Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware of False Prophets

For the most part this week has been one super red letter event after another. My birthday was this week. I am not sure if the stars simply aligned to insure everything fell into place or if it was fate rewarding me for keeping the faith. Whatever the explanation, it has been one of the finest birthdays I can remember.

The only real fly in the ointment involved a couple of incidents where people that have no idea what is involved in sheltering animals, presented themselves as experts. One person was a friend of mine, that was simply mistaken. She took a leap of faith and trusted me to know what was best for a dog she had acquired.

This was a Pit Bull pup that had basically been thrown away and she just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Because she was willing to listen to what I had to say,and ignore the nonsense she had been told by.

The ignorant, the puppy will be living a long and happy life with a couple of kids in a wonderful family. She did right by this dog. She deserves a pat on the back. In the future, she will know what is right and what is wrong.

My second encounter was with a group of dogs that were being surrendered because of issues with neighbors. The owner was distraught and trying to do what she thought was best, but that is not always what is easy. After spending time with the staff and a volunteer at the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, she was able to take that leap of faith also, and allow her dogs to be given the chance to be safe and handled by professionals, with only the dogs' best interest at heart. Her faith was also well placed. Both of her young dogs will be joining new families and her old dog will be able to live out his last days in the only home he has ever known.

Both of these stories had happy endings. The only thing that tarnished them was the attack by an individual with no more idea of what is involved in animal sheltering than she knows how to tell the difference between someone that knows what they are doing and someone with a personal agenda that has no clue. That is where the only black spot on my birthday week came into play.

I remember when the commercial regarding the glass of water being half full or half empty was popular. Everyone was careful to become the half full type of person. You did not want to get caught being half empty. In a way, that commercial was a very good thing. It made us take stock of the way we look at things. We should focus on the positive and use the negative as motivation to do better. There are always two sides to everything. The good and the bad, the right and wrong, etc. I think most people would like to believe they have a firm grasp on what is positive.

That is why I find it so hard to fathom why people prefer to look at open admission animal shelters as death houses, or "kill shelters", instead of possibly the best choice some animals have available. For the animals I met this week, it was the chance for a brand new life, in a home where they were very much wanted.

It would be wonderful if we could live in a society that did everything exactly right for their pets. Can you imagine no dogs living in the streets or scavenging for food in garbage cans? A world where puppies are always wanted and never tossed away in dumpsters like trash. Then while we are dreaming of this utopian world, how about we also dream about owners that insure their pets are healthy and free of disease? My personal favorite would be owners that keep their pets home and take the time to train them to be social with people and other animals. We are not even close to living in such a world.

In this real world, dogs are abused and starved. They are allowed to breed over and over again, with no regard to what happens to their offspring. I lose track of the weekly reports of puppies being found in dumpsters, some alive, some not. My dear friend Bobbie has a wonderful little girl named Margie, that came from a dumpster. Dogs are allowed to contract horrible, preventable diseases like heartworm, parvo and distemper, because someone could not be bothered to provide the kind of medical care they deserved. This is the real world and it is not always pretty.

No-kill would be the ideal solution if there were not an unending stream of unwanted, abandoned animals in need of sanctuary. I still find it hard to believe that anyone can buy into the lie that the people working in the open admission shelters are not devastated by the waste of healthy, loving pets that people do not give a second thought about throwing away. Most of the people passing judgement on these shelters have never had to work the intake desk and listen to the excuses. They have never had to decide who must die to make room for the dog that has just been dumped because the owner was tired of it. You do not think you can do what is right for your own animal when it is hopelessly sick or in pain. You also have no idea of what it is like to feel the life drain from an animal looking at you with love because it is the first time it has ever felt close human contact. Yet you dare to sit in judgement.

I guess this is one of those entries Bobbie would describe as "railing". I experienced a gross display of ignorance this week. I saw a shelter staffed by dedicated professionals attacked by someone that had wrapped herself in a cloak of indignation that only the most completely uninformed can wear without embarrassment. This person had so little knowledge of what she was talking about, she did not even know the actual name of the facility. Yet she did not hesitate to attack the very people that give their hearts and souls to the animals that no one else wants. These same animals that within a few days of arriving in this shelter became part of someone's family.

Because these animals were given a chance, plus the other animals that were adopted, numerous kennels were opened without having to end the lives of any dogs. The dogs that were sent into rescue, freed space that was available for the next dog that came through the door in need. This shelter is in the business of giving chances, as well as, shelter to more animals than most people can comprehend.

I tried to use an analogy one time about the crowd at the Super Bowl in relation to the number of animals in need in this country annually. That did not make an impression. Let's just narrow the field to our little shelter here in Cape Girardeau. Imagine the population of Perryville Missouri is coming through the door. That is not much more than the number of animals our shelter sees. That is still a little unfathomable? How about 35 animals in one afternoon? That is a small easy to comprehend number. Now multiply at least that many, or more, by 365. Most people can not begin to imagine what that many animals looks like. They have no point of reference to make themselves understand what it is like to face this day in and day out. I do not know if it is a matter of self protection or just plain meanness, but there are people that do not hesitate to pass judgment and attack the people doing the hardest, most thankless job there is.

Whether they get their ideas from others that know less than they or if they just make it up to allow themselves to sleep at night, I have no clue. I do know these people are to be avoided. These are the people that would lead you to believe they know something when they are nothing more than false prophets. They lie to make their theories fit. They take attention from their own short comings by pointing the finger at others. They are weak, inept individuals that are part of the problem and will never be part of the solution. I know they should earn my pity, but I am afraid I have been involved in this too long. All they will receive from me is my disgust.

To everyone that has ever set in judgment of open admission shelters, stop to think what it would be like if someone showed up at your door with 35 animals in need. Could you simply shake your head and say sorry without giving another thought to the fate of those animals? Can you honestly condemn someone that opens their doors and says "Yes, bring them in"? That is what an open admission shelter is all about. The door is always open.

The next time you feel the urge to attack these shelters, stop to think about the pets that have been saved and adopted because someone did not turn them away. You have the choice to look at the glass half full, or half empty.

March 19,20 and 21 the booth for the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation will be presenting a portion of their fourth annual art exhibit, this year entitled "Dogs Can't Vote....You Can", during the Southeast Missouri Homebuilders Association Home Show at the Show Me Center here in Cape Girardeau. This is a wonderful opportunity to view these compelling pieces and learn more about the work being done in our state capital on behalf of our companion animals. Please feel free to stop by the booth and learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets in our state.


Post a Comment

Copyright © 2010 Pets Tabloid

Back to TOP