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72 Hours
- What Really Happens at the Animal Shelter...
A true story, by: Lisa V.

The next time I hear someone say they won't spay or neuter their dog, because they want them to have puppies, I would like for them to take a trip down to their local shelter and see all of the animals whose time is running out.  Just 72 hours,  to be exact.   (We need all of us to spread the word about what really happens at the pound in 72 hours).  I am sure there is rampant public ignorance - I for one was a victim of it, having reported a stray dog to be picked up... Read on.

I tried to save 3 dogs from the pound last year.  It is a long sad story - I will try to keep it as brief as poss.

The first was a stray that I had reported to the pound to have picked up  Surely there was someone looking for him (so I thought.)  He was well mannered and mellow, an owner must surely be looking.  Afterwards, upon hearing that the dogs only have 72 hours to be adopted, I  ran to the pound to get him out, arriving 5 minutes to closing time the day before euthanasia.  Then I was told I could not have him because quote "he did not pass a temperment test". and "That dog will be euthanized in the morning. We start getting them ready at 4:30 a.m."   He was a sweet dog - ugly but mellow and I know there wasn't anything wrong with his temperment.  I started to cry, terrified that I had in essence sentenced this dog to death, begging the officer at the pound to put a stay.  My efforts were in vain - he never helped.  The following day when I called, I was informed "Maam, that animal has been destroyed".

The second dog I tried to save was while I was at the pound trying to save the first one.  A pure breed German Sheperd with a big letter "E" on his kennel.  I could not bear the thought of this gorgeous animal being destroyed.  At the time I was a receptionist, and upon spreading the word of the beautiful sheperd, several people called me willing to take the dog.  (I could not take because of my small home.)    Some of them had even been actively SEARCHING for a German Sheperd.  Upon arriving back at the pound to pick up the dog for its new owners,  the kennel was empty.  The shelter worker put a hold on the wrong kennel!  I indicated the first cage on the LEFT - GERMAN SHEPERD  The dog in the first cage on the RIGHT was held.  Needless to say, this was the second time I was heartbroken in less than a week.  (The worker obviously didn't know what a German Sheperd looks like, nor do they know left from right - VERY dissappointing.)  Upon leaving once again with tears in my eyes, across the hall I see the bright eyes of 2 purebreed Basenji pups not more than a few weeks old.  Incidentally, the wrong dog I found out had been turned in by it's previous owner, because he just didn't want him anymore and quote: "Wanted him to be adopted", as was written in the note.  Little does that previous owner know a life that he once cared for ended as well.  (He was going on his 72nd hour and my request to hold the Sheperd extended his life by one day -"Disposable lives".)

The third dog is my black Lab, Raja.  I saw her at my visit to the pound to save the first dog, and she stood out at me for some reason.   She was only a few weeks old, almost skin and bones, but cute and sweet, as was  just about every dog there.  They all didn't deserve to be in that god forsaken place -  (I would have taken ALL  if only I could).  The plan with Raja was just to get her out of jail and be a foster home until we could place her with a family with a large yard.  On her third day out of the pound, she came down with Parvo and cost me over $900 in vet bills to get her all better.   (This all could have been prevented if the previous owner would have spent $7.00 at the drugstore to get a 5 in 1 parvo distemper shot).  Well,  I had seen quite enough death in the passed week, and not about to see another dog go.  Raja recovered 100%.  Afterwards,  she found another home, but did not bond with the new parents.  They brought her back and she has turned out to be the best dog you could ever ask for.  Even though she is large for our house, she is very well behaved, and has become part of the family. I see her sparkling eyes everyday, and I know in my heart she is grateful every minute.  (The word "Raja" means "Hope" in Islam.)

The killings at the Rabies/Animal Control Shelter happen 365 days a year, 7 days a week including Sundays and Holidays.  Please, if you see a stray dog, take it into your yard and care for it.  Call friends and try to place it in a home.  NEVER take it to the pound.   If all else fails, look for a "no kill" shelter.   And
if you see a stray dog weaving through the traffic, waiting to get hit by a car, try to take a little time out of your busy life to pick up an innocent.  Take it to your yard where it will be safe for a while... (Never the pound though).

Please- your dogs don't need to have puppies to lead fulfilling lives.  Before you even think about this, take a visit to the pound.  Look and see all the sparkling eyes that have only 72 hours left.  Look at all the puppies that haven't even been given a shot, or a chance in life.  Look at all the 2 year olds with so much life left in them, but were discarded just because they weren't cute puppies anymore... Or just because the owner's decided they'd changed their mind on a life long commitment. Please... just think about how it really is.  Spread the word...share this link with everyone you can think of.  My hope is that this story will save many lives!

Myself?  I can never return to the pound ever again.  It is just too sad for me.

-Lisa V.,                                meet Raja the Pound Pup 

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