In anticipation of Earth Day tomorrow, there has been a lot of buzz this week about ways to go green. You already know that you can reduce waste by changing light bulbs to longer-lasting, more energy-efficient CFL’s. You can reuse plastic containers rather than using disposable plastic bags. You are also probably an old hand at recycling old newspapers, glass and cans.
When it comes to a adding a new pet to the household, you have another opportunity to apply the 3 R’s in one more way. It starts with:
Rescue. If you’re worried that a rescue won’t bond to you, you shouldn’t. After all, this is an animal that has been in some way disappointed by another human. Given the chance, this pet will do everything in its power not to disappoint you and make sure you don’t disappear like the previous owner.
When we rescued our Airedale Terrier, Max, he immediately interjected himself into everything we did. We have pictures from birthdays, holidays and other family events where he is ever present even if it is only a head, tail or paw. Rescues are profoundly loyal and loving.
Reduce. Whether poor shelter management or irresponsible owners coupled with a lack of qualified homes for homeless pets is the primary cause of pet euthanasia in this country is a matter of some debate in the animal community. Regardless of the position you take, pet euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets is a real problem in this country. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between six to eight million dogs and cats are turned into shelters each year and that over half of that population is euthanized annually. When you make a commitment to rescue and neuter your pet, you make a real impact on reducing pet euthanasia.
When we were in the process of adopting Max, we had to go through the kennels at the local animal control center. It broke my heart to see not only so many healthy, happy dogs begging for a forever family, but especially to see a homeless mother nursing a litter of 8 tiny pups. The intake officer told us that a family had dropped the litter off earlier after their children had been “able to witness the miracle of birth.” The officer had been polite enough not to ask if they now wanted to witness the phenomenon of death. Really, shouldn’t some people be neutered?
Renew. When you rescue an animal, you have renewed a life and I think the pet knows it. With Max, we were always impressed that no matter what life handed him, he was always happy. It’s like he knew he had gotten a second chance at life and he was going to make the most of every minute.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats who come into rescue are not all wild, sick or abused. For example, currently more animals are being turned into shelters because of the economic downturn and rising foreclosures. Usually a little older, these pets are often calmer, more focused when it comes to obedience training and many are already housetrained.
So when you’re ready to add a new pet to your household, consider going green with the 3 R’s-rescue, reduce, renew. No doubt there’s a pet out there looking for greener pastures.