dog rescue, emergency transport, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering, oph, puppies, rescue flight, shelters

They Are Killing Dogs Today

I need to talk to you about something.

I know, I know, you came here for puppy pictures and puppy stories and happy endings; I promise there will be plenty of that.

But first, I need to address something that’s been on my mind and my heart, and then, I’ll share lots of puppy pictures. You’ll get so many, you’ll be like – Quit with the puppy pictures, I’m sick of looking at those puppies!

Most days I don’t have a lot of spare time to think about the larger issue of dog rescue because I’m busy rescuing dogs.

Now and again, I have a moment to consider what can be done about the situation beyond the band-aid that is my puppy room, and so many like it.

OPH, and rescues like it, do amazing work, and yet there remains an endless stream of unwanted dogs whose lives are in danger of being extinguished because of any number of situations that have nothing to do with that individual dog’s breed, behaviors, or health.

Last month, I heard the term ‘economic euthanasia’ for the first time at a gathering of our rescue volunteers and it has haunted me ever since.

I’ve wondered, is it possible dogs are dying because of simple lack of funds?

In part, yes. Shelters in many of our southern states and around the world do not have budgets or facilities that can care for the number of dogs entrusted to their care. They need money for food, staff, equipment, buildings, medical care. When there is not enough money to feed, house, and treat the dogs, the dogs are euthanized, regardless of how ‘adoptable’ or ‘healthy’ they are. I think we all want to believe that doesn’t happen, especially in a country as rich as ours, but it does.

Here is a recent message sent to an OPH shelter coordinator from one of our shelters in South Carolina after they learned that we would be unable to pull dogs from their shelter because our foster homes were full:

Over the holiday weekend, the shelter took in 44 dogs – and the inflow continues every day as always.
There was minimal space available for intake last Friday and it was quickly filled. On Monday the euthanizations began. The first to go were dogs surrendered on Friday because their people were going away for the weekend and didn’t want to be bothered with finding someone to care for their pet. Court cases and strays take precious space because they must be held for specific periods of time.
The sight of beautiful dogs lying dead on the floor, to never having another chance at life, is beyond heartbreaking.
We were counting on next week’s transport to save precious lives, so this news is devastating. We are so very grateful for the many dogs saved thus far by OPH.
Today, I’m praying for a miracle.

I read that as Willow sat beside me, her head on my thigh. OPH pulled Willow and the Chocolate Factory pups from that very shelter.

Money could make a difference at that shelter, not just in terms of much-needed food, medical supplies, and space, but to help them increase staff so that more could be done to advertise their dogs, educate their community, and provide resources to the families that adopt from their shelter so there are fewer owner surrenders. Money is what made it possible for Willow and her pups to be flown out of there before their time was up.

So, yeah, money is good. (There are several ways you can help us raise money listed at the end of this post – one only involves the strategic use of your computer, the other does involve your pocketbook.)

But money alone will not solve the problem of economic euthanasia- dogs dying because there isn’t enough money/space/time to save them.

The one thing that can have the biggest impact on the lives of dogs endangered by economic euthanasia doesn’t involve money, it involves YOU. (Yes, YOU, this is not the collective/generic you I’m talking about.)

The bottom line is this: If we have more foster homes, we save more dogs.

If we have enough foster homes, we save all the dogs that are dying from economic euthanasia.

End of story.

No more need for this blog.

If shelters are not overwhelmed stretching strained budgets and trying to decide which dogs they can afford to save and which will have to die, they would have time to do the work they were built to do—serve their community. Not only could they care properly for the dogs in their shelter, they could educate, support, and be a resource for their community and in doing that, perhaps stem the tide of dogs arriving at their shelter.

Because I know that you have many good reasons why you cannot foster a dog, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty (much), but I am trying to make you consider the possibility. I’d like to plant in your heart the kernel of the idea of YOU as a foster. For just a moment, consider what that might look like. You don’t have to foster a hundred dogs or entire litters of puppies, but you could foster one or two or ten a year.

