EL PASO — Walking into the animal shelter it seems to me that most of the dogs are saying, “I’m excited there is a new face here today — maybe one will take me to a nice warm home, and maybe I will meet new friends too! Oh, please pick me. I promise I will be a good dog.”
They stare at visitors and wag their tails in eagerness to be touched. They probably came from a home where they once were loved and played with every day.
They are not used to sitting in a cage, lonely. Especially two beautiful Golden Retrievers I saw outside — two really big adult dogs that seemed so close to each other, as if they were brother and sister, and who knows maybe they are.
They were so cute and eager to be petted that I thought to myself how did they end up here? They looked very well taken care of and very healthy. I’m surprised anyone would give them up. Those dogs don’t belong in a cage as if they are in jail. They belong in a nice warm home where they are able to run around or be taken to the park to run as fast as they can and sniff anything they desire.
That’s why more people need to be educated on how to raise a pet, and how you should only adopt a pet if you can afford it, and you will be amazed at how quickly you fall in love with them.
These days a lot more people are visiting animal shelters than ever before. You would hope it was to adopt a pet, or volunteer, but it is just the opposite. Since the downturn in the economy, people can’t afford to take care of their animals and they are dropping them off to be adopted by someone else, causing overcrowding.
“I’ve never seen it so bad,” says Loretta Hyde the founder of Animal Rescue League of El Paso. “Here in El Paso this is probably one of the main issues I have with pet overpopulation, because for every dog you adopt out, you take in 10. On an average we would get 20 to 30 calls a day. Now it is probably 50 to 60.” Hyde said that people moving into small apartments can’t keep their pets with them. “It’s amazing. Whenever I go to the pound to take out an adoptable pet, there is usually a line waiting to turn pets in,” Hyde said.
El Paso kills 19,000 animals a year, even after 16 years of adoptions at the Rescue League. It still does not put a dent in the number they kill.
I don’t know why more isn’t being done to save more lives. Passing by each dog in the cage, I can already see how these pets just want to be loved. The barking and the wagging of the tail and even the cries can really make you feel like taking all of them home. Each one has its own story, and each one deserves to have a good home, but pets can become expensive.
“We work by donations, whether it be buying food, medical supplies or sponsoring a pet that is sick. Even sponsoring spays and neutering for pets coming in, or a litter of puppies that need bottle-feeding,” Hyde said.
Many no-kill shelters have considered changing to kill-shelters because of the increase in animals and the limited amount of room.
“No-kill doesn’t mean there are no killings of animals. It means space is available,” Hyde said. “Taking a healthy adoptable pet to the pound is committing murder.”