When I first came to the US, I was surprised over the number of pets in shelters. We have cat shelters back home, and they usually treat the cats very well until a new home is found. Dogs are expensive in Sweden, and you don't get one unless you really want one. While I'm sure there's the occasional unserious breeder there too, puppymills are unheard of. We have a very regulated society, for better and for worse. There are laws for everything from how many pets a person can have without a permit to how many hours it is acceptable to leave a dog alone. Things happen anyway, of course they do, but we try to protect those dependent on us.
|BooBoo Bear comes from the Bishop Shelter in Bradenton.|
I'm a big Border Collie lover, and this was the first time for decades I've lived in a house without one. I kept googling Border Collies, and stumbled over a webpage for a local BC rescue: Ewenity Farms, a Border Collie Haven.
I thought about this long and hard. If there's a BC rescue, that must mean they need rescuing. (Real genius moment there...) I contacted Jill Hurst, director of Ewenity, and asked if I could visit the doggies. She said "Sure!" and I drove out of town to her farm. It was a wonderful day!
Talking to Jill gave me a lot to think about. Before I met her, I didn't understand that there are so many homeless animals in the US, the shelters overflow and have to kill them. Perfectly fine, healthy, loving pets are put down because no one wants them. I imagined a couple a year being painlessly put to sleep, and thought, "That's so sad." I wanted to learn more, so I googled, and almost fell off my chair when I learned there are more shelter pets put down each year than there are people in Norway. It's a horrible situation, and I wasn't sure what to do.
|Topper, rescue boy from Georgia.|
Once Topper was properly established in the house, we thought that maybe we could help out with another foster. One we clearly wouldn't keep, this time. *cough*
During a brief period of time, we had Ruby, Bishop, Emma, Seek, and James. I'll tell you all about them, some other day. :-) And Cooper, but he'll get a blog post of his own.
|Princess Bonnie, aka BonBon Bonnie-gator|
Bonnie keeps a watchful eye on anything happening outside the house. All bikes, joggers, and pedestrians must clearly be herded into a tight little group where they behave and stand still! Same thing is true for squirrels, birds, and planes.
Moral of the story? Well, if you've been thinking about getting a pet, check out your local shelters and rescues. The website petfinder.com can help search for a specific breed, within a specific geographic area, and so on. If you don't want to adopt, for whatever reason, fostering is a great way to "borrow" a cat or a dog, and often get most expenses paid. Rescues are always short of money and food, and many ask for donations of toys and towels.
There are many other great ways to help out, completely free. You can share a shelter pet on Facebook or Twitter - increased exposure also increases their chances of adoption. Some shelters welcome the public to come play with a cat or a dog, giving them some joy in an otherwise dull environment. Think about it, talk about it, open your eyes. It doesn't take a lot of effort to help.