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Sunday, January 13, 2008


Every week animals are euthanized at the animal shelter that I have been working with. Every year millions (not hundreds or thousands - millions) are killed each year in our country. It is so big it is hard to wrap the mind around - to really understand and grasp how this is happening. I don't really understand how something this huge keeps going on - I just don't.

I have been guilty of allowing my animals to reproduce in the past - I am now more upset with myself than ever. Especially after seeing 9 puppies put to sleep on Friday. I have been wrong. But I know better now - and my only hope is through my work to help other people know how wrong it is - to help them see the results of the irresponisibilty that exists.

It is easy to understand the suffering of the animals - but have you ever thought about those that must do the euthanasia? Has anyone ever thought about how by leaving an animal at the shelter affects those who work there? I bet most don't. The people who work there truly care about the animals. At the Newport shelter there are very dedicated and hard working individuals - and not unlike us they have the same emotions. Unlike those of us who are not in their position - their emotions are played with on a daily basis due to the "throw away" society that we live in. It may be out of sight and out of mind for those abandoning their animals - but for the shelter workers they are not afforded that luxury.

I went in fully expecting to feel grief over the animals that died, and I fully expected to see the terror and pain in the eyes of the animals as they met their fate. What I was not prepared for was to see the emotion from the workers involved. I wasn't prepared to see the pain of the animal control officer as he held back tears while gently holding the dogs as they were injected with the drugs. I wasn't expecting to see the tears from the director over her frustration and saddness over the act. If people don't care about the animals - I wish they could get a glimpse into what their actions do to the people. I wish they could see the care that the dogs and puppies received in their final moments - the soft touch, the words, the carefullness of placing their bodies in the bags. These people care so much and it hurt more than anything to see such good people forced to do this because of an irresponsible society.

Death for the castaway animals is not the solution - it is simply something that must be done due to the overwhelming numbers. On Friday I saw a dog waiting in the back of the animal control truck - waiting for a space - a space provided by the euthanized animals. They arrive all the time. The solution is to be responsible. To fix your pets. To adopt from shelter. To be better role models for the next generation. I saw 12 die on Friday - 12 is a small number in the scheme of things - but I am still in shock. I mourn for them.

I left the shelter searching for answers in my head. I left wondering about religion - did not God create these creatures - I am embarrassed for us all. But maybe there is no God. I am feeling so lost about this all and the only tool I have to stand up against it are my words and my art. That is the voice I have. I feel more strongly about what I am doing with the shelter now.


Cynthia said...

Mary, I looked at your photos of #1 out...the beautiful redbone hound and they were stunning. They showed her gentleness, her desire to be close to people. Now I've read your description of your encounter with her and the others "put down" that day and appreciate all you're trying to accomplish for the animals and those who care at the shelter. You're a good friend to us all. The saddest thing happened...the very next day a call was made to the shelter about someone trying to get the female hound into a rescue group. Too late. It's happened several times lately but just as often, a "stay of euthanization" happens and that very day or the next, someone will come in the door wanting that very dog. We take every bit of sweetness to heart and it keeps us going. Thanks for helping. C.

Mary said...

Thank you cynthia - the work you do is so important. Like I was told Friday - if it weren't for the Rolling rescue - the numbers would be completely unreal.

amber said...

OH NO! That hurts my heart so much. Why does the world have to be this way? Why can't people be responsible for their actions? Why is it that so many people are incapable of seeing the painful truth about our wasteful society... we even throw away life and such a sweet one.. so many...

Dharma Designs said...

I am truly heartbroken - couldn't even read the whole post. How tragic. :-(

Tizzalicious said...

That's so sad :(

Cynthia said...

Hi Mary! I miss you!! I know things are difficult with your family situation but I hope your mama is improving and you are finding some time for yourself/art. Please let me know how you are doing....

Things are ever changing at the shelter. We sent 66 to rescues last month and have already sent 35 this month and may have a few more trips. We continue to battle with parvo and so are trying to make improvements in the facility so that we can lose fewer to the dreaded disease.

Also, we've bought a '75 Winnebago to set up as a spay/neuter clinic at the shelter. We can then begin to tackle the source of the problem and eventually go out into the county to the people. Shawn has been hired for a few months so Carol can teach her vet tech skills and then maybe it'll turn into a permanent job. No $ yet.

Anyway, Chris was attacked by a Pit mix last week as she tried to walk him at the shelter and as a result, has to have surgery on her hand and her arms were full of puncture wounds. Very sad for all involved.

Send me your phone #...I feel a need to help you with your project.
Love you! Take care of yourself.

Mary said...

cynthia- I love that the rolling rrescue continues to save so many! I would love to know how many total have been saved through the program.. a Winnebago? and a 75? Fantastic! Perfect! More reason for me to make a trip back soon - I need photos of this fixing machine!!! How fantastic - things are really changing and I know this mobile clinic will make a huge difference in the area!!
I am sorry to hear about Chris - she is one the best voluteers there and a wonderful person - I hope she recovers soon - she is in my thoughts!!