Between working two jobs, running errands, and spending time with my long-term boyfriend – I discovered a new passion. I have spent the past several months volunteering at a local animal shelter in Chicago.
Growing up, I’ve always had a love for animals, and my family was big on rescuing. When I moved in with my boyfriend, our schedules didn’t allow us for a pet. For a long time I felt a void of not having a four-legged companion. After some time, I did some research and came across an animal shelter that is located five minutes away from my place. After meeting the requirements to start volunteering, I began spending several hours a day at the Anti-Cruelty Society. Each day I would go in, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming amount of sadness, and helplessness. Although I was there to help by feeding them, cleaning their cages, playing with them, and giving them love; I felt helpless because I know that at the end of the day, most of these animals will spend the rest of their life in the kennel. I know that no matter how much I love them, I can’t promise them a forever home at the end of the day. No matter how many kisses and hugs I give them, I can’t promise them a family to call their own. Even though I feel sadness when I go in to volunteer, I know I’m doing good – because even if I can go in for an hour or two during my days off, these animals are able to feel the love and affection of a human for a few minutes, and a few minutes is all that an animal needs sometimes.
Animals from shelters are some of the most loving, and loyal companions you could ask for. It breaks my heart knowing there are so many amazing animals in the shelter, yet people would rather spend thousands of dollars on backyard breeders and pet stores for puppies that are most likely coming from puppy mills, and treated in HORRIBLE condition. These breeders are notorious for breeding a dog until the dog can no longer breed and then throwing them away. They are notorious for breeding dogs that are in high demand (ex: Frenchies, pits, English bull dogs) and selling their puppies for a large amount of profit…and because people buy from them, they continue to breed & gain profit.
Most of our older dogs come from breeders who no longer have use for them, and these are the dogs who have the hardest time finding a home. Everyone wants the playful puppy because they are fun, and older dogs are often overlooked. I found that the older dogs are often times dogs who show leaps and bounds of unconditional love, despite what they have been through. I hear about some of their stories, and why they are at the shelter and it tears me apart, I really don’t believe most of these stories because the love I receive from these dogs don’t reflect a torturous life of abuse, negligence, and abandonment.
I wanted to write a blog on this topic because I believe every single one of these animals deserve someone who loves them back unconditionally.
MY RESCUE STORY:
As mine and my boyfriend’s schedules slowed down dramatically, we decided to adopt a very special dog of our own. I knew I had to take her home from the first time I saw her at the shelter. I would visit her in her kennel, sit down on the cold floor, and she would plop down on my lap and fall asleep. I felt an instant connection to her, and every day I would visit the shelter, I had a habit of visiting her kennel and letting her lay in my lap and sleep for a while.
As soon as I was able, I brought my boyfriend to the shelter to meet her, and the rest was history. We adopted her on Halloween and named her Holiday. She is a blessing to us both and bring so much happiness every day. Now her only worry in the world is whose bum she’s going to sniff at the dog park next! I’m so happy I was able to adopt her give her the love she deserves.
I urge everyone to either volunteer at a local shelter, or if considering to bring home a four-legged companion…to please consider adoption.
Pictures of Holiday (@Holiday.Rescued)
I want to end the blog with some statistics to put things into perspective:
- “8 million dogs and cats enter the shelters in the US each year, more than 1/2 won’t make it out alive.
- “About 25% of dogs taken to animal shelters are purebred. All breeders, whether they are so-called “responsible” breeders, puppy-mills, or your neighbors next door, contribute to what has become an overwhelming over-population problem.”
- “An estimated 6-8 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year, due to lack of house for these animals. Millions more are abandoned, only to suffer from illness or injury before dying.” (Source: Doris Day Animal League)
Please Adopt, Don’t Shop