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They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy... Until they get to "The Room"

 
 
Lambchop
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jan, 2009 05:27 pm
@Linkat,
No, we keep them until they are adopted or we send them to another facility that can care for them. The only animals we euthanize are those that are so ill, nothing else can be done for them. We also offer this service to pet owners whose pets are terminally ill. Our fee is lower than that which most vets charge.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  2  
Reply Tue 27 Jan, 2009 06:53 pm
@CalamityJane,
When you start an animal shelter, there is a fundamental choice that has to be made from the get go. You can be open-admission -- which means you don't turn any animals away -- or you can be no-kill -- meaning you don't euthanize any animals except for medical reasons. Unless willing adopters appear with the same frequency as unwanted animals, you can't be an open-admission, no-kill shelter. In most locales, there are more unwanted animals than potential adopters, and this discrepancy has to be accounted for by sanctuary (keeping animals indefinitely) or euthanasia.

Were it not for pit bulls, our shelter would pretty much be an open-admission and a no-kill shelter when it comes to dogs -- and even most pit-bulls who come through our doors eventually find homes. Cats, though, we see far too many of, and even maximizing our space through extensive fostering in private home and siphoning cats to a number of local private cat rescues, our save rate -- the number of healthy, adoptable cats who leave the shelter alive -- is only about 60%. The reasons? Too many unspayed/unneutered cats, and not enough interested adopters. We have to either shut our doors (and not honor our contract) or euthanize cats.

****

A note on "no-kill" shelters: the vast majority of no-kill shelters euthanize animals for medical reasons, just like pet owners do. It is not uncommon for these organizations, usually with only the best intentions, to take on more animals than they can really care for. I've seen plenty of photos of shelters with animals crammed, several at a time, into cages, carriers meant for transportation stacked to the ceiling and used for housing. Sanitation starts to slide and the closely-housed animals fall prey to communicable diseases that the organization does not have the resources to treat. The end result in these situation is that scores of animals are euthanized for medical reasons after days or weeks of suffering in cramped, dirty conditions and with disease running rampant. Technically, they are no-kill, because they are not euthanizing healthy animals, but the conditions are inhumane.

I write this not to besmirch no-kill shelters -- far from it -- but to explain why not every shelter can subscribe to the no-kill ethos. Too often, people decide that there are two types of animal shelter: no-kill and bad. There are good and bad no-kill shelters, and there are good and bad public shelters.

(I started to write a description of a large no-kill shelter in a western state that a friend of mine -- an authority in shelter medicine -- was asked to investigate together with representatives of the HSUS at the request of a concerned shelter employee, but the description is truly horrifying -- much worse than depicted in the letter that started the thread. My friend, who has seen some really awful situations herself and is pretty hardened to the dark side of sheltering, can't talk about it without crying.)
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jan, 2009 07:09 pm
@patiodog,
Quote:
(I started to write a description of a large no-kill shelter in a western state that a friend of mine -- an authority in shelter medicine -- was asked to investigate together with representatives of the HSUS at the request of a concerned shelter employee, but the description is truly horrifying -- much worse than depicted in the letter that started the thread. My friend, who has seen some really awful situations herself and is pretty hardened to the dark side of sheltering, can't talk about it without crying.)


In cases like these, euthanasia is probably the most humane way. It sickens
me to think how these poor creatures suffer to no end.
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 01:02 am
@CalamityJane,
It is what it is. There is great grimness, and there is great joy.

It still beats working in a cubicle.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 01:27 am
@patiodog,
Wanna talk about the joy at all???? Be interesting.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 01:56 am
@dlowan,
Yes, it would - including to people like me and Pacco. My joy with Pacco, inchoate. I hope pdawg who deals all the time with the hard stuff continues to..
connect.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  3  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 02:26 am
@dlowan,
Well, see, there's Moe Moe and Pooh. Moe Moe is an old blue heeler with rheumy bug-eyes, and Pooh is an old crazy red heeler who barks at every damn thing. For a long time, I'd go sit on the couch in Moe Moe and Pooh's room (we've got two separate rooms for hard luck dogs, and three for hard luck cats), and hang out, throw the frisbee around, whatever. Pooh is everybody's senile grandparent -- doesn't know why he's making noise, doesn't know why he's chewing on tennis ball, pretty much just encounters each moment as a new and unexpected one and acts accordingly. Moe is typical old Heeler -- suspicious, blustery, a big goober if you let him know what's what and put him on his back a time or two. Pooh and Moe Moe's owner lost his job a few months back, eventually ended up on the street, and finally handed the two old codgers over to us.

