Each, and every year, 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized due to overcrowding and a shortage of adoptive families and foster homes. Give at least one of them a chance to bestow the gift of a positive influence in your life with an unconditional loyalty and love that would otherwise be extinguished without the opportunity of expression. Take the first step and visit one of our local Shelters or Rescue Organizations. They are ready to connect you with a grateful companion that will ask for no more than a meal, shelter, compassion and a kind word in return for a friendship that will forever inhabit a warm place in your heart.
Shelters are usually operated and funded by local government and depend heavily upon donations and volunteers while caring for many homeless dogs and cats at any given moment in time. Many are brought to the shelters by local animal control, court ordered surrenders due to animal cruelty charges, deplorable living conditions without shelter, food or water, or, simply left at the shelter by owners who can no longer provide them with proper care. The sad fact is, the majority, of shelters are already at or above maximum capacity, have no additional resources available and are running in over-load. These shelters, with the exception, of "No Kill" shelters, have no choice but to euthanize animals simply because they have been at the shelter too long, or, for whatever reason, a judgment has been made that they are not suitable for adoption. Euthanize is too kind of a word, it sounds like we are doing them a favor; civilize, patronize, idolize; put down isn't any better, it resonates with the thought that we are tired of them sitting on our laps or the furniture and had to "put them down". Let's call it what it really is, extinguishing the life and light of another “sentient being” in the cause of convenience. Shelter life is a sad existence that has an impact on their trust, socialization skills, personality and health which makes adopting, fostering or volunteering absolutely-essential for their well-being. When visiting a shelter, please keep in mind that animals may not be on their best behavior because they are in an unknown, loud, scary place; confined to a very small and oftentimes crowded space.
Rescues come in the form of a person or non-profit organization which is primarily funded by donations and volunteers. Their focus is to rescue animals, take them into their homes, safe facilities or place them in foster care. With the help of foster home volunteers, animals are given another chance at life in a loving home as members of a loving family, until their fur-ever home is found. Shelters work closely with rescue groups, especially with those difficult to place, but otherwise healthy and family member worthy animals. Shelters would rather have the animals placed in a loving foster home than extinguish another light. If you are a retired "Golden Ager" give some thought to providing a home to one of the "Golden Ager" animals that are so difficult to place, and enjoy your Golden Years together.