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Helping Homeless Pets: The Faces that Haunt Me

My Lady has somethin’ she wants to talk to ya about today. She seems sad and I kinda understand. I was homeless once ‘fore I found my Lady and it weren’t no fun! But, she sees so many of my fur friends in need every day and I think it gets to her sometimes. Anyway, she needs to talk it out. So, I’m gonna turn it over to her today.


I would like to start by saying I have always loved pets – any pet! Ever since I was a little girl and gathering up all the neighborhood homeless pets to play with. I have had pets all my life. I can also remember feeding the strays with table scraps my Grandmother would give me to take out to them.

It was only recently that the real problem of unwanted pets has hit home. Since moving to a rural location a few years ago, we have had more than our share of strays pets. Some we still have, some we have even adopted. Others, we have found loving homes for. We’ve even dealt with several litters of puppies from the two female strays. All of the puppies (16 to be exact) were adopted into good homes, with the help of my friends at the Humane Society. They were among some of the pups that took that freedom ride up North to their waiting adopters. Two of the pups we kept. Ozzy and Brandi came from those litters and each have their own problems which would have made it difficult to adopt out. We made the decision to keep them. With the two mamma dogs, we managed to have them spayed to stop the cycle.

Since that time, we have lost the one mamma. But, we still have the other mamma dog – Little Momma. She might as well be ours. This is her home. It’s where she sleeps, eats and plays. It’s a little out of the ordinary, since she and Miss Molly have issues with each other. I have to keep them separated. But, she has comfort in the mancave – complete with air conditioning, heat, a nice dog bed, food and water. We’ve even installed a pet door for her. We fully vet her and keep her free from fleas and tics. She gets treats and play time on a daily basis. A spoiled, and can I say getting fat, stray 🙂 So, yes, she is our dog now and has been for the past two years.

My volunteering at the shelter is bittersweet

Some know, and some don’t, but I spend an afternoon each week helping out by volunteering my time at the local shelter. I walk the dogs, pet, and play with them. Of course, I have to take a few treats to treat them too! They really look forward to their treats! There’s also the less glamorous jobs of cleaning the cages, washing the food and water bowls, etc.

When my volunteer day comes, it is bittersweet. It hurts me to see them, but then their excitement and all the hopeful and waiting expressions makes it worth my while and keeps me coming back. To miss a turn would mean they are still there waiting in their cage. I know they don’t really understand time and how many days has passed. But, I do know they understand when they see me they are going to get a taste of freedom for a little bit of time. How can I disappoint them? The answer is, I simply can’t. Sick, busy, whatever, I can’t get their faces out of my head. So, I trudge on. They are always there with their happy faces and wagging tails waiting for me. They are happy, and grateful, to receive a few minutes of petting and hopefully a walk. They crave human contact. When heading out for a walk, they look at me with such adoration and hope, it literally breaks my heart. For a little while they are able to walk, feel the sun on their face, and soak up much needed comfort. They love and enjoy this time. When time comes to go back, I’m not sure who feels the pain the most them or me. With a heavy heart, I return them to their cell to wait until the next time.

It takes all my willpower to not gather them all up and take them home with me. But, the truth is, I already have a mini-shelter going on. With 7 inside dogs and a resident stray – not to mention the other strays that come around for a meal (I can’t seem to turn any hungry furbaby away), I know it would be irresponsible. I would love to take each an every one home and wrap them in as much love as they could stand  – the fact remains that I can’t.

Then, when a foster or adopter is found for one of them, it’s still bittersweet. After spending so much time with them and getting to know them and their personality, it’s hard to say goodbye. The only thing that eases that pain is knowing they are own their way to a happy, and well deserved, life and furever home.

Helping the furbabies out of my reach

There are literally hundreds of furbabies in shelters, and high kill shelters, across the country. I spend an a ton of time, and most of my nights, online helping network these babies and trying to find rescues, fosters or adopters to take them. We try our best to help the ones most desperate first. But, for some of these babies, help comes to late. Those babies haunt me with their smiling faces!

There are young ones, old ones, sweet ones, sick ones, abused ones and the list goes on. All are gorgeous, loving, trusting babies that are put to sleep for no other reason than they were born and ended up in a kill shelter. Their faces forever haunt me! It is a daily nightmare that never ends. My wish is for someday that kill shelters will be outlawed! Until then, we do our best to get them moved as quickly as possible.

Some ask – Why are adoption fees so high?

Some ask why the fees to adopt are so high. I have heard the question over and over again. When you adopt a pet from a shelter, the expense is far less than purchasing a pet. The pet will have been spayed, or neutered, and fully vetted (have all it’s shots). Compared to vet expenses for these services, it’s actually much cheaper! It’s a small price to pay for all the work the shelters and rescues are fronting for them. Without this fee, there would be no medical care, no spaying, no neutering, no food, no nothing. The fee, even though minimal and along with donations, helps them to help all the animals. When you adopt, it makes room for another animal to be helped!

How do we solve the problem of homeless pets?

It is so important in the overall scheme of it all, to get the message out. The number one way to help solve the problem of homeless pets is to spay and neuter! We also have to solve the problem of puppy mills and back yard breeders. The main thing is, it starts with us and our voice! Some people may truly not understand the importance of spaying and neutering their pet. The more we talk about it and spread the word, it may reach these people.

The rescue and adoption is not a pretty world!!!

There is no better way to say it. The rescue and adoption world is not pretty. Truth be known, it is quite ugly and depressive! To see so many animals in need, the abused and mistreated, on a daily basis is not a fun thing. There are days I really get down, depressed and honestly feel like we are fighting a losing battle. There are so many orphaned, stray and abused pets and they just keep coming. But, I know to give up will not solve anything. For every pet saved, that is a life that will get to be lived! To give up would mean none would be saved, so I trudge on. That one life makes it worth my while! 

I want to take a moment to say a special thank you to all of you that share the post, the Facebook status, the tweets, etc. It may not seem like much, but you never know when that one friend that has a friend, that has a friend…. that just might be looking for such a pet! Your share could be the very one that saves a life! THANK YOU for all that you do to help!

We are making a dent! We just have to keep moving forward! We have to be their voice! For me, I am forever haunted by all the smiling trusting faces. When I close my eyes at night, I see the smiling faces of those that put their trust in me to help them. We have lost the battle for a lot of them, but I am determined to help the ones I can. I know we can succeed. We have to keep pushing forward and I know you are with me! That means a lot to me!

shannon fowler

Thursday 7th of December 2017

Both of my pets came from a rescue shelter. I really want to start volunteering. Animals being homeless or hurt makes me feel so sad.

Sandy Vanbuskirk

Monday 24th of November 2014

wow I wish I could adopted all these pets I have 3 dogs now

Denise Smith

Friday 24th of October 2014

it is so heartbreaking to see pictures of sweet animals homeless i am a animal lover to we have 4 cats and 2 dogs so sad thank you for posting this

Michelle Elizondo

Sunday 14th of September 2014

Sweet animals. Bless their hearts.

Dorothy Boucher

Friday 12th of September 2014

its so sad to see what humans do to what GOD has given to us, instead of loving them we throw the good out and eat the bad................ reading things like this make me sad and angry, I hope and pray that everyone can take a big of time out of there so called pure life and wake up and pay attention to what is real in our lives..................

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