I’ve always known that life isn’t fair. I could give hundreds of examples, but I’ll stick to the one that bothers me the most: the rules for using household furniture. Just because I’m a dog, I’m not allowed to use any of it. I’m supposed to stay on the floor at all times, and if I want to take a nap, I have to choose between my dog bed and my dog crate. Both are quite comfortable, but the point is that our house is loaded with comfortable furniture and I’m forbidden to use any of it.
Yet the human members of my family can use whatever they want. Mom loves to read in her favorite chair, and she sleeps in a bed upstairs that has plenty of room for me to join her and Dad if they’d let me. (Which they do not.) Dad falls asleep on the family room couch all the time, especially when he’s watching TV at night. And both of them sit down to eat at a table, yet I have to stand in the kitchen, eating out of my supper dish on the floor. There’s nothing fair about this at all!
Luckily, I’m a smart dog, and I know I actually can get up on the furniture as long as I only do it when my parents aren’t home. I also know I’ve got it pretty good, despite the disparity in household privileges. I have a home, after all, with parents and extended family who love me, a house, a yard, steady meals and regular walks. And what’s most unfair of all is that so many animals don’t have what I do.
But before I was adopted, I lived in two different animal shelters, and that wasn’t an easy time. It was better than being a stray or living with people who neglected or abused me, but it still wasn’t easy. Dogs who live in shelters spend most of their time alone in a cage, with little human interaction. It’s very stressful, because it’s noisy during the day (stressed dogs tend to bark a lot) and we can also sense the fear of the dogs who have just arrived and aren’t yet sure they’re in a safe place. Often people walk by our cages without even looking at us, no matter how much we try to get their attention. Or they look at us and then simply move on, which is sort of soul-crushing.
To make matters worse, all across the country, animal shelters are both full of animals and short on the staff and volunteers needed to take care of them. And that’s really sad, because trust me, those are the people who make living at a shelter bearable. The staff who feed us, clean our cages and give us medical care; the volunteers who give us attention and walks, and the people who donate toys for us to play with are so important to the well being of shelter animals. Of course, the most important people are the ones who actually adopt us.
So I’m making a simple plea for help for all the animals still living in a shelter. If everyone just did something, whether adopting a homeless animal, volunteering at a shelter, donating money, or simply dropping off their old linens and newspapers, it would make a HUGE difference! Life may not be fair, but by working together, we can make it better….