Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why I post dog pictures on Facebook

My Aussie, a rescue dog who died of old age a year ago
I had him for nine years--wonderful dog
Facebook provides me with a lot of things--information, misinformation, and some darn funny jokes. It's the first place I hear about a lot of national happenings, and the last place I trust for accurate information or statistics. But it has a very serious aspect for me.
I post pictures of lost dogs, found dogs, shelter dogs looking for a forever home, and, worst of all, dogs on the EU list. So many dogs in shelters look sad and scared, it breaks my heart. And the EU list--I saw one tonight that said, "I only have two hours to live." Too late, I fear, for anyone to help that poor guy. Sometimes there are pictures of momma dogs with their offspring and the word that an overcrowded shelter will euthanize momma and her pups. Each picture tears at my  heart--the lost dogs whose families are probably desperate, the found dogs who are bewildered, the scared and sad shelter dogs. Sometimes the background information says "owner surrender." Now I know there are cases where people simply cannot care for their animals--illness, a death in the family--but there are also way too many cases where people simply tire of the dog or the responsibilities of dog ownership. I suspect those are often the people who haven't taken the time to train their dogs to be compatible members of their household.
Two stories stand out in my mind: some people turned in a ten-month Labrador because it "got too big"--did they expect it to be a cuddly puppy all its life? What did they know about Labs before they took that darling puppy? In another instance, people dumped a dog from a car and sped off, with the dog frantically chasing them. I repeat: heart-breaking. Owning a dog is a commitment for that dog's life span. If you don't want it to become an integral part of your family, don't get it in the first place.
I have had rescue dogs of one sort or another much of my life, but I can't take in another dog now. Sophie and I have our routine, it works well for us, and I probably can't afford the care of another dog. Besides, I admit to being a softy--I'm afraid she'd have her feelings hurt. She's a bit jealous when Jordan brings their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (rescue dogs). Sophie thinks Jordan is one of "her" people. I admit also to a bit of guilt about owning a kennel-bred dog when I probably should have rescued from a shelter, but I was determined to have a doodle dog...and so I have my Bordoodle, and I adore her.
I post pictures in the hopes that someone will say, "That's the dog for me," and make that important phone call to start the process. I do know of three or four instances where my posts have helped find a dog its "forever home," and I like to think there are more that I don't know about. It seems to me the least I can do--besides sending an occasional small contribution to the Humane Society of North Texas. I repost those pictures with a great sense of hope, and I keep up with what has become a dog-rescue network on Facebook. Lots of people know more about transport and such things than I do, but I muddle along, and I know where to go if I have a question.
People have threatened to unfriend me or at least hide me--and indeed may have done so. The pictures they say are too difficult to look at
. I agree but I urge them to look and re-post. It's a small pebble thrown into a big pond, but there's always the chance that your sharing will save a dog's life.
Sure, it's not a solution to the problem. We need a compassionate, educated pet-owning public before we stop being inundated with stray and homeless and starving dogs and cats. But everyone has to start somewhere. I urge you to do your part if, like me, you are passionate about animals.
And sometimes the dog pictures are the cutest, most heart-warming and funniest things on Facebook.

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