Let me update you on the rescue that started my blog.

Let me update you on the rescue that started my blog.

Meet Chester, the once afraid, hard to catch, living on the streets for months in our little city of Paducah, Kentucky.  In my heart and the heart of Animal Control, Mop, the once named abandoned dog, had all but given up.  It was a cold rainy day and Mop had held up in an area doghouse trying to stay dry.   ACO had received the call that he was sighted. When AOC arrived and tackled Mop, there was no fight left in him.  It was as if he was grateful to be caught.  

Chester was immediately adopted.  As you can see, he is the dog with a big heart. He is happy and has a place to call home. 

Happy endings. 

 

Dog Welfare and Adoption in the United States

Dog Welfare and Adoption in the United States

The State of Things…

According to the latest research and data, the United States is more popular than ever, with some 65.1 million US households owning at least one canine companion which accounts for 49.5% according to a recent study by the Insurance Information Institute. In total, there are over 100 million dogs that are owned in the United States, and that number figures to continue rising in the coming decades. The American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Surveys found that pet expenditures more than doubled between 2012 ($53.3 billion) to 2021 ($123.6 billion). From a dog’s perspective, it is seemingly a great time to be alive-owners are dishing out substantial amounts of money to provide their dogs with comfortable, enjoyable lifestyles. Sadly, not all dogs are fortunate enough to find a loving home to spend their lives in.

Treatment of dogs that end up in animal shelters has long been a topic of controversy in the United States, and though much of the criticism the country has received is warranted, there has been considerable progress made in the past decade. Overall, fewer dogs are being housed in shelters, with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reporting that the number decreased from 3.9 million dogs in 2011 to 3.1 million dogs in 2019. Likewise, the United States has made drastic improvements in reducing the number of animals euthanized by shelters, dropping from 2,000,000 per year in 2015 to 347,000 in 2020—a whopping 83% reduction in animals euthanized! While these numbers are encouraging and certainly worth celebrating, there remains much work to be done when it comes to the treatment of dogs in shelters.

Dogs in Shelters

Though more households in the United States own dogs than ever before, this does not necessarily correlate to greater numbers of dogs being adopted from animal shelters. A recent ASPCA study found that only around 23% of new dog adoptions are from animal shelters, while a Best Friends National Shelter Data study from 2020 found that number to be closer to 39% of new dog adoptions being from animal shelters. In either case, there is room for improvement regarding both public perception of animal shelters and the adoption process used by animal shelters.

Common barriers that prevent individuals from adopting from shelters include poor communication from an animal shelter, strict requirements or invasive questions during the adoption process, delays during the adoption process, and rejection of adoptions. While some barriers such as questioning an applicant are necessary to ensure that a dog goes to a safe environment, others such as poor communication and delays during the application process can easily be prevented with timely responses and transparency during the adoption process.

Public Perception of Dogs from Shelters

There is a significant amount of misinformation that exists when it comes to adopting dogs from animal shelters, so knowing how to discern the accurate information from the inaccurate is a good place to start when considering a shelter dog. As stated by the Best Friends National Shelter Data study from 2020, about 56% of households that own dogs have a purebred dog. Unfortunately, many of these households never considered adopting their purebred from a shelter because a common misconception about animal shelters is that every dog that they have is a mix of some sort. The reality is that about 25-35% of pets that can be found in shelters are purebred. Breed-specific rescue groups also exist throughout the country, and they can provide ample opportunities to find a specific breed that you may have your heart set on. Adopting purebred dogs from animal shelters or accredited rescue groups can negate the demand for such dogs from puppy mills or other locations that do not raise dogs in a responsible manner.

Health considerations

Another common misconception about adopting a dog from a shelter is that they will be in poor health and require substantial amounts of money to be invested into them. While the prospect of spending thousands of dollars on a new dog that was adopted from the shelter is undoubtedly daunting, it is an irrational fear to have. The fact of the matter is that dogs from shelters are typically healthier compared to those from breeders because they have fewer inherited genetic conditions. Moreover, the majority of dogs that come from shelters are already spayed or neutered, so pet owners could potentially save considerable amounts of money by adopting a dog from a shelter.

