There are days I don’t want to open my email and Facebook page. It is here that I get feeds of animals in need, stories of animals who have suffered unimaginable abuse, and reports of shelters overflowing which puts those that have been there longest (and this can be just a few days) on the next to be euthanized list.
One after another, these tales of starvation, physical abuse and animals chained in yards with no food or water on a hot day come through. Then, somewhere in the midst of it all, there’s a little light that shines through. The dog who found rescue because he was brought to the attention of others through Facebook or email. The stray pregnant cat that found sanctuary at a no-kill shelter. The lost dog returned to its owner. The horse, once starved and neglected, adopted into a loving home.
You may have heard the story of the starfish: the young man picking up the stranded starfish on the beach and throwing them back into the water. When asked why he was doing it, with hundreds on the beach, how would what he was doing make a difference, his response was “I made a difference for that one.”
That as a country, we have yet to truly deal with overpopulation of companion animals, it lies with each one of us to what we can to make a difference. Thousands of animals will be euthanized in Wichita this year. Of these, a few because a human has taught them to be aggressive so that they are a danger to others. But the vast majority will die only because there was not a home for them to go to–cast off by a family that raised them; dumped at Animal Control when they became pregnant and the owner didn’t want to deal with the puppies or kittens; or turned out onto the streets to fend for themselves when they became “too much trouble.”
Talking with those at the forefront of rescue in Wichita, they often feel the despair of not being able to save all of the animals who face a certain death without someone to claim them. Without enough foster and adoptive homes, they may only be able to save one or two in a week. “I hate going to Animal Control” is a common sentiment. They know the codes and which ones will be euthanized in a matter of hours. It’s why a group of neighbors in Wichita is workinig to find a home for a dog they have been caring for. They know if he gets picked up his fate is sealed, so they care for him to give him the chance at finding a real home. They are making a diffrerence for this one dog.
Each person who crossposts an animal in need, whether because its family needs to find him a new home, or shelter animals on the urgent list, is helping to make a difference for that one dog or cat. Each person who takes in an animal for a friend, or adopts one from a shelter or rescue, makes a difference for that one. Each person who steps up to foster makes a difference for that animal.
As I look across our dog and cat-strewn living room, I know we made a difference for each one of them. Each one of us has the capacity to help in whatever way we can, even advocating adoption has the potential to make a difference for one more dog. One more cat. One more bunny. One more horse. One more is one less that will face the kill room. One more adopted means one more can be saved.