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Posts Tagged ‘euthanasia’

This video nicely highlights the insanity in killing “racing” horses when they become injured.  I think my favorite parts are when Shawn’s mother says “it’s just so expensive to keep a lame gymnast”; and then when the host asks her if  Shawn was in a lot of pain at the end, and she replies, “oh no, no, no – there was no pain – just a quick shot to the back of the head.”

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If you’ve been following the whole debate about what to do with all the wild horses in the western United States, then you probably know that there was a possibility that thousands of these beautiful animals would be rounded up and potentially euthanized. Well, it looks like the horses might actually “win” this one, thanks to a wealthy philanthropist & horse lover, Madeleine Pickens (wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens) who recently announced that she would adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens. While she looks for land that would be appropriate for the horses, the Bureau of Land Management will continue to care for the animals for another year.

Wild horse & burro populations have become more “problematic” as of late, because while their populations are growing, the number of people willing or able to adopt them has fallen, as feed prices have skyrocketed, and the economy has dipped into a serious recession:

The federal government has been rounding up wild horses since the 1980s, putting them in holding facilities and offering them for adoption to horse lovers, who promise not to sell them for slaughter. But the roundups became aggressive under the Bush administration. As of June, BLM was holding 30,088 animals, more than triple the 9,807 held in 2001…. Meanwhile, the pace of adoptions has been falling as the cost of feeding and caring for the wild horses has skyrocketed. The price tag to federal taxpayers for maintaining the horses tripled from $7 million in 2000 to $21 million in 2007. Hay prices for one short-term holding facility in Nevada rose from about $160 per ton in 2007 to almost $300 per ton in 2008, for example.

Luckily, these American icons will not meet the fate that many of their predecessors have, thanks to Ms. Pickens.

See, this is why I should be a billionaire – I’d be a totally good billionaire!  I’d save lots of animals and throw money at different non-profits that were doing animal advocacy work. AND I’d be able to volunteer my time instead of working for a paycheck.  It seems ideal….so, yeah, I should be a billionaire. Heck, even being a millionaire would suffice.  How can I make that happen?  Dear Lottery, pick me….??

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Barack Obama & his daughters

President Elect Barack Obama’s two young daughters, Malia Anne (10) and Sasha (7), were promised that they could get a puppy if their father won the presidency.  Now that Obama has officially been elected (hooray!), it looks like these little girls will finally get their wish.  Now, I don’t know this for sure, but my guess is that most presidents of the past who have had dogs probably got fancy purebreds – “show quality” dogs.  I know a lot of smart & caring people who have gone to breeders or bought puppies at pet stores (ugh!) not realizing that essentially what they’re doing is condemning another dog who’s waiting in a shelter to death.  Until we stop creating demand from breeders and commercial breeders (puppy mills), this country will continue to euthanize millions of healthy, innocent dogs every year.

Obama knows this, and that’s why he has determined that his family’s first dog will be a rescue dog! I could not be happier.  The Obama family will be setting an example for families all across the nation, showing them that rescue is an option, and that you can find a wonderful pet at your local shelter.  Every dog in my family has come from local shelters, most as adults, and they all easily became a part of the family.

I can’t wait to see which lucky pup Malia and Sasha choose to join their family in the White House, and I hope all Americans see and follow Obama’s example!

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Many of you have probably seen the news story about the woman who recently cloned her pet Pitbull, Booger, who passed away from cancer in 2006. The cloning procedure resulted in 5 miniature copies of Booger and cost the woman $50,000.

Yes, $50,000.

Look, if there is anyone who understands what it’s like to love a dog, it’s me. My dog Otis is like my baby. I cannot imagine my life without him, and I dread the day when I will have to. He is a sweet, kind, loving, stubborn little guy who makes my life so much more enjoyable – I would do anything for him.

Well, almost anything. I would NOT clone him so that I could have him again and again and again. Why? Because it wouldn’t be fair. This country alone is wildly overpopulated with unwanted pets. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year due to overpopulation. These are often times healthy, young animals that shelters just can’t house—they aren’t vicious or sick or old. They are simply victims of overpopulation.

How, then, can someone justify spending $50,000 to CLONE their dog? How can you look the other way while millions of other animals will die, knowing that you could have saved at least one more had you not decided to do something so irresponsible? What’s more – think of how that $50,000 could have been better used to benefit homeless animals if it had been donated to her local shelter or to some other animal advocacy organization!

I think when you look at it from that perspective, there’s just really no way to justify cloning – no matter how much you love your pet. I hope that my dog Otis lives a long and happy life, and that when he passes, I know I did the very best for him that I could. Then, when the time is right, I will go to a shelter and find a new dog to love and will start that incredibly rewarding (though eventually sad) process all over again.

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How Could You?

This essay made me cry….
Copyright Jim Willis 2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” ­ but then you’d relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs,” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” ­ still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.”

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch ­ because your touch was now so infrequent ­ and I would have defended them with my life if need be.

I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you ­ that you had changed your mind ­ that this was all a bad dream…or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.

She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself ­ a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

The End

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