When I saw this dog on Petfinder.org, I froze. This dog could be my beloved Raj's littermate. I looked at the expression on his face: kind, alert. Intelligent. He's concerned in his strange environment, but not panicked. I fell in love with him, just like that. The strength of the emotion was overwhelming.
With the next breath, I realized something: This dog's life is at stake. I saw the URGENT next to his listing on the Net. I'd seen that before: In pursuing my hobby of looking at dogs on-line, I'd seen many adorable dogs and thought, "Oh, gee. That one's so cute. He'll probably be put to sleep. I wish I could bring him home. Ain't it awful?" I'd do nothing.
But this dog touched my heart in a primal way. This dog moved me to wake up: Those pretty pictures I'd been flipping through on the Net for years weren't there for my amusement. Those dogs were fighting for their lives. Their ability to attract a new owner through what they showed of themselvesa tiny photo on a web sitemeant life or death for them. MOST of them will die.
My "looking at dogs on the Net" thing wasn't a harmless pastime; I was watching a funeral march.
Doing some research, I found out that over SEVEN MILLION DOGS are euthanized in the United States every year. Over 16,000 per month are put down in Los Angeles alone. This doesn't include cats or other species.
This staggered me. I found out more:
If you've read the rest of the articles in this series, you'll know I love cocker spaniels. About 50 new cockers enter LA shelters a week. Only about 60% of these are adoptedthat means maybe 30 dogs are likely to be adopted. Many of these will be returned to the shelter because their adoptive families didn't know what they were getting into. (See: A Problem Dog.) That means that more than 20 a week will end up euthanized. That's just cockers, just in LA.
This horrified me.
Do you recognize this dog? Is this your dog? If you've read my other articles on this site, (the link takes you to a sampling), you'll know that I consider the universe to be a spiritual phenomenon. I don't mean that in a woo-woo or supernatural sense: We humans are energy, along with everything else that exists. The the universe works through recognition and connection. Our energy vibrates in a certain way, unique to each of us. When we come together, when we fall in love, we recognize this essential connection. We recognize each other. Back in the 60s, we used to say, "The vibrations are right."
If you recognize this dog or another dog on the Net or elsewhere as part of your essential existence, claim him.
But first read the rest of my dog related articles. Read especially A Problem Dog. That's what commitment is: It means being willing to go through everything with your dog. It also means being able to afford the expenses of dog ownership. It may mean you don't get certain things for yourself. (My car is fourteen years old, for instance. My husband and I haven't had a vacation of more than three days in fifteen years. That's what you get when you love horses, but dogs can do the same things.)
The dog above is gone, but if you see another that you recognize him or her as your own, claim him. Do it after you've looked at what having a dog means and know you can give the dog what he or she needs, adopt him. Make sure you've taken off the rosy glassesread the rest of the articles on this site as they come up, or talk to a rescue specialist.
If you find the dog you love, give him a home as long as you both shall live.
If you wait long enough, you get a prize. I've been working on this series, finishing it in my mind. The book below has occupied all my writing hours. Writing about dogs keeps getting put off. Please know this: The beautiful dog above is home with me. We found each other across the miles with the help of some good, dedicated people. He's my boy now, having appointed himself to the task of following me, sitting by me, or on me if I'll let him.
His name? Sutie. From Sutra, the Eastern aphorism or small teaching device. That's what he is, for sure. Sutra is hard to say, so we call him "Sutie", like the less snooty "Sooty." He doesn't care.
It's hard to believe he's been with us more than a year now. He had lots of adventures adjusting to a household with four other dogs, a civlized household.
I'll tell you about it when I can.
Keep loving dogs!
INDEX: Use this to navigate the story.
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