Imagine if any of us as children were unceremoniously dumped at a shelter like a bag of old stuff being donated to Goodwill. Imagine if we lost the only bed, the only house, the only family we knew.
Well, that’s what happened to about 6.5 million household pets last year in the United States according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). About half of that figure were dogs.
The good news? Fifty percent of them were adopted by loving families who gave them a new lease on life. The bad news? The other half were euthanized, over half a million each year. For them, abandonment literally meant the end of their lives.
Everyone knows that dog shelters across the United States are full of amazing animals, each one of them deserving a home. Whether their owners were surprised at how big they grew, or the fact that they didn’t remain “cute puppies” all their lives, or that these animals needed more training, attention, exercise, and love than they were willing to provide, it’s an enormous tragedy for the dogs.
A few years ago, the High Plains Humane Society (HPHS) in Portales, New Mexico, shared a picture of a very sad dog at its shelter. This pup had been abandoned by her family and literally had no one left in her life except for the kind shelter volunteers.
While we know how sad shelter dogs must be, it’s hard to know exactly what they feel. But sometimes an image captures our attention because it gives an insight into what being alone means. The image the HPHS shared of this depressed dog was definitely one of those.
The dog stands up in her cage, her front paws gripping the bars, looking right at the camera. And there in her eyes are what look to be tears.
While dogs don’t have liquid coming out from their eyes the same way as humans do to express sadness—instead they will make a whelping, crying noise—the picture underscored how sad this dog’s situation was. The liquid probably indicated a problem with her eyes, just one of many health problems that abandoned and neglected dogs often come into shelters with.
If the shelter couldn’t find a forever family for her quickly, she might become yet another tragic statistic. These tears definitely got the attention of animal lovers all over the internet, and within the day, calls were flooding in asking about her. Offers of adoption even came in.
"Happy Tails".This sweet girl received a lot of attention today and was adopted. This is her shelter picture along with her freedom picture.
Amazingly, within just a day, a local dog lover came and took this sweet pup away. From death row to a new home, this beautiful girl had hit the jackpot. The pictures from the HPHS showed her excitedly standing up to get cuddles from her new mom, who had a big smile beaming across her face.
But while it was definitely a happy ending for this sweet pooch, how many other of her shelter mates made it out? The story reminds us of how important it is to be responsible pet owners and to remember that dogs, just like kids, are always family. No matter what!