My book coming out in August is not just the story of my family and our first fifty foster dogs, it is also a plea. My greatest hope is that by sharing the good, bad, ugly, and magical reality of fostering dogs, other people will say, You know, I could do that.

Because you could.

And it will change the world.

My daughter gave me a little sign that hangs outside my puppy room. It says,

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog the world will change forever.

If you’d like to know more about fostering through OPH, click here. If you don’t live in Virginia, Maryland, DC, or South Central PA, look up a rescue or shelter near you. I’m happy to answer any of your questions or point you in the correct direction. Email me at cara.achterberg@rocketmail.com.

I’ll get to the puppy pictures momentarily, but first, here’s how you can help OPH win grant money to save more dogs like Willow and her pups.

All you have to do is vote for our story. Follow this link and then click to vote for Major and OPH. It’s super simple (and they don’t even ask for your email). You can vote from multiple devices, multiple times. Please vote and then please SHARE.

This month I’m taking part in the Spring2Action campaign to raise money for my favorite cause – OPH. If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, please consider making a tax-deductible donation (of any size). I’m raising money to fund emergency transports, like the one that saved Willow and the pups. I’m almost halfway to my goal and I could sure you use your help! Thanks! Here’s my fundraising page.

And, as promised, here are your puppy pictures! The Chocolate Factory pups are adorable and messy and most importantly, safe. All the pups have approved adopters and Willow has several applications, so for them at least, there is a happy ending.

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter.

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present and extra puppy pictures, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.

 Best,

Cara

COMING AUGUST 2018 from Pegasus Books:

PREVIEW

Preorder available NOW on Amazon!

 

 

16 thoughts on “They Are Killing Dogs Today”

  1. How true it is. Fostering saves lives, plain and simple! So many think they can’t foster because “they would keep them all” I hear that almost constantly, and it’s sad because it really isn’t that hard, some dogs you will be glad to see leave, and while others you will miss, but there’s always another that needs you. If people would have a little self control, there would be so many more dogs saved through fostering!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly it – when we started and my kids wanted to keep every day, I told them if we don’t let this one go, we can’t save another. That made sense for them. I will admit that by the time my puppies leave, I’m ready for them to be gone (the poop is often times at critical levels by then!) Thanks for fostering and saving lives!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My way of thinking exactly! Haha, I can understand how you feel as I used to feel the same way; thankfully for me I have a outdoor potty setup for the pups now, by the time they are 6 weeks, they are pooping and peeing outside, so they keep indoors clean; still cleaning to be done, but not nearly the load, just a couple times a day I go out and pick up the yard. Allows a lot more time to snuggling puppies and watching them run wild around my kitchen, lol!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good point! At the shelter where I volunteer, there is always a need for more foster homes, especially for older dogs. Thankfully, the shelter doesn’t do economic euthanasias, (although we are not “no kill,”) but for dogs with heart worm (requires long-term treatment) and certain behavior issues, a foster home is so much better than life at a shelter.
    I believe that everyone who helps homeless animals is saving lives. Foster homes are the best answer, but volunteering to walk, train and socialize the dogs that live in shelters also saves lives by keeping the dogs sane and adoptable until they eventually find their new home. Ditto with the enrichment programs for dogs, cats and “critters.” I know one woman who can’t make herself go into the actual kennels, but will happily promote any dog that needs a little extra help getting adopted, and her promotions always work.
    It takes a village for sure! And thank you, sincerely and deeply, for the work you do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Such a good point – any break a shelter dog can get makes a world of difference. I read recently about a person who takes dogs out of the shelter for a night or a weekend for ‘sleepovers’. That seems brilliant because, as you’ve probably witnessed, some dogs cannot handle shelter life and while they might go in adoptable, too long in that kind of environment can render them unadoptable. Thanks for the important work you are doing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post and it really made me think about fostering on a different level. We foster cats, orphan kittens, nursing moms, even chickens, but not dogs. I always thought we just couldn’t do it because we have two of our own & not very much space in our house. But I’m reconsidering because there is room for at least one little dog if it would keep it out of a kill shelter. Thank you for putting this in a way that moves me to do something constructive!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Recently a couple in my county made an application to open a breeding facility. Most of the county was adamantly opposed. Letters were written, emails sent, phone calls made but the county (in all its vast “wisdom”) went out to inspect the facility and found nothing wrong with it. They wrote that the breeders were caring, responsible people who provided excellent conditions for the breeding bitches (not their words, mine) and, therefore, the people would get the permit. Most horrifying was that the local shelter came out in favor of this facility.