I was not optimistic about Moe Moe and Pooh's adoption chances.

Long story short (for it's a repetitive story), last week an old dairy farmer comes in looking for friends. His sons have taken over the dairy (for better, not for worse, I am sure), and he's feeling a little useless. He's an obstinate old bastard, not as sharp as he used to be but certainly not ready for the scrapheap, either. He makes a walk of the typical dogs in the runs. He's looking for a pup, but he doesn't see anything that interests him. Just a bunch of pit bull pups who are quick to please and have no personality beyond "LOOK AT ME I'M A PUPPY WHEEEEEE LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME!"

Before he goes, the good folks up front decide, for whatever reason, to introduce him to Pooh and Moe Moe. I wasn't there for the meeting, but I'm sure they went out to one of the play yards, and old Pooh took a tennis ball off to a corner to bury in the snow, dig out, and bury again, while paying no attention to anybody else, and old Moe Moe looked up at the old dairy farmer with red, desparate eyes, and said "WOOF... WOOF... WOOF!" with desparate old heeler eyes, each bark more exasperate than the last that this dumb pasty old two-legged bastard couldn't piece together what he was saying.

The old guy took Pooh and Moe Moe off to his farm a month ago. At first, we had informal pools running for when the old cattle dogs would come back to us, but they haven't yet.

Old crazy heeler bastards.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 03:04 am
@patiodog,
All right......
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 05:14 am
@patiodog,
Old Heelers + old fella.

Love 'em.

Any more?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 05:49 am
I believe, Patio, that i have described to you the shelter at which i volunteered years ago. I can be hardened, too, especially after three years in the army medical corps, but i eventually could no longer deal with the unremittant horror of an animal shelter.

So, i would rather think of the good situations. We have a boy dog, who is now about 11 or 12, and whom The Girl took in when he was still just a puppy a few months old. He was rescued from a man who was beating him in a parking lot. He's not large now, and i just can't imagine how small he must have been when he was rescued. The other dog The Girl rescued herself from a family practicing a benign neglect. They thought they would be getting a larger dog (they had already two large dogs, and three is the limit in this city), and they were disappointed to realize she would not be a large dog, and found this dog "too affectionate." So they threw her in the basement where she resided alone all day, being let out once a day to do "her business." She was fed, and that was about it.

She has had really serious problems learning to socialize, since she hated big dogs (small wonder) at the same time that she feared them. She never really learned to be a dog, doesn't seem to see herself as a dog, and doesn't like dogs. But with patience, she has become a dog you can take out in public, although you still need to watch her. She has an underlying resilience--when The Girl leaves the house to go shopping of a weekend, she knows that it's not a weekday, and she cries when the girl leaves. But she's soon cheerful again. Her basic disposition is friendly and playful. We've taught her to play, and it is common to look over at her, and see her laughing for no other apparent reason than that she enjoys life. She is a smart one, too. She's the one who waited in the living room with her charcoal treat for about ten or fifteen minutes while i stood out back smoking a cigarette. She wanted to play "is that my biscuit?" and so waited patiently with her biscuit uneaten until i came back in and could play with her. This morning, i pulled the charcoal treats out of the bucket after letting the dogs back inside, and i happened to pull out five rather than six (these are smaller biscuits, and we give them three apiece). I gave the one dog his three, and gave her two. She quickly ate them, and began looking around for the third, and giving me an accusing look. So i got out another biscuit for her, and she was happy thereafter. Apparently, she can count as far as three.

There is a well-developed rescue system here, and it is very common to meet people who have taken in rescue dogs, and often people who have never had a dog before and are therefore just learning. It gives one hope . . . as long as you don't think about the scale of the problem.
0 Replies
 
marcymarcy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 08:15 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Thank You Robert for this letter - I have to admit I did buy one of my dogs from a pet store (which I did feel guilty about right away) My other dog came from a farm and was flea infested (so I kind of think I rescued her) ANYWAY, you did make a difference with this letter, I know that I will never again buy a "new" dog, I will only RESCUE dogs in need. I had heard similar things before but you were great in reminding us all of what a horror it is for the unlucky dogs out there.
Thanks,
Marcy
0 Replies
 
 

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