This is my Sasha. This photo was taken at the pound in July of 2009. She came from a very bad situation in a rough part of our town. She was picked up by Lubbock Animal Control twice. Her owner paid for her to get out the first time. The second time she showed up, she was thirty pounds underweight and her hind legs would barely hold her up. Her owner left her there that time, and I am very thankful for that. She was taken in by A Place for Us Greyhounds, a local group that specializes in rescuing and finding homes for dogs like Sasha. The driving force behind this group is a kind-hearted tempest named Linda Dunn, whose actions place her at the top of my hometown hero list. (Side note: Sasha’s owner was later arrested for several counts of animal cruelty and neglect, and his animals were taken away from him. The group found homes for those dogs too.)
Sasha, by the way, is a terrible dog – the worst greyhound who has passed through the door of our home, and there have been many. She is smart, sneaky, fast, and very powerful. She has done her best to train us not to leave food, trash, or expensive shoes anywhere that she can reach.
She also loves people more than any greyhound we’ve ever met, and she is not shy about her feelings. She brings a great deal of light and laughter to our home, and I am thankful to be loved by that incorrigible beast.
Recently, Brian Ridge, a friend who does a lot of volunteer work to help care for and place homeless animals, pointed out to me that Lubbock’s new(ish) animal shelter had euthanized more than 5,900 animals since its doors opened a little more than a year ago. An article on Treehugger last week focused on the stray population of Houston – 1,200,000 animals roam those streets of that one city. The images from that story are horrific. You do not have to look far to see what an epidemic this is.
So, if you are considering a pet, please look to a group that places existing animals. If you want a certain breed, a rescue group is just a Google search away. (My wife has found rescue groups for everything from llamas to betta fish.) If your heart is set on a puppy, those can be adopted too.
If you have pets, please spay or neuter them so that the epidemic does not get worse.
On the other hand, if you do not have the time or the means to care for an animal, please don’t bring one home. After you bring a pet home is not the time to figure out that your 80lb puppy is not a good fit for your tiny apartment or that your life is just too busy to take care of another life.