Posts Tagged ‘puppies’
I took a walk through the shelter a few months ago with our COO, Mary Jarvis. We passed a few empty dens on the left, a few empty puppy enclosures in the puppy room. And some open cat condos in the cat room. We weren’t full. Not because we didn’t want to be. But because new adopters had just picked up their new family members, and we were trying to manage floor space for an incoming transport of animals from a partner shelter in Ohio, or West Virginia, which are overflowing with dogs and cats.
I remember Mary looking me in the eye and saying “I’ll go to New York Ave and see what they need.” She knew what I was going to say. And hers is a common response now. To go to our neighboring shelters at DC Animal Control, or Prince George’s County, or Baltimore, and bring back as many animals as we can hold. Sometimes more than we can hold.
Just last night, we got a call from one of these shelters asking for relief because they had too many dogs. The miracle is that this bleakest of pronouncements doesn’t necessarily have to mean euthanasia anymore. It can mean calling us to make room for incoming animals. And that’s what we did. Of course I’m proud of the fact that our doors are open when other shelters need us. For, as we like to say, animals who have nowhere else to go. But I’m equally proud of what our partner shelters are doing to decrease euthanasia and work together to lower the rate of needless death of otherwise healthy dogs and cats.
There was a time when this didn’t happen. When shelters didn’t talk to each other and ask for help for the most helpless among us. When we’d have to go drive 100’s of miles to bring in animals from Georgia, or Mississippi because we didn’t work with each other. I’m happy to say this is no longer the case.
In Washington DC, we are working closely with our municipal partner to eliminate the euthanasia of any dog in the District. And to lower the euthanasia rates for cats in our capital. This is no easy feat. But instead of poorly communicating, of not working together to do the best for our community’s animals (and people), we’re collaborating to lower euthanasia and work together to solve the problem. It’s a wonderful thing.
Just this past week, we’ve brought in 37 animals from our local partner shelters. And, even completely full, Maureen, our shelter director drove her own car on Saturday to pick up 12 puppies from the overflowing Baltimore city shelter. The sleeping mound of puppies I saw here on Sunday afternoon is an image I wish I could share with anyone who has ever questioned why partnerships are so important.
Walking through the shelter this afternoon—where every den is full, every cat condo is filled and we have overflow in runs and cages in our Medical Center—I’m proud of our staff, and of our partners, for recognizing that none of us can solve the problem of homeless animals alone. That mound of puppies is all the proof I need.