I'd like to talk about shelters and why there are "urgent" dogs for those new to our site. There seems to be some general confusion as to what we do, so I want to help clear the air as best as I can.
Firstly, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and the urgent dogs posted on this site and social media pages are in shelters throughout Tennessee. We do not have these dogs and therefore, have no say in which dogs are euthanized at these facilities and when it will occur. Shelter staff and their volunteers list these dogs on our website and we in turn share them on various social media pages. The goal for us and the shelters we assist is to help these dogs find their way to safety.
While we are very happy to help those shelters who share their urgent dogs with us, keep in mind that there are many more shelters out there that do not. Most of them are also euthanizing dogs, but either don't want people to know it, or they are just not taking the time to post them on our site. It bothers me to see people making hateful comments regarding the urgent dogs posted here. Why? Because the shelters whose dogs you see here are the ones trying to network their dogs the best they can. They want their dogs to make it into loving homes and rescue groups. That is why they are open about which dogs are next to be euthanized and when it will occur. It's because they care enough to be willing to face the occasional angry email or phone call, if it means one dog makes it out alive.
I understand the anger and frustration some feel when they see these urgent posts. If I didn't, I wouldn't have been here volunteering my time for the last 4 years. Everyone has a choice, you can either unlike the page because it's too much to bare, or you can decide like I did that you want to do something about it.
Let's talk briefly about why there are urgent dogs. The main reason is quite simple and that is shelter crowding. There are more dogs being picked up as strays and surrendered to these shelters by their owners than there are being adopted. Each facility only has so much kennel space. There are shelters that will try to house multiple dogs together to make more space available. The problem is that at a certain point, they start fighting for food and conditions become unsanitary, resulting in sickness.
There are a few factors that contribute to the number of homeless animals. One is that a large number of people are not spaying and neutering their dogs. These dogs are then breeding, reproducing puppies that are unwanted and either abandoned, given away or brought to their local animal shelter. The majority of these puppies will also not be spayed and neutered, so they just continue to reproduce and their puppies will have puppies and so on..
Instead of adopting, many people are still buying puppies from breeders despite the fact that millions of adult dogs and puppies are euthanized each year. 20-30% of these dogs that are purchased are later surrendered to animal shelters because their owners no longer want them. Shelters then have even more homeless dogs to find homes for.
People are surrendering their dogs and puppies to shelters at an alarming and very bothersome rate. Instead of shelters simply having to place stray dogs into homes, they also have to try to place dogs that owners no longer want.
Lowering the number of homeless dogs, will ultimately lower the number of dogs being euthanized because another needs their kennel. This is very possible, be we as a society need to work together. We have to absolutely make sure our pets are spayed and neutered, no excuses. We need to adopt our next dog and when we do, we need to make a commitment to our new family member for the rest of it's life.
If you want to do more to help, donate to your local shelter or a reputable rescue organization in your area. More than likely they need volunteers as well for help with events, fundraisers, photos of their adoptable dogs and probably a whole lot more!
If the urgent posts upset you, it's because you're a compassionate person that cares. Harness your anger and use it in a positive way to help these shelters and the many dogs in need of homes.
"Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now." ~Author unknown