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There are two types of animal guardians in this world. There are those who treat their companion pets pretty much the same they would treat their own children, loving them unconditionally and accepting them with all of their flaws. Then there are those who adopt (or unfortunately purchase) a dog or a cat and realize they are in way over their heads only once it is too late. Sometimes these guardians don’t realize how expensive having a companion pet will be, how much work it actually requires, or that dogs are, in fact, very similar to children in that they will very often make messes and mistakes just because that is their nature.
Whatever their reason is, these types of guardians will decide that having a companion animal is simply too much to handle and drop their puppies and kittens off at shelters. Abandoning a puppy at a shelter is not like dropping clothes off at a donation center, though. There’s no guarantee that these sweet creatures will find another home. And with the presence of pet shops which offer “purebred” puppies with virtually no problems, the millions of pups in shelters can easily be overlooked. Instead, these animals spend day after day waiting, filled with anxiety and the sadness that comes with abandonment until one day the shelter decides that too much time has passed and the dog needs to be put down to make room for others.
While for most people this upsetting reality is out of sight and out of mind, shelter workers have to bear witness to the whole heartbreaking situation. Recently, in an attempt to bring more light to this situation, a shelter employee by the name of Michele Boggs posted a photo onto her Facebook page displaying the depressing sight she has to see when dogs are euthanized at the shelter. The black bags lining the walls barely show the silhouette of a dog but any viewer instantly knows what they are looking at. The most powerful part of the post, however, is the caption, which Michele took a bit of creative liberty on, writing from the perspective of one of the dogs.
The caption begins with the facts: “I died today. You got tired of me and took me to the shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left.”
The caption then goes on to include all of the possible reasons this puppy’s guardian may have gotten rid of him. Perhaps it was the fact that he chewed their shoes, or peed in the house, brought fleas into the house, or barked? More importantly, the caption lists all of the ways the puppy didn’t know any better. Puppies can’t tell the difference between shoes and toys, they can’t pee outside unless trained, they don’t attract fleas on purpose, and the only reason they bark is because they so desperately want to communicate with those around them. Puppies are like babies. They’re not perfect and they will never be. What matters is having patience, teaching them to make the right choices, and loving them despite the mistakes they make. Puppies are not objects to possess until you get tired of them, they are living, breathing beings, they are lifelong commitments. As heartbreaking as this post is, we applaud Michele for posting it on Facebook and hope that this message reaches those who need to see it most.
Image source: Michele Boggs/Facebook