A few months ago, I saw a story on Facebook about a friend who, after unexpectedly losing her father, sought out healing by visiting a local shelter. She decided to deal with her father’s death by giving the gift of life. She walked into her local high-kill shelter and said to the first employee she saw: “Just give me the next one you’re going to kill.”
The employee went back into the rows of cages and brought out a pit mix; he wasn’t aggressive, he wasn’t elderly, he wasn’t sick. He just wasn’t a puppy, he wasn’t a purebred, and his time was up. If this friend of mine hadn’t shown up, he would have died within the hour. His story isn’t unique, American shelters kill a pet every 10 seconds.
I understand that it’s not feasible for every person to walk into a shelter and commit to saving the next red-tagged animal. Many of us have to at least have some plan in mind for the size, age, and approximate breed of animal we want to adopt (yard space, free time for training, allergies, and building requirements are real life variables most people have to consider).
That said, it is not unreasonable to think that when bringing a new family member into the home, we can at least make an effort to adopt the less easily-adoptable angels: the elderly (it’s nearly impossible for a dog or cat more than 8-years-old to get out of a shelter alive), the disabled, the ones with personality issues (our rescue chihuahua Jimmy was rescued on his last day before euthanasia; his abusive former owner intentionally broke his front leg, so of course he was a biter; after some TLC he turned into the sweetest, most grateful little love bug), or the overlooked ones who, for no obvious reasons, have been in the shelter long enough to be approaching their euthanasia date.
The pups pictured here are currently stuck in the high-kill Orange County Animal Shelter, and were photographed by an incredible volunteer who posts beautiful photos of all adoptable OC dogs on her Facebook page. If you’re local to Southern California, please take a look. Far too many animals lose their lives behind those walls every day.
Please consider making room in your heart & home for an animal that may, if not for your action, lose their life very soon.
You could be their hero. They’re waiting for you, and hoping you see them.