Keeping Dogs Out of Shelters

Making a Comeback After Going Through a RUFF Time is PAWSible

Chance and Parker’s PAWSibility #83 – Making a Comeback After Going Through a RUFF Time

Chance, Parker and I are on the comeback trail. We went through a rough time being separated, and were recently reunited.

Most of 2014 felt like being caught in a riptide as a tsunami engulfed me. I struggled and struggled to swim directly to shore with strong strokes and hard kicks. I got nowhere. Fast.

When I learned to relax and swim parallel to the shoreline in order to escape the riptide, things started looking up. The sky was blue, and safety of the beach looked closer. Then, BAM! Dark clouds rolled in delivering lightning and high winds. A massive tidal wave pummeled me and thrust me hard down against the ocean floor. The intense current tossed and turned me uncontrollably under water. I was disoriented. Finally, my head popped above water. I took a quick breath, and then started to fight against the riptide, again. Eventually, I just let go. I trusted what was meant to be, and washed to shore.

The tsunami that hit was a living situation that forced me to break apart my family in early November 2014. At the time, I had three dogs:
* Chance, who started having serious health issues earlier in the year
* Parker, who suffers separation anxiety
* Pinot, who was my newly adopted foster fail

I will share more details in future posts. For now, I will just say my entire world fell apart when my landlord told me I had to “get rid” of two of my three dogs. They were my family. I was devastated. I was also stuck. My lease was not up until April 1, 2015.

I was lucky. I had options. They were hard choices, but not life-threatening choices. Chance stayed with me so I could monitor him closely and take care of his medical needs. Parker stayed with my mom and step-dad for four months. Pinot found a wonderful new forever family with my friend and former dog walker.

Like many of you, the idea of surrendering any of my dogs to a shelter was unfathomable to me. It just wasn’t an option. Surrendering your dog or cat to a shelter can be a death sentence. The statistics are improving, but still awful. Both ASPCA and HSUS publish that nearly 3 million healthy adoptable dogs and cats that enter shelters across the U.S. are euthanized each year. Three million beautiful lives cut short.

What if you are not as fortunate as me? What if you do not have dog or cat loving people in your life who will step up and help you keep your beloved pet out of the shelter? What if your dog is sick and you recently lost your job? What if you not only lost your job, but also do not have a place to live?

Sometimes, the only thing keeping you going is the love of your dog. You don’t have to lose that, too. Animal shelters are not your only option.

One of my favorite dog rescue organizations in Los Angeles, Downtown Dog Rescue, started an innovative Shelter Intervention Program in April 2013. The compassion, understanding and problem solving of the staff and volunteers goes above and beyond any I’ve ever witnessed. They find solutions and help thousands of families keep their pets.

The program is growing with services offered in three Los Angeles area shelters:
* South Los Angeles
* East Valley
* North Central

I also recently learned about a wonderful program sponsored by No Kill Oakland-PALS East Bay: The Rainbow Bridge Fund. This fund supports seniors who have entered the shelter and are nearing the end of their lives. They are able to live the rest of their days receiving an abundance of comfort and love in the home of a compassionate foster.

Does your city have similar programs? Please tell me about it.

Let’s get the word out. Let’s save lives. Together. Every being deserves to make a comeback.