Another day up at Animal Care and Control Team Philadelphia. I met, walked and photographed 6 dogs today, all with different temperaments and all responding differently to being in the shelter. I encourage everyone to adopt AND/OR to volunteer at the shelter. It is a powerful experience. And each time I am amazed and inspired that these creatures STILL have the capacity to meet me in the moment.
On my way in this morning, a group asked me if this was where they could bring their cat. The man's brother had died and left behind a cat to whom the rest of the family was allergic. Animal Care and Control Team accepts all animals, they are required to by law. This is why they take in 32,000 animals/year. I indicated that it would be best if the family could identify someone on their own to take the cat, but they said that everyone was allergic.
The staff at ACCT have a difficult and what would seem unyielding task in front of them. You clean a kennel of waste and sometimes, the dog eliminates seconds afterwards. Each animal is evaluated to determine whether they are safe to adopt out. New paperwork is generated for each animal and medical attention is always required.
Here are some hard facts:
A dog only gets out of its kennel if someone takes him/her outside. For some of the animals, this doesn't happen for days.
Not all of these dogs and cats will make it out of the shelter.
Some of the dogs are house trained and will hold their excrement in for a very long time if they don't get outside, even if it makes them sick.
Some of these dogs shut down because they are too stressed in the environment. At this point, you can't expect them to be happy to see you, even if you are there to take them outside.
I believe it is important to talk about these facts and to educate the public on animal welfare. Please spay and neuter, foster, adopt. Perhaps most importantly, pay attention, be open and practice kindness. If we all made a commitment to do so, especially to ourselves, I believe it would radiate outward and maybe the world would be a better place.