Lifewriter writes on issues of child abuse, mental health and
animal issues. She is published at www.Writing.Com, a
site for Writers.
How many of us sit glued to our television sets when "Animal
Cops" is on Animal Planet? I'm not ashamed to raise my hand. I
watch every episode that I can.
With each new episode, I learn something. I also become more
frustrated at the lack of available services for our pets.
Picture if you will a scenario: A renter is required to pay a
certain amount per each pet; 2 pet maximum. Yet, this renter
cannot help but take in animals in need, even going so far as to
hide them from her landlord. After all, every dollar helps when
one is trying to help animals, plus, being over the permitted
amount of pets, she faces legal eviction.
Still, this renter continues to accept animals in need. One
night, she receives a young puppy so desperately ill he cannot
nurse any longer. A puppy so ill that he requires emergency
veterinarian care. He is so weak that he is unable to even hold
his head up or drink a bit of water.
There's no vet to be found. Knowing this puppy will likely die
that night, the renter does what little she can to keep the
puppy warm and comfortable, and waits for him to die.
As I sit and write this, that puppy is sleeping mere inches from
me. Yes, I'm anticipating his death tonight. I don't like it,
but that's the way it is.
After searching for emergency vet care, or even an open shelter,
I came up empty. The one veterinarian within five miles of me
has an answering machine with a message to call back during
Now, if I were living in New York City, or the surrounding
areas, which is where I hail from, I could easily call the ASPCA
and feel secure that an officer would come and rescue this
But because I live in a tiny town in Alabama, that's not an
Thus, this puppy will likely die tonight. As I watch him
struggling to breathe, an awful mix of emotions overwhelms me.
I'm angry, frustrated, sad, and feeling incredibly helpless. I
know I cannot save this puppy.
If even one agency like the ASPCA existed in each county in our
country, many more pets could and would be saved.
Here in the South, animals are often looked upon as property.
That's one reason we don't have access to such agencies. Animals
simply are not a priority here and are not often viewed as pets.
It's very common to drive down any street, country road, even a
neighborhood and see dogs chained forever to their doghouses,
with little, if any room to exercise.
Another problem we have in Alabama is that it's one of the
poorest states in the country. People simply cannot afford to
spay or neuter their "property", and feel it's not their
responsibility, especially if their pet is male.
The result is litter upon litter of unwanted, abused and
neglected animals who otherwise could have made some wonderful
We rescued such a cat a few months back. He was an outdoor
kitten, and when his house burned to the ground, his owner threw
him and a sibling into a sack and headed for the lake. Somehow,
this boy managed to escape not only the sack, but the car as
Thankfully he did, because he is one terrific companion and we
are thankful to have him.
But what of this puppy lying beside me? All I can offer him
tonight is a caring, gentle touch, a warm fluffy towel to sleep
wrapped in, and all the love I can cram into one long, sleepless
night for me whilst I watch over him.
For in the morning, I know he will not be with us. All I can do
for him is simply not enough to save his life.
We have 9-1-1 for human emergencies. Why do we not have the same
for our animal companions?
What a waste. He would have made someone a wonderful companion.