing my dogs. In a sense, I suppose this will still accomplish that goal, but in a very different way that I originally imagined. I watched this short video last night before hitting the hay and it brought me to tears:
AND it got me thinking and waxing philosophical.
First of all, this hit very close to home. I recognize this. The place is slightly different, but the situation is nearly the same. Nearly 10 years ago I was head veterinary technician at a clinic within an animal shelter in Massachusetts. The shelter had partnerships with a rescue group in Puerto Rico and a high kill shelter in southern rural Virginia. The Kentucky shelter in this video and the faces of the dogs shown especially remind me of the situation of that VA shelter. Countless dogs, mostly whole litters of puppies, passed through my hands on their way to better lives. They were dogs that would otherwise would have been euthanized - most before they had the opportunity to truly live as most were puppies between 8 - 14 weeks old. But almost none of them would have ever gotten that opportunity had the partnership with the shelter not been in place to bring them northward toward loving homes where they would become wanted companions. They were the lucky ones that got the opportunity to live and blossom. A multitude of dogs - all worthy of living a full life and experiencing the love and companionship offered by a home and giving back all the love and devotion a dog could possibly offer in return. No less worthy than any purebred destined for the show ring or performance sport or even house pet - although, for some reason, society seems to deem them less worthy. Why? They are just as capable of loving, learning, and demonstrating devotion to their owners as any other dog. The purity of love cannot be, and SHOULD NOT be, determined by the purity of bloodline.
I now have three rescue dogs:
Why should a dog like this, absolutely capable of achieving great things and, most importantly, being a devoted companion, not be as worthy of life as any other dog?
Three wonderful dogs. But only three. Three out of thousands and thousands of dogs on any particular day who need homes and are in danger of dying merely because they happen to be classified as "unwanted". Too many dogs never get past the "unwanted" category. They never get their chance to shine. The never get to be loved or show all the love they have to offer. That is a real tragedy. I can't understand why people continue to breed dogs and purchase dogs while others go wanting and end up dying simply because there are too many and/or they are not the right "kind". I can't, in good conscious, do that. That is why I have rescue dogs and why I volunteer. Not because of any great feeling of satisfaction I get; it has nothing to do with my ego. It is because the eyes of too many beautiful, wanting, hopeful-until-the-end dogs haunt me and I feel I need to do what little I can to help to give them the opportunity to know what it is to be loved and wanted. It is my wish that you will too.