"Don't Overlook Me Because I'm Old"
The above phrase was on a poster containing pictures of homeless dogs. While the words themselves are self-explanatory, the sentiment they convey is expressed all too infrequently. The result? Older homeless dogs have only a very, very slim chance of being adopted.
There are two things to consider with respect to homeless older dogs.
First, is that they’re homeless and shouldn’t be. In other words: your dog is your responsibility for life and there’s no reason you shouldn't look after her for her entire life (unless you're so ill you can't look after yourself, let alone your dog, in which case rehoming is necessary). While no dog should be homeless no matter their age, you could say that it goes double for older dogs because of so many people’s reluctance to adopt them.
And that brings us to the second point, which is that a lot of people are unwilling to adopt older animals simply because they’re older. A dog is no less valuable because she's older. And, for goodness sake, you wouldn’t like to be overlooked because you’re older, so you shouldn’t have a dismissive attitude towards dogs who are older.
Alright, so there are three lessons here. One, never abandon your dog. Two, if you want a furry addition to your household adopt a homeless dog. And three, consider adopting an older dog - they're no less loving or less lovable than their younger counterparts.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.