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September 25, 2012 > Ohlone Humane Society: Who will want me? Remembering the homeless

Ohlone Humane Society: Who will want me? Remembering the homeless

By Nancy Lyon

"My name is Adalade, at least that is what they call me now, although I remember another name when I was younger. The kind people here at the shelter where I was brought have trimmed the painful mats from my once beautiful and soft white coat and put something in my sore ears that have made them feel so much better.

"I recall a time when I very young and was thought wonderful - and I gave as much love as I could to the family I thought that would love me back forever. I'm not sure what went wrong...

"I tried so hard to do what they asked of me but suddenly I found myself on a busy street, I have never been out of my backyard so I don't know what the big monsters that whizzed by were but they terrified me. The people I loved and trusted so much put me out and I think they said someone would give me a good home just before they drove way. It was very, very scary.

"Some nice person pulled me out of the way of the monsters and now I'm in a place called a shelter. There are lots of other dogs, and even cats, near me and I can tell many are as confused as I am. What did we do wrong? I hear the nice people talk in soft voices and they sound worried... something about not having enough room. I'm not sure what that means but it makes me frightened again. What will happen to me?"

There are so many 'Adalades' crowding shelters... wonderful, loving animals who only want a chance to find a true forever home with people that value them as family. Unfortunately, desperate emails from California shelter volunteers currently flash across the Internet sending out lists of available shelter animals to everyone and anyone who may be able to prevent the death of the lives in their care. Often in vain.

As part of this rush to save lives, as a volunteer at the Fremont Animal Shelter, I know it's unending and too often, no matter how many the outreach efforts, animals... amazingly adoptable animals of all descriptions, pure and mixed breeds, die with strangers instead of with a family that would be grieving at their departure at the end of a long life.

In August, the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) held its 21st annual Homeless Animals Day. On this day people from around the world joined together to promote awareness of the plight of homeless companion animals and in observance of the over-population of animal companions and the role of spaying and neutering to end the suffering.

ISAR Program Specialist Colleen Gedrich recently commented, "ISAR launched and commemorated National Homeless Animals' Day in 1992 to enlighten society, governmental officials, and the media to the tragedy of pet overpopulation and how it can be reduced: mandatory spay/neuter"... "while nobody really knows the exact number of cats, dogs, kittens and puppies killed in shelters and on the streets each year, it is estimated that at least approximately 3-4 million healthy animals in shelters alone are destroyed annually. The overwhelming scourge of cat and dog overpopulation remains a crisis on a global scale.

There are a number of reasons why so many dogs and cats roam the streets or end up in shelters, but the bottom-line is unspayed or unneutered animals adding thousands to an already swollen overpopulation epidemic. Their offspring will have litters and then their offspring will have more; and the cycle continues.

The real problem lies with society - ignorance or disregard of the problem, lack of finances to spay or neuter, backyard and puppy/kitten mills breeders - and yes some "professional" breeders - turning a profit from breeding.

Add to the mix poor judgment in getting an animal in the first place. Many people are new to having a companion animal and unaware that the responsibility and costs involved are similar to having a child. Because of this, animals often get little care, and like Adalade, are tossed into the backyard and forgotten or abandoned.

With difficult economic times, some are opting to relinquish their "pets" to a shelter, perhaps because they have no other choice but the impact on shelter population and euthanasia numbers grow with each incoming animal.

The solution - Remember Adalade and the others at risk; accept responsibility and spay or neuter your animal companion; don't contribute to the killing. If you can honestly commit to the lifelong care and expense of having an animal companion then adopt from a shelter or rescue - don't buy!

UPDATE: "Our" Adalade was just adopted but please remember all the "other" Adalades waiting in shelters. They are depending on you.

For information on Spay/Neuter Assistance, contact OHS at 510-792-4587.

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