Pet Loss Grief Support Animals in our Hearts  Animal Communication Teresa Wagner
  • When we all adopt through rescue vs. buying, spay & neuter, and keep our animals for their lifetimes, shelters will be near empty and euthanasia will become a tragedy of the past.

Stopping the Tragedy of Shelter Euthanasia

Questions to Ponder

Read the following story, and for just a few minutes try to pretend you are the stray dog and this is your story. Then, read the questions which follow the story and answer from your heart.

My Life as a Dog

I used to have people. I lived in their back yard. They bought me from a person who "bred" lots of dogs who looked just like me. They were really nice to me when they first saw me and brought me home. But soon they never stayed around to do much with me. They did bring food, though the water was hardly ever changed. It got kind of boring--no other dogs, no fun with people, and we didn't go on any walks. They just didn't seem interested in a close relationship. So I started digging up the yard for something to do, and when I smelled or heard other dogs nearby I barked a lot. My people got really mad about the holes (I still don't understand why--they never even spent time out there) and attached me to a chain which was stuck on the side of a building. I hated that. What did they expect me to do with my days and nights when I couldn't even move more than ten feet! Finally one day, I had enough. I broke free and found my way out.

First it was really cool. Freedom! I mated with the female I knew was out there and then I ran and ran. I found a couple of other dogs to play with. They told me about their people and how they actually lived inside houses most of the time. But at nighttime, they weren't around outside. After awhile I got hungry, and tired. But I kept going. One day I got to a BIG street with a lot of big cars going really fast. Some human in a uniform stopped his truck and called to me. I went right to him, jumped up and licked him! He was so nice and so interested in me! He liked me right away. He took me to a place with LOTS of dogs. It was very different there from the back yard. Man, I never saw so many dogs. Everybody barked and nobody got yelled at for it. I had my own place, inside and out, and food came regularly. The space was a little small, but there was no chain.I liked that. Everybody who walked by gave me a good feeling, they told me I was handsome, a good boy and all kinds of good stuff. And once a day some lady came and put me on a leash and took me for a walk. She was very, very kind and gave me treats. I liked this place.

After just a couple of days a lady and her little boy came by and took me for a walk and played with me in the big grassy yard outside. When they saw me they said "Oh, he's a Golden!" I didn't know what that meant but they seemed impressed. They said they wanted a "pure" dog, whatever that means. After an hour or so these people took me home! And it was wonderful! They kissed me and hugged me and I hugged them right back--I stood on my back paws, you know, so I could reach them for a big hug. I loved it! Sometimes I would knock the little boy over and we would roll around together. He loved this but his Mom didn't. I loved being in the house! There were so many things to smell and see! The Mom got mad though cause I knocked some things over. But at first she forgave me because I slept with the little boy and he was very, very happy with this. He loved me, I know he loved me. I thought I had found a real family to love and to love me. I felt like a real dog now. But then after a few weeks the Mom got real mad cause I urinated in the house sometimes. I still didn't quite understand when I was supposed to go outside or inside. Well, next thing you know she took me back to the shelter and told the people there that I wasn't "trained," whatever that means.

I didn't understand this at all. And my new friend the little boy cried and cried. Well, I was back at this place with all the dogs which I liked before, but now that I knew how nice it was to live in a house it didn't seem like much fun. I heard some of the people there say that nobody wanted to take me home because I wasn't "trained". I didn't know what this meant. I didn't know what was wrong with me. Plus I started talking with the other dogs and most of them were confused and upset because they had had people too and didn't understand why they brought them here. It was getting very depressing. It was better than the back yard with the chain because the people here really seemed to love me, but it wasn't like sleeping with the little boy. I really, really missed him. One day one of the nice people who fed me each day put a leash on me and took me down the hall to a room I hadn't seen before. The people gave me treats and kisses. I loved that. Then they gave me a shot and I got really tired. Soon I wasn't tired anymore... I was in a different place. I was very free and totally at peace. There were angels there who smiled and loved me more than any love I had ever felt--except for the little boy of course. I could still see the people who gave me the treats and the shot. They were very sad. The lady was crying and I felt the man send me a prayer from his heart. I sent them a prayer and love right back. I hope somebody loves them like the little boy loved me and that they get to live in a house.

Questions to Ponder

1. Why do you think this dog died?

2. If this dog knew and understood everything you do about dogs, where do you think the dog might place blame for his death? WHY?

3. If you were a dog like this in a shelter and were told that right now there just weren't any people to take you home, which of the following options would you choose and WHY?

  • Live in a kennel the rest of your life (living in limited space, with limited exercise and affection)
  • Take my chances living on the streets without food, shelter from extreme weather, help when I'm sick or injured, and without love
  • Pray that some person is willing to take the time to "train" me so I can be deemed worthy enough to keep
  • Die a peaceful death through euthanasia

4. What actions do you think shelters should take to prevent the death of animals like the one in the story?

5. What actions do you think dog owners should take to prevent the death of animals like the one in the story?

6. What might you be willing to do to stop dogs like this from dying?

More Questions to Ponder — How Would You Feel. . .

Would you want to be abandoned by your new spouse because his child develops an allergy to you?

Would you drop off your human child at an orphanage because you moved into a new home that does not allow children? Or would you only seek homes that allow children?

How would you feel if your pet, without talking with you about it, brought home another pet to live with you, and started to sleep in your bed with the new pet, and told you, "Well I still love you, but I have this new dog now and you aren't allowed in the bed anymore because the new dog doesn't like people. You have to sleep in another room now-- the laundry room. I mean, you can't expect me to choose you over another animal! I love you but you're just a human. You'll get used to the laundry room and I'll see you at breakfast."

How would you feel if your horse told you: "I am leaving you to go live with a different person because you are getting old, and can no longer compete the way you used to. I want to advance my performance abilities and win more shows, and you just can't keep up. We had some wonderful times, and I did love you, but I need to move on. Please don't take it personally, but you can't expect me to live out my life with you if you can't keep up with my abilities. After all, isn't the purpose of the horse/human relationship for the horses' needs to be met? You just don't meet mine anymore. My new person has much more skill and I know we will go places. These relationships take work, and I really am sorry but you can't expect me to stay with you for my whole life just for love. Money and winning are involved which are far more important to me than love."