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Thursday, April 7,2016

Be Kind

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  

Lately it seems there is a surplus of dogs being surrendered. As dog lovers, guardians and rescuers, we are all too familiar with the common reasons:


• Moving, can’t take.

• Allergic (owner or child).

• Having a (human) baby.

• Can no longer afford proper care

• Domestically violent living situation.

• Overly possessive of certain person.

• Not enough time to properly take care of.

• Significant behavioral or health

change(s) in the pet.

Decades ago, when I got started in rescue, I would take pictures, get them developed, make posters and mail them out to prospective adopters. This rehoming process was painfully slow.

Technology and social media have been incredible resources for networking and rehoming pets, in hours or days, instead of weeks or months. The internet enables us to help more pets by fostering, volunteering, donating, sharing the bio and picture, thinking of who may be a good match. The flip side is that many people waste time, energy and resources passing judgment and making comments about the person surrendering. Why cast negative energy on an already painful situation? It just makes them part of the problem - not the solution.

Having been involved in hundreds of surrenders, I avoid making the person feel guilty or badly. Can you imagine what making that decision to give up your family member feels like? The owner has usually beaten themselves up enough over the gut-wrenching decision. They were kind and caring to contact a responsible rescue, humane society or animal advocate. They didn’t just post them on a random “list”, turn them loose on the street or worse - take to an deserted area to fend for themself against traffic, wildlife and the elements, which is a crime, here in Florida:

828.12 Cruelty to animals. (1) A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carried in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

So, if you’re lucky enough to share your life with a pet, hug them a little tighter today. In the wise words of the Greek philosopher Plato, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” When you see a post, resist the urge to pass judgment or say what a “POS” the person is for giving up their pet. Chances are, there is more to the situation than you can imagine. Instead, think of what you can do (send your best wishes, foster, share, donate to the care, network) to assist the pet - then YOU become part of the positive solution, and the next chapter of the dog’s new lease on life. Thank you, in advance.


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