dog rescue, euthanasia, no-kill, oph, shelters

Please Don’t Forget the Dogs Still Waiting

Today is Remember Me Thursday.

It’s a day to light a candle to remember the countless dogs who are waiting in shelters for a forever family or who have lost their lives while waiting.

Having just spent over a week visiting the shelters and seeing the faces of so many good dogs, it is especially poignant.


There were definitely moments when the situation overwhelmed, when it seemed like an impossibly tall mountain that we will never be able to climb. I hear again and again that the number of dogs losing their lives in shelters is shrinking, but as I walked along cement floors and looked through chainlink at their beautiful faces, I can only say it is not happening fast enough and it is not happening everywhere.

Talking to shelter directors and asking about their numbers, every single one of them tells me that the number of dogs landing in their care is increasing, not decreasing. So, while progress has been made, at best it has leveled off, at worst we are losing ground.


I’ve spent a lot of time with dogs who have made it out of the shelters – rejoicing with them or coaxing them back to life when they arrive on transport.

But down here, before the transports, before a rescue claims them, as they sit in cold, dark spaces amidst the endless barking it is heartbreaking. They don’t understand and they don’t deserve it.


The one thing we cannot do is forget about them. So, today light a candle or send up a prayer to acknowledge the countless animals that still suffer, but most of all think about what you can do to change the situation.

If you have a rescue dog, hug him a little tighter and rejoice that he made it out of the shelter to join your family. You might also post a picture of your rescued pet with the hashtag RememberMeThursday.

And if you don’t have a dog or are considering adding a dog to your family, remember this: If just one-third of the people who plan to purchase a dog from a breeder this year, instead chose to adopt a dog, the shelters would be emptied out in a day. Imagine that!

It’s a day I look forward to.

#TogetherWeRescue #WeCanLetTheDogsOut



If you want to know how you can help, visit my website or subscribe to the blog, Who Will Let the Dogs Out, where I post regular updates on shelters/rescues and how to help. You can also follow Who Will Let the Dogs Out on Facebook and Instagram.

If you really want to help, consider fostering a dog for your local shelter or rescue. Every time you do, you not only save the dog you foster, but the dog who took the space in the shelter that your foster dog left behind. If you need advice or have questions about fostering, please contact me-

Mostly, what we need is your help spreading the word. Animals suffer and die in shelters not because people don’t care, but because they don’t know. Help us tell them.

Until every cage is empty,


5 thoughts on “Please Don’t Forget the Dogs Still Waiting”

  1. Thanks for putting the word out, Cara! Sadly, we’re experiencing an upswing in “intakes” as well, despite the progress we’re making in spaying and neutering. The problem is that so many shelters are switching to “no-kill.” That sounds like a good thing, but what it really means is that they then severely limit the number of (and types of, many refuse pit bulls and other hard to adopt breeds) dogs they take in. So those dogs end up dumped to fend for themselves; sold on Craig’s List to people who want them for all the wrong reasons; or sold to research centers. In other words, the dogs are still dying, but they suffer more first. It’s beyond depressing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a familiar story – managed intake can mean that too many dogs end up in much worse places than shelters. My frustration with the ‘no-kill’ idea is that nothing is universally defined – not adoptable, treatable, manageable, or even managed intake.

      I believe a county-funded shelter has an obligation to be open-intake, even if that means they have to take in dogs that will be difficult to place because of age or medical condition or behaviors. I believe it is their obligation to evaluate and potentially euthanize dangerous dogs. Who else will do this? Yes, owners should, when necessary. I know this first-hand, but too many people cannot love their animals enough to do the right thing for them.

      No-kill is a bad expression (imho) because it makes people believe that we truly can ‘save them all’ and we can’t. It also makes shelters manipulate the numbers, turn away dogs in need, and hold animals indefinitely, simply to be able to claim a ‘no-kill’ status.

      We need a different approach. There is no sense counting up ‘no-kill’ numbers because they are fuzzy numbers defined differently everywhere. Any shelter can be ‘no-kill’ if you define it as not killing any adoptable dogs and you define ‘adoptable’ yourself. Too many define bully breeds, elderly, and injured animals as unadoptable.

      Okay, stepping off my soap box now…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! Those of us who have “been in the trenches” know the truth. But we have far too many people who don’t want to face the hard realities and so push for all shelters to be “no kill.” I believe some state (Wisconsin?) has gone all “no kill.” Which is actually a bad thing, because that means there are NO open admission shelters at all, which means more dogs suffer and die. (Also, as I understand it, a shelter can call itself “no-kill” if it has less than a 5% euthanasia rate. But even to get that, they turn away any animal that is not “highly adoptable,” which means just what you said: no pit bulls, no elderly animals, no injured animals, no breeds they already have a lot of in the shelter, etc. Those poor dogs are just ignored…..)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have rescue pets of my own and it breaks my heart every time I hear about pets being returned to shelters or abandoned. I actually was so inspired I’m writing a book about it. Thanks for a great post and raising awareness!!

    I also nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I really enjoy your posts!


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