author: Sue Putnam
Having been involved in animal rescue for over two decades, there’s a tiny part of me that understands why some people are reluctant, or even unable, to invest emotionally or otherwise as an animal shelter volunteer. To many, it’s overwhelming. My first volunteer gig certainly was, and it went like this within two weeks of signing on:
“He’ll be euthanized in two days,” the shelter manager told me about the dog with whom I’d quickly bonded. “Adopt him or find someone who will, but his time is up.”
I looked down into two brown eyes that peered up at me from beneath the furrowed brow of a tan pooch. As a new volunteer, I knew on an intellectual level this facility was open admissions with a high euthanasia rate. Yet suddenly that knowledge made my knees shake. I blamed those shaky knees on those two unwavering brown eyes, belonging to a dog I’d already given a name: Max.
I did not sign up for this vol gig in order to find a dog to adopt. I already had two at home. Yet there I stood….scratching the ears of a dog who would soon become my third. Why?
Because it was inconceivable to me that this healthy, friendly dog should be killed within days of entering a shelter that needed an open kennel in which to place a newly-arrived adoptable animal. Odds were high that animal’s fate would likely wind up as sad and final as Max was facing.
And so I adopted Max.
But Max never let me forget he was a shelter survivor. His daily companionship reminded me that he wound up in such a facility, confined within a steel kennel with a limited amount of life remaining, through no fault of his own. Max was powerless; only a human could un-do what another human did, which was abandon him.
Subsequently, in the 20+ years since then, many Maxes have graced my home and enriched my life as pets. Sadly, there have also been hundreds of homeless ones I knew by name or number whose lives were not spared by the facility that housed them.
Yet along the way, each of them reminded me of this: adoption is just one solution that can contribute to the overall reduction in, and hopefully the eventual halting of, the daily killing of healthy, companion pets in our shelters.
And that’s what Memphis Pets Alive! is really all about. MPA! champions the homeless, and empowers those who wish to be part of life-saving solutions.
If you are checking out MPA! for the first time, go to our Get Involved and About buttons on our website to view an extensive list of ways to support our work. If you’re already a friend of MPA!, please share with others our involvement opportunities.
When MPA! asked me to write occasional blogs for them, I was hesitant to do so. Not because they’re not a legitimate organization with a meaningful purpose. They are legit and they are meaningful.
Hesitation resulted from years of experience within the animal rescue/advocate world, which taught me that involvement at any level is not for the fainthearted. It requires courage, compassion and, most of all, hope.
Hope lives here at MPA!.
We welcome you, and so will the animals whose hope rests in caring people like you.