Do your part, adopt before you shop

Published 9:26 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2012

There are always stories I write that when I am done and press save, I can breathe a sigh of relief because I have told the entire story start to finish. But, with many of the stories I care about, I wish I had a whole page to tell the story instead of just 400 to 500 words. When I left the Central Alabama Animal Shelter yard sale on Saturday, I wrote about what the yard sale proceeds go towards and how desperately the shelter needs help.

I wish I could have put in every detail about the things I saw in the shelter, exactly how desperately the shelter needs our help and how exciting it was to witness someone take home a dog that would have died in the shelter if it stayed a day longer.

As I was walking in, a man was coming out with a newly adopted pit mix and I could see every rib and its whole spine. The dog looked like it was abused and neglected and no one knew how old it was.

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Even though animals and dogs do not necessarily have expressions, if you are a dog owner you understand when I say this dog was happy to jump in the front seat of its new owner’s truck. Its like it knew it was going home.

The most interesting thing I learned from volunteers and board members Saturday is that the CAAS Facebook page attracts attention from all over the nation.

Many of the dogs adopted from the shelter actually end up in homes in Maryland, New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, etc. These states have stricter laws on owning a pet and if someone is going to buy a pet they must pay pet ownership fees. Spraying and neutering of animals is actually mandatory in some northern states, thus why they have very few animals in shelters. Compare that to the CAAS and other shelters around the state that are always at full capacity.

To combat this I learned that the animal shelter has a catch and release deal they do with all of the stray cats lurking around downtown. They catch them, spay or neuter them and give them rabies shots and then release them back where they were picked up. If you see a cat with a little notch in its ear, it has already been spayed or neutered by the shelter.

These are all great services the shelter does, but just like anything else in the world, these catch and release services cost money. All of the animals need to be fed, washed and vaccinated. So insert the sound of a cash register chiming here. The animal shelter is an expensive operation to run, with little money coming in.

To do our part we must donate food and goods to the shelter and save a dog before you buy one for nearly $1,000 from a breeder.

When you save one dog, you actually save two. One dog gets to go home with you, while another moves away from getting euthanized in the shelter.