28 Jul Forever, Urgently Yours
Part 8 in an ongoing series about saving Chicago’s healthy and treatable animals.
Quick! What do these have in common?!
- The geriatric nasty calico in the middle condo unit howling at the top of her lungs at 2:00 in the morning because there’s a can of food somewhere — there’s just got to be.
- Animals that have been placed on a euthanasia list at a municipal shelter because of space constraints.
Yep. You’ve guessed it. They both evoke a powerful sense of urgency to do something. But Number 2 also evokes an overpowering call to action– as visceral as Sarah McLaughlin background music in an ASPCA commercial.
Simple math (because I can’t do the complex kind) says, however, that if the animals don’t move out at the same pace they come in, then something’s got to give when capacity is reached — and after all communications efforts do not result in enough returns to owner, adoptions or transfers to rescue. Nothing is more reviled than a euthanasia list created to ease capacity; but paradoxically, when communicated, it becomes the reason many an animal leave a municipal shelter alive.
How do we change hearts and minds to understand that the critical sense of urgency — and deafening, if silent, call to action — must occur the minute the animal steps paw through the municipal shelter door if the goal is to save healthy and treatable animals?
This much we know is true: The bulk of the most at-risk animals are going to be found in the place that will not turn them away: to wit, the municipal shelter. If you are a medium- to large-size, blocky-headed, beach-bodied dog with a great smile — you will be among the most at risk. Experience also tells us that any time spent in a loud, stressful environment is probably going to wreak havoc on the health of the animal incoming, even if they are vaccinated against all manner of nasty things. The kennel environment will cause some to act out in ways they might not if they were in a home-like environment. All of these things put them at greater risk of euthanasia.
I don’t have the answer to this one. But I’m hoping as a community we can find it.