    Un effing believable. I think they got so much flak (spelled with an S) that they retracted their support, but I don’t know. I do know that when it’s time for me to adopt a dog, I will go there to see if “my” dog is waiting for me because boycotting them is boycotting a dog, but I’m very disgusted.

    I live in one of those poor places you’ve described, though not in the South, in the West. My valley has one of the lowest standards of living in the US. As it’s an agricultural area, dogs are not always confined and many run free, unspayed and unneutered. The population of unwanted dogs is through the roof. Many wandering dogs die from wild animal attacks. Others are euthanized. Most never find homes. In my region there are two no-kill shelters (no-kill being a semi-honest term; animals ARE euthanized under certain conditions which happen pretty often) and two foster-based rescues. Both of the foster-based rescues bust their asses to get dogs to places where people live and want pets. They run exclusively on donations and they are both amazing.

    I don’t really object to dogs being euthanized humanely if there is no chance they will find a home. I know that sounds awful to many people, and it’s certainly not ideal in my heart, mind, opinion either. For YEARS I drove around with a bumper sticke on my car saying, “Don’t Breed or Buy While Shelter Pets Die.” I would have that now if I could find one.

    I think the solution to the problem is heavy restrictions on dog breeding, but I don’t know how to do that. I wouldn’t eliminate it completely because there are dog breeds that fill particular needs in human lives. Very tough problem. 😦

    Like

    1. Very surprising that any shelter would support adding a breeding facility nearby. Economic euthanasia is a tough problem and probably very prevalent in rural places like yours all over the country. I guess my hope is that if we can help these shelters by providing more money and foster homes, then they can turn their attention to the root of the problem – education, spay/neuter, training, and awareness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m happy to see lots of pet stores selling only pups from shelters. We have a very agressive spay/neuter program down here, also all volunteer. People use it. It comes down about once a month and they neuter hundreds of dogs and cats in two days.

        Theory (spoken loudly) is that the shelter was paid off by the wouldbe breeder. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for your article! In addition to foster homes we need a low cost spay/neuter clinic in every city. This would help reduce the number of shelter animals. In addition, we need to reduce the large amounts of pedigree and puppy mill breeders. Put laws in place that limit the amounts of pedigree/breeders and the amount of puppies each person can breed. In Canton, Texas there are breeders who show up each first Monday to sell animals of all kinds. In July, August and September it is unbearably hot and these animals are subjected to deplorable conditions and heat. These kinds of places need to be shut down permanently! Lots of complaints have been filed and nothing is done! I am sick about this unnecessary killing and I imagine most of your readers are contributing to help in ways others are not. I just adopted a shelter bunny and if I did not work full time would foster animals. I help contribute financially but I know this is not enough. I hope more can be done to help suffering, neglected and abused animals all over the US. We have more resources than most countries and are doing less to tackle these on going issues. Thank you for your voice and all the hard work!!

    Like

    1. You are so right and hopefully people like you will continue to raise their voices and change the situation. I know that Texas has some of the worst situations. OPH is going to begin pulling dogs from Texas, too. Thank you for all that you do!

      Like

  6. Fosters are so important. My pet dogs were fostered and nurtured before I adopted them and they were and are much loved (my original pet dog has passed away) My service dog was rescued and fostered by OPH, donated to a service dog organization, trained and is now my partner and helper daily. She is an amazing service dog and has opened my life back up to endless possibilities. Saving her life literally changed my life and hers forever.

    Liked by 1 person

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