Monday, June 18, 2007

Butchy the Labrador Mix

{Thanks to the good folks at The Daily Puppy}

My pick for today's edition of "here's a cute-as-hell-puppy" is Butchy, the Labrador Mix. And it was heartening to hear that she was rescued from a shelter. Having volunteered at a dog shelter not too long ago, I know firsthand how much the dogs there could use a good friend. While the conditions are certainly a lot better in than out on the streets, a dog shelter is still a high-stress environment for the dogs.

Most of the shelter dogs have had a traumatic life - the unlucky ones have been abused, beaten, starved; the lucky ones were merely left to die on the streets when their 'family' had to move somewhere and decided that the dog was too much of a burden to take along; the truly lucky ones get picked up by rescue workers who bring them into the shelter. The volunteer-run shelters (the less said about the state-run shelters the better...hehe) survive on community support and charitable donations and typically struggle to make ends meet. And pecuniary strangulation isn't the only thing I'm talking about - what they suffer from is an acute shortage of volunteers!

Like I was saying, a shelter is a high-stress environment for dogs. They are confined in small cages in very close proximity to a ton of other barking, howling, traumatized dogs. Compounded with their painful past, it doesn't really give them a fair shot at a proper rehabilitation. That's where the volunteers come in - at a typical shelter, the volunteers help feed the dogs, take them out for walks, play with them... and just generally give the dogs something to wag those tails at! :) However, such volunteers are usually a high-turnover corps, leading to times when the shelters are left with no one to give the pooches the much-needed R&R!! I'm not one to preach, but I do urge you - if you are in the U.S. and have never checked out an animal shelter, please find one near you using this ASPCA link. On a lazy Saturday afternoon, walk/drive to that shelter, and spend some time getting to know the dogs and feeding them some treats - it will make a huge difference in their day, and you will leave feeling a little more at peace with yourself - I guarantee it!

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