Animals Need A Loving Home!
A True Story by Patty Adjamine
The man walked into the lobby of the animal shelter. Behind
dogs followed faithfully, without leashes. Both dogs were
and apparently well-trained Chow mixes. Their guardian was
The man waited nervously on a line of other people surrendering
to the pound. His eyes were desperate as the two dogs stood
beside him. He frantically looked around the lobby.
He spotted me with two cats in carriers as I was taking
papers from a
shelter worker and preparing to leave. He quickly sensed
situation and begged me if I could also take his dogs. "My
dogs are wonderful,"
he told me. "They are well trained, gentle, affectionate,
good with kids.
They are only two-years-old. I am moving and cannot take
them with me. My
animals need a loving home!"
I could see his dogs were nice dogs. One of them licked
my hand when I
petted him. But, I could not take them.
I explained to the desperate man that while I could not
take his dogs, I would get their intake numbers and let
him know what was
happening with the animals. I promised, if possible I would
try to find
a placement situation for them. He gave me his pager number
as he did
not yet have a phone. He then reluctantly signed his dogs
over to the shelter.
When a shelter worker came to take the animals away, both
desperately pulling back towards their former owner. The
former guardian fought
back tears and then forced himself to look the other way
-- and exit the
That evening I called the shelter to check on the status
of the dogs.
One had already been "put to sleep."
I was told that both dogs behaved "aggressively"
in the shelter. One
had been euthanized because he had attempted to bite a shelter
other was being held for another day or two for a "reevaluation."
if I could see the surviving dog and was told I could.
I raced to the shelter to see the dog who still was alive.
back of the cage, this formerly friendly and loving dog
was now snarling and
assumed a defensive/aggressive posture. The same dog who
my hand, now threatened to lunge at me. I dared not attempt
to pet him.
He was terrified.
Upon arriving home, I immediately called the former owner's
Less than five minutes later he called me back. I told him
happened and about his surviving dog. "If you want
this dog to live, you need
to get to the shelter and reclaim him immediately! He is
not going into
The man started screaming hysterically on the phone. "THEY
I tried to explain that his sweet, loving dogs had become
stressed in the shelter. There was no way the shelter could
them, but the man was no longer listening to me.
The next day the Director of the Shelter called to admonish
giving the man the information. "The man caused a scene
in the shelter! We
had to return the dog to him. We cannot have this kind of
chaos!" I told him
he should be happy that his shelter had one less dog to
This true event happened several years ago. Since then I
hundreds of formerly loved and loving pets suddenly undergo
personality changes when subjected to the stresses, depression
fears associated with abandonment and being thrust into
frightening surroundings. Sadly, most of these pets die.
The lesson to be learned is that the acquisition of animals
responsibility. When one's bond to a pet is broken for whatever
too often, there is no one else to "pick up the pieces"
of that broken
commitment. Shelters and rescue groups are not the "solution."
merely a stopgap for SOME animals. But, quite literally
through the cracks. The real solution is in human responsibility:
YOU ARE YOUR ANIMALS' "LOVING HOME."
From Jim Willis:
Personally, I think it would be a good idea if every animal
shelter kept copies of this story at the front desk and
asked everyone relinquishing an animal to spend a few minutes
with their pet while they read it. I realize some shelters
use my own story "How
Could You?" for that purpose. The difference between
my fictional story and this one is that in my story, the
dog behaves well in the shelter environment. The below is
the other side of the coin - the animals who can't take
the separation from their guardian, the noise, the confinement,
the stress, and who behave badly. There is also a lesson
to be learned for those who think a shelter is the proper
environment for evaluating an animal's temperament and behavior.
Animals, being resilient, usually adapt and learn to trust
another human, but first we have to get them out of the
shelter, or stop them from ending up there in the first
Voices for the Voiceless Inc.
"Teach Respect to the Earth and All Living Things"