When it comes to improving public perception of dogs from animal shelters, there are a number of tried and true methods that can be employed. Having a website that features the animals at a shelter is paramount to animal adoption, but other methods that have been known to boost adoption rates include the creation of infographics or flyers relating to an individual dog, making a video, or generating an illustration-anything that makes a dog seem more personable to the public will increase their chances of being adopted.

Adopting your canine companion from a shelter can be an immensely rewarding experience. Not only does it have the potential to save you money compared to a purchase from a breeder, but you can also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a meaningful, life-changing difference for the dog that you choose. With more people owning dogs than ever before, now is a fantastic time to visit your local shelter and find your best friend!

Porter the Gentle Giant – Rescue and Adoption Video

Porter the Gentle Giant – Rescue and Adoption Video

Success!

Porter was successfully adopted!

 We’re happy to report that Porter was successfully adopted on July 7th, 2022.

 

 

Fostering a gentle giant.

 

I’ve had the pleasure of fostering Porter for the last week, and it’s hard to believe that a dog like him can end up in a shelter. He’s an affectionate, gentle dog that has gotten along GREAT with my family. 

We weren’t told much about Porter other than he was an owner surrender. It seems to me that at one time Porter was well adjusted and socialized. He is very attentive and has been taught the basic commands, plus he is house broken. Being inside of a home was not a foreign experience for him and I can attest, we didn’t have a single accident in the house while he was here.

Three dogs in a kitchen

The one peculiar thing about Porter is his extreme fear of storms. There is something about the rumble of thunder that causes him to seek out a dark corner and hide. It will be important for Porter to have a kennel and safe space for moments of high anxiety, especially when the midnight thunderstorm comes through.

 

Porter is being transported to Taps No Kill Animal Shelter in Pekin, Illinois, just 20 minutes south of Peoria. If you’re in the area and looking for a dog, don’t overlook this loving boy.

Saving Mop – The Dog Who Started a Blog

Saving Mop – The Dog Who Started a Blog

The Dog Who Started A Blog…

MOP – rescued by Paducah Animal Control in April 2022.

Animals all over are being left behind, abandoned, and forgotten. This is one dog’s story.

In early fall of 2021 a Facebook post started circulating about a dog that had been seen left behind after his owner had died. It’s not clear how long the dog had been on its own but it is clear it had been for too long.

Mop Animal Rescue Blog

The neighbors coined the nickname “Mop” and shared food with him, but the mutt was clever; Mop was untouchable. Nobody could catch him… and after a while the dog became notorious for staying close, but never within reach.

 

 

The community where Mop stayed voiced growing concerns when they started noticing the dog’s long fur becoming matted in several places. They had become so large they were causing patches of fur to shed off from neglect, leaving the dog mangey, malnourished, and looking like… a dirty mop.

 

 

Asking around, we uncovered Mop’s story quickly, for he had become rather well known amongst folk in the small neighborhood downtown. His owner had passed away several years back, a sweet lady who had named her dog December, but the people who continued to live on the property lacked respect for the home and had even less respect for December. After her passing the live-ins who stayed for a few months were said to have destroyed the place, leaving Mop for days at a time in a small pen outside without food or water. Mop’s world had been turned upside down as he went from being cherished and loved to abused, tormented, and neglected. Then sometime in the night the live-ins left town, leaving Mop behind to fend for himself.  Mop then became a ward of the streets.

 

 

At first we made a few attempts to catch Mop by hand, but that failed miserably. The neighbors were right; Mop was a keen canine and very difficult to back into a corner. He had learned the ins and outs of his domain and he wasn’t going to let anyone lock him up again.

 

 

I thought, if we can’t catch him maybe we could lure him into a trap. A “missy” trap is a perfect, no-harm contraption that could hold a dog long enough to get someone on scene.

 

 

Meredith setting the missy trap.

