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This endless cycle. It's like your hunger. You eat. You're full. But you know in a few hours you'll have to eat again. And it's not like any meal is any less important than the last. It just becomes something you do. Something you have to do. You have to eat. You have to drink. You have to breathe. It's not like any breath is any less important than the last. You have to sleep. You have to take each step. You have to save the next dog and the next and the next. It's not like any dog is any less important than the last. Sure, some dogs are your type of dog. Maybe you like the small ones with the big bug eyes. Or the smart ones who just seem to know. Or the dumb ones who smother you with kisses. Or the lost causes because they are just that. But still, you watch out for all the dogs. You don't want to lose a single one. When a dog's stay at the shelter rolls on to week 4 then week 5 then week 6, your sleep suffers - dreams tinged with anxiety, breathing turned to apnea. Then finally, in week 7 or 8 or 9, somehow, someone comes in and sees the dog and decides that it is the one. A little party goes off in your head, and after, you end up waiting for the look-where-he-is-now photos. And if that doesn't happen, if no one comes in, and the other thing happens, the unthinkable thing you nevertheless think about all the time, then what do you do but gather up those thoughts, wrap them up, squeeze them smaller and smaller until they are nothing more than black specks of hard sand which abrade and create little scars but that is still better than letting those thoughts float free. Then you move on quickly, in case something catches up to you. Take the new dogs out for walks. They're new. There is much hope. The percentages are good that this one and this one and this one will find homes, but still, you judge them. You can't help it. How long will this one stay? How will this one be with other dogs? With cats? With strangers? With children? Is it a barker? How about separation anxiety? A rug ripper? Is a couch safe with this one? How about the kitchen table? The living room wall? Then you force yourself to stop. You remember to enjoy the moment, live the moment. That is what the dog is doing. It is pulling on the leash, greedy for each scent, sight, sound. That furry thing on four legs. Almost alien but always touching the earth, unencumbered and closer to fine. It lives life so much. It loves life so much.

(text reposted from One Bark at a Time, December 2008)

3 Comments to “Flow”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Fred, this perfectly captures the animal lover's thought process. Well voiced; sometimes hard to 'enjoy the moment' but you are right, we must move forward and keep doing what we can to change things.

  2. Beautiful picture on this post...and sad.

  3. rika says:

    Yes, a sad yet beautiful picture that says it all. Thank you Fred for reposting this.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.