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Helping homeless dogs get adopted

Most people have good intentions when it comes to caring for dogs, cats and other creatures.

As expected, there were different opinions on whether or not dog shelters make it too difficult to adopt. I listened to these opinions.

Most of us love dogs, so we help them in the ways we know how.

For some of us, loving dogs means caring for them, healing them, teaching them what we can and then letting them go to new families.

For others, loving dogs means desperately pulling them from “kill” shelters and getting them into rescue groups, foster homes – and yes, just about any homes.

Both scenarios and so many others are examples of our love for dogs.

For one person, loving a dog might mean sitting quietly with her, stroking her ears and telling her she is a good girl before she is euthanized in a pound. Or it might mean moving a dog to another pen before spraying out her cage when the shelter’s protocol is not to move the dogs during cleaning time.

It might mean offering a dog one last treat or allowing her the eye contact she seeks as she is led to the “kill room.”

We do these things for dogs because we love them, and we are all working together because we all want to help.

For me, loving a dog means doing the best I can.

I play ball when I can. I take my dog for walks when I can. We lie on the floor and spoon. We swim together and race around the couch. I invite him on my bed for snuggles. I sing to him. I press my lips to that low spot between his eyes and tell him I love him.

I foster dogs when I can, but I know when to set limits. I know I can’t foster all the time.

I accept that my foster dogs will go into homes that will not treat a dog exactly the way I would treat a dog. I accept that my foster dogs might go into homes that are not as “good” as mine, but the people there will still love the dogs just the same. They will do the best they can.

I see a purpose for pounds, shelters, rescues, no-kill animal sanctuaries, foster homes and adopters.

I also see a purpose for breeders, the people who purchase dogs and the work these dogs do. Sometimes the most important work for a dog is to love us no matter what.

I support the idea of a no-kill nation, yet I realize everyone has her own interpretation of “no kill.”

To me, the “no-kill nation” concept is a goal to get as many adoptable dogs into homes as soon as possible in order to prevent killing these dogs. To me, an adoptable dog is not suffering beyond reasonable help, and he is not aggressive to humans beyond what the average trainer can manage.

Dogs should not be kept alive if they are suffering. They should not be warehoused in shelters or foster homes. They should not be allowed the opportunity to bite or kill a human.

It is possible to reach this point where all adoptable dogs are given a second chance. If this wasn’t realistic, then there would not be this much passion from such a large range of people.

I hate to see the shelter/rescue world divide itself.

I don’t like the hostility I sometimes see from rescue volunteers or shelter workers towards each other or towards anyone who obtained or parted with a dog in any particular way.

Most people really are doing the best they can.

I don’t like to see “facts” that are not supported or statements with no attributions.

I hate to see closed mindedness or people hiding behind “policies.” Most policies could stand to be rewritten, and most of us could benefit from a broader perspective. I know I could.

We are all doing our part, working towards the same goal – helping as many dogs as possible.

Anyone who loves dogs and wants to help dogs has the potential to bring value to a pound, shelter or rescue.

What are you doing to help homeless dogs or dogs in general?

Black lab mix wearing choke collar resting in the grass

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