Once an animal's ref. number has been input to the system, it's filed under one of four categories: hold (for profiles under construction), adoptable, adoption pending, and adopted. Each time I see a name or face I recognise moved from 'adoptable' to 'adopted' my heart soars. But the sad fact is, I've also seen animals returned mere days after being rescued; placed back into the stainless steel cages and fated to begin the process anew (if they're lucky.) What are people thinking ?
My own dear Elsa was returned to this same shelter less than one week after her initial adoption. She was hardly four months old at the time... and was branded as having a 'behavioural problem' by the idiots who discarded her. Her crime ? Being too playful. Isn't that what kittens do ? Regardless, she was labeled 'hard to adopt' and given to us at no cost because of this. Had Eric and I not taken her, however, I'm sure she'd have found a home quickly; she's cute and young. But what of the older animals, the less 'attractive' ones who are overlooked time and time again ? They languish in cages while other critters come and go... and, eventually, are given a date with the needle.
Obviously, homes cannot be found for every cat, dog, bird, and rodent that comes through the SPCA's doors, and euthanasia is a sad but inevitable reality. However, it doesn't need to happen in these numbers ! If only people would realise that pets are a lifelong commitment, and that responsible pet ownership includes spaying or neutering !
Ironically, when an animal is put down its ref. number is moved into petfinder's 'adopted' category. Today I logged in to write a profile for a stray cat whose picture I'd taken only a few days ago. He was sweet-tempered, handsome, and young. To my untrained eye, he seemed in good health, too, but apparently that wasn't the case. A note was made on his incompleted profile this morning, saying he'd been very ill and had to be euthanised on Valentine's day. This little guy died without so much as a name, and cases like his break my heart. So... if you care to look, behind the cut are the photos that were to appear on his ad. Sometimes putting a face to abstract situations and cold statistics can urge people into taking action: I encourage you to look into what you can do to help abandoned animals in your area.
And give your pets a big hug.
Rest in peace, Howie.