Tuesday, May 5, 2009

When No One Wants Them: Turning the Tide

When No One Wants Them: Turning the Tide

Do you know a place where all puppies and kittens are planned, wanted, loved, and provided with lifelong, caring, responsible homes? Do you know a place where the owner of a pregnant dog or cat cares for that dog or cat and makes sure it has proper nutrition, vaccinations and deworming so the puppies or kittens are born healthy?

Do you know a place where every puppy and every kitten born to a breeding is born into an environment in which it is loved, handled gently, and receives proper worming and vaccinations?

Do you know a place where older, ill, or otherwise 'less than pristine' animals would never be dumped from vehicles like we would brush out leaves or gravel?

Now consider the 'other side of the coin.'

There are many places where dogs and cats are owned by people that -- for whatever reason or reasons -- don't intend to be breeders, but want 'a son or daughter' from the old dog, so they breed it, assuming that everything will be fine. Some people buy animals with the intention of making 'lots of money' by breeding and selling, with scarcely a care in the world about the impact such breedings will have on a world already overloaded with surplus animals.

'Puppy mills' churn out many puppies and kittens, the sole reason being 'the bottom line:' the almighty dollar. Certainly, profit is there to be made, but at what expense? Animal confinement should at the very least be humane, with care given to keep kennels clean, roomy enough for the animals to move around, etc.

While many breeders and kennels are astute and take great care of and pride in their efforts to breed quality puppies and kittens, the fact is that there are still countless breedings producing a staggering number of at-risk results.

Puppies and kittens are born at risk of being mistreated, dumped, getting sick and having no care, wanting for simple things that should be a given, if only they were wanted and loved.

There are places along roadsides -- some of those roadsides very busy with traffic -- where dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, are regularly dumped. Unceremoniously, with not even a kind word, animals are simply left behind. Sometimes animals are left behind when owners move. It falls to others to save the animals before they die of thirst, starvation, or succumb to heat or cold.

There are places where taking the responsibility of keeping pet dogs and cats from getting pregnant or fathering litters is not even a consideration. In those places, other things can be -- and often are -- options, things that should be requisite to owning a pet. Things like regular veterinary care (vaccinations, deworming, annual physical check-ups); good food; fresh water; flea & tick prevention; a dry, clean, comfortable place to sleep; enough training so the animal is not a hazard to itself or others via inappropriate behavior or aggression; the safety of a fenced yard or a home -- things that many people provide, but many do not.

Those places often help create unwanted animals, from unwanted litters to unwanted expectant females. Often the owners have no idea of the number of unwanted, unplanned puppies and kittens are already being born every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year. Many believe they 'can't afford' to have an animal spayed or neutered. Sometimes it's as simple as educating people about the availability and affordability of such services.

Do you know a place where all animals are safe, loved and wanted? Information is available free on the Internet, at animal shelters and dog pounds.

Learning is the first step to becoming a great pet owner.

Please help animals find good places to live their lives. Please provide good places for animals to live lives free from hunger, thirst, lack of medical care, and lack of love.

Let's turn the tide from 'no one wants them' to 'they are wanted.' We can do it!