Just in time for the Humane Society of the United States’ National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, we’re celebrating the one–year anniversary of the adoption of our puppy love, Sadie.
Few other decisions have made me so endlessly happy and proud than my decision to adopt a sweet baby from a great rescue. Specifically, we went through a wonderful veterinarian named Elizabeth and the Animal Rescue of Tippah County in Mississippi. (Elizabeth is no longer associated with ARTC, but does similar work at her own Animal Clinic of Tippah County.)
Pretty far to go for a pup when I’m all the way in Philadelphia, right? But, it was more than worth it. Plus, I didn’t actually go there.
Elizabeth and her rescue took care of EVERYTHING, and sent Sadie (formerly known as Amy) up on a truck full of rescue dogs to adoptive families in the Northeast U.S.
But before we get to that, let’s start at the beginning…
Sadie’s mom was supposedly a shih tzu (although I have a hard time believing that when I see my scruffy pup now) who was kept in a cage her entire life to breed over and over again. Think about that for a second. She received no love or attention from humans. She was locked up and treated as a machine to make money off of living, breathing puppies that she was birthing. And that is not unusual in this country. At all.
Then, a woman “rescued” her from that situation (how, I don’t know) and took her away from that horrible cage. But, she failed to have her spayed, so she became pregnant by a rat terrier (we’re getting warmer but I still think it was a border terrier) and gave birth to Sadie and her littermates.
The woman brought Sadie and her two sisters to Elizabeth (who is a veterinarian) to have them euthanized because she didn’t want to take care of them. She had apparently found homes for some of the other siblings, but couldn’t find homes for the final three, so she brought them TO BE KILLED. Three sweet, innocent babies who wanted nothing but love and attention from the people around them.
Instead, Elizabeth decided to find homes for the three girls. When I saw the listing for the pups on petfinder.com, I immediately contacted her. How someone could willingly take puppies to be killed at 12 weeks old after “rescuing” their mother from a terrible situation absolutely blew my mind and broke my heart.
And the worst part? After I starting talking with Elizabeth, I found out just how common this type of situation is.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 2.7 million animals (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats) are euthanized each year in this country alone.
She told me how she cried almost every day before she opened her own clinic because of the vast number of animals she was required to euthanize in her previous position. And these were not sick animals who couldn’t be helped…they were perfectly healthy, loving animals who didn’t have homes because of overpopulation and lack of education regarding proper animal care, spay and neuter practices and rescue assistance.
In addition to the 20 to sometimes 50 dogs and cats she had to euthanize EVERY DAY, she also had to drive past other homeless pets wandering the streets each night, knowing she couldn’t help all of them herself.
She still can’t help all of them, but I owe her so much for starting the Animal Clinic and saving the ones she can, like my scruffy Sadie.
Let me be clear—what’s happening in Elizabeth’s town is not something that’s secluded to one neighborhood or even one state in the U.S. This is happening all over the country every day, and we need to help.
In honor of National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, I’m asking that you consider trying one of Ten Ways to Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue as suggested by the Humane Society. Please do something for a sweet animal in need and the people who save their lives every day.
I’m planning to donate some food and toys this weekend and thank my local shelter volunteers for their important, difficult work. I’m also so looking forward to owning my own home someday, so that I can become a foster home for small rescues like Elizabeth’s that might not have a facility to house the animals overnight and need help from families who care. (Another huge thanks to Hannah, Elizabeth’s vet tech who fostered Sadie and her sisters before we found them.)
Even if it means I have to maintain my own yard, cut grass and not just pay my landlord and dog park to do that for me, it’s worth it to help those little guys who need me. My big, melty heart will be all the reward I need.
I don’t like to preach, and I know this isn’t any one person’s fault. But, it’s a global issue that we have to address by talking and learning and doing. If you’ve ever had an animal make your day with a funny video or tail wag as you passed by, please consider making their day by contributing to this cause and keeping their puppy brothers and sisters safe. (And kitties. And rabbits. And all the animals. ALL THE ANIMALS.)
I’ll be celebrating this week with Sadie by my side, as she always is and always will be. Because no matter how crazy she makes me when she eats random objects off the sidewalk or pees on the carpet (Sorry, landlord), she never ceases to make me melt when she curls up on the couch at night in total comfort and peace. Imagine where she’d be lying if it weren’t for caring rescuers like Elizabeth…