I don’t know the story of how Dewey found himself at a high kill shelter in California, and I doubt he’ll ever tell me. Today he sits on the deck outside in the sun while I write this, but earlier this year he was scheduled to be destroyed. It made me ill to see his death date written out like a tombstone: September 7, 2010. He was not a bag of veggies spoiling in the refrigerator, or a dog that’s lived a long happy life and is being humanely euthanized because of an illness. He is a poodle mix, just shy of being a puppy! After I saw Dewey’s adorable photo and learned he was already scheduled to die, I wasn’t sure who I was mad at; his previous owner, the shelter or the pet overpopulation problem.
There are thousands of dogs destroyed every day because of irresponsible owners. I grew up with poodles and it really hit home to see Dewey contemplating his last meal. Why did he end up there? Surely he slipped away from a loving owner before they could microchip him? I couldn’t imagine someone purposefully releasing him to face a bleak 50% chance of survival.
But shelters destroy because there are too many pets and not enough owners. It’s an exponential issue, and only gets better by educating the public on responsible pet ownership. It might be cute to knock up your dog and have adorable puppies running around and the extra cash in your pocket from selling them. But would you think twice if you knew one of these dogs might end up destroyed in a shelter because their owner didn’t take the time to understand the breed’s behavior, or lifestyle?
For these reasons above I am glad I rescued Dewey. Although he’s just one dog saved, he is my dog saved and has radically changed my view on the importance of spay and neuter programs and adopting from a shelter. Seeing his body wiggling in anticipation of a belly rub reminds me I could never ask a breeder to bring another dog into the world when there are thousands of loving dogs sitting alone and defeated on death row.
Dewey has taught me a lot about what it means to be a dog owner. It is so true that dogs are very unique creatures with abundant personalities, and Dewey has a very special personality. This is why I am glad I rescued him from PUP Dog Rescue in Issaquah WA. Just a few days before he was scheduled to be destroyed, PUP was able to bring him to Seattle on a transport with a bunch of other lucky dogs and give him a second chance at life. I was then able to meet him and adopt him. To this day I still receive tremendous support from PUP on training, healthcare and more. Now I know the true “story of Dewey” started when he joined my family.