I needed space to set up the trap, so I chose a large, vacant lot, thinking Mop might feel safe sneaking away to enjoy a hearty snack left by yours truly. Well, let me tell you… Mop was on to me like flies on honey.  He took one look at me, looked at my trap, and looked back at me. Then he walked away. Mop was no fool. He had seen a pen one too many times. He was gone again.

After a couple weeks, my granddaughter and I were cruising the neighborhood looking for Mop when a kind old man approached and let us in on a little secret. The lot where we had set the trap, the very spot discreetly placed out of the way in the back, was the exact spot his pen had been set before the lot was “cleaned of debris.”

At that point it was obvious I wasn’t going to catch Mop with a trap, especially in that spot. He was avoiding that area like the plague, and worse, he was on to me.

By this time Christmas had come and gone. Mop survived winter on scraps of trash and pools of melted ice. Some of the neighbors who knew of his plight left food out for him, but their efforts were little rewarded. Mop was just too cautious and clever to let anyone get near him.

ACO and myself stalked Mop for weeks, eyeing him around the corner only to see him scurrying off the moment he caught our attention. It’s like the dog could feel our gaze upon him.

Then one storming, rain soaking day I got a text from animal control. He had actually tackled Mop.

We had him…

Animal control officer (James) had received a call from a resident that Mop was in her dog’s dog house. Mop was tired of being wet and was seeking shelter. Jamie figured it was another bogus sighting of Mop, but it was his job to check it out rain or shine.  Jamie texted me the address of the call but somehow, I missed the notification.  When I did respond, Jamie was rolling in the mud subduing our escape artist. This time, according to Jamie, Mop had no fight or flight left as Jamie carefully carried Mop back to the truck. Mop had finally given up.  

Jamie called me on his way back to the shelter and I insisted on seeing Mop.  Mop had the saddest eyes I have ever seen.  They were like looking into a hollow soul that did not belong anywhere or to anyone.  Jamie and I stood in the pouring rain, staring into the hollow eyes of a dog we had been chasing for months. The easy part was over. Was Mop broken? Will Mop ever really belong?

Mop wasn’t out of the woods yet. The first few days at the shelter were rough. He did not adjust well initially and remained tucked away in the corner. He was terrified of anyone who approached….everyone EXCEPT Jamie. Somehow he recognized and felt safe with the ACO, but only if there was a gated door between them. At that time, Mop was not adoptable.  He had so much fear and distrust with anyone – but there is hope.

 

Mop has been rescued.

The first time and last day I saw Mop at the shelter, a gentleman by the name of Shane came specifically to see and possibly adopt Mop.  The shelter by this time had named him Chester. The ACO and myself were a little shaken.  We were not sure it had been enough time for December/Mop/Chester to keep him from running again.  I want to share with you the recent update from Mops new owner.

“Hi, this is Shane, I adopted Chester.  I just wanted to message you and give you an update on him.  Monday will be 4 weeks and he is a totally different dog.  He has been absolutely amazing and such a blessing to me.  He is so happy and gets so excited when I come home. He is still a little shy and skittish around new people, but he seems to be getting better. He seems to be house broken and has only had 1 accident in the house.  He really likes to take walks and I’ve had him off his leash a couple of times and he stays right with me.  I just wanted to give you an update and let you know how he’s doing.  Oh, he doesn’t like baths or riding in the car. 😂”

 

And that’s why what we do, why advocating and raising awareness is so important. It is essential to have volunteers who are willing to work with rescue services, who understand the need, the calling, and like this case of a dedicated officer, are willing to work with the animals on behavior and social skills in order to make them more adoptable. To get these under-loved animals out of survival mode takes time, patience, and someone willing to work with them. I am so glad to be a participant in this happy ending.

It took Jamie Hollor (ACO) some time to get comfortable with the idea of accepting Mop’s adoption, but the gentleman who approached the shelter about adopting Mop made the decision easy for everyone. He was looking for a dog that he could give a good life to and that needed a lot of love, but I think he got the opposite.  Mop has been a blessing in his own life he did expect. Mop now has a warm, patient and loving family and for the first time in a long time, is safe.  Hope Wins..

And with a new home came a new name.

Chester.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Mop in his new home.