Home > Pet Adoption, Pet News, Pet Topics > A Letter from a Shelter Manager

A Letter from a Shelter Manager

I posted this blog post a few days ago, but I’m going to include it in Blog The Change For Animals because I am a huge supporter of pet adoption and it is “my” cause. I think every pet owner or prospective pet owner should have to read this before they get a pet. If more people did perhaps there would be fewer animals euthanized in this country. Read On.

If you have never worked or volunteered in an animal shelter, you should.
If you’ve never adopted a shelter dog, you should.
If you’ve never known a shelter manager or shelter staff member, you should.

Maybe then you would realize why it is so important to adopt a pet.

Today, I share with you A Letter From A Shelter Manager. If you think you can’t read this because it would be too hard to read, too much to bear, too much to deal with; you should. Maybe this letter can make a difference in just one person. You.

I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a view from the inside if you will.

First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know.

That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”, that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving too that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”.

Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.

Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.

If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room”, every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk. I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.


Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that
someone will walk into my shelter and say “I saw this and it made me want to adopt”. THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT

Please Be The Change and Adopt A Pet. There are so many good ones just waiting for a new home.

If this post touched you in some way, please read Mary’s Dogs Blog where she discusses how shelter dogs are treated like second class citizens. If you think the euthanization of shelter dogs is the only issue. Think again.


  1. FoxyFido
    July 14, 2010 at 1:00 AM

    Thank you for posting this. Difficult to read, of course, but a reality we must all face and become part of the solution for. It angers me the excuses I see for giving up dogs; even on Craigslist! We are moving, I work too much, the dog has behavioral issues, I cannot afford the dog, I am pregnant (this makes me mad – because you are having a child, the dog has to go??), etc, etc. I cannot fathom giving up our dog for any reason – aren’t your pets supposed to be a part of the family? Even BEYOND the cute puppy stage??

    And what breaks my heart the most about the euthanasia part is how you indicate that the dogs are so happy at first, believing they are going on a fun walk. Horrible.

    Thank you again for sharing, and for what you do on a daily basis. I think all of us need to open our eyes and really see what goes on at these shelters. More importantly, animals cannot be adopted on a whim – they are a lifetime commitment and CANNOT be simply “given up” when the novelty has worn off.

    • Mel
      July 14, 2010 at 3:10 AM

      Thanks for your comments Faye. I agree. I’ve seen too many “moving”, “dog got too big”, “dog too active”, and pregnancy comments on surrender forms at our shelter.
      I would love to take credit for this brutally honest piece, but it actually was written by someone else who is a Shelter Manager. I decided not to include her name out of respect for privacy.

      Perhaps this will encourage people to ask themselves what their impact is when the purchase a pup at a store. Meanwhile, you and I and many others can continue to educate people on the great number of dogs that are ready and waiting for a new home at a local shelter or rescue group. Thank you again.

  2. July 14, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t adopted. People need to look past their short noses to see the canine (and feline) love waiting for them at a shelter.

  3. ROB
    July 14, 2010 at 6:58 AM

    I totally agree with that horrible story. My wife and I have adopted 2 dogs and rescued another from a horrible situation. We have spent thousands of dollars getting these animals into the best shape of their lives. I think it would be easier to put down a sibling or family member than it would be to put down my pets. We rescued Lucy. She is crossed with pitbull/lab. The most intelligent, kind and affectionate animal I have ever owned. She has her moments when the pit comes out but we know how to handle those situations.
    People!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake up. If you can tie your shoes then you can own an animal. They aren’t rocket science. All they want is love, exercise,a clean bed, good food and a lifetime commitment.
    Most of these people that say they can’t afford a dog are full of s__t. They don’t have a problem spending a couple hundred on dinner at a restaurant.
    I really wish I could adopt 10 more dogs but my city only allows 3 per household.
    Get out people and take these animals for a walk and see how easy it is. Quit making these breeders and puppy mills rich.
    I will never buy a dog from a butcher!!!!

  4. July 16, 2010 at 6:31 AM

    Wow- that was a hard read. I’m wondering where she gets her statistics from, as HSUS reports 3-4 million dogs a year die in shelters. Nevertheless, one dog is too many. I can’t believe how far in denial some people are about this horrific reality. Every article I’ve read about the recent proposal to ban the sale of live animals in pet shops in San Francisco seems to be written by blind idiots. The most recent one I read said that 3-4 million “sick and aggressive” dogs are euthanized each year. Uh, NO! Try 3-4 million distressed, abused, neglected dogs. That’s what they really are. This is a travesty and the media needs to start reporting honestly about it (like that will ever happen).

    Great letter – I hope it opens some eyes.

    • Mel
      July 16, 2010 at 7:44 AM

      I wondered about the stats too Kyla, but still 3-4 million is more than plenty. I hope this letter (as hard as it is to read) will help people to seriously think about where they get their next dog or cat. So many good ones need new homes.

  5. July 16, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    What an affecting post… I hope this will make pepole think twice. I’ve never understood people who drop their pets off at the shelter instead of keeping them or finding another loving home to take them. My family has taken in many dogs when neighbors moved or just so the pup wouldn’t end up in the pound. I could never do that to my gal. We’re a rescue family, and always will be.

  6. July 17, 2010 at 1:51 AM

    Wow, that was tough. Everyone who is thinking about getting a dog should be required to read that. If only, right?

    I’m such a fan of people doing their homework and thinking it through before they bring home a pet. Research the breed (don’t just pick it out because it’s cute) – does it fit your lifestyle, how big will it get, how much exercise will it need, can you afford it…so many dogs might not end up in shelters if people really thought questions like that through.

    Thanks for posting that. I’ll definitely be passing it on.

  7. July 17, 2010 at 5:16 AM

    That just brought tears to my eyes reading it. Thanks for sharing! I’d like to post this on my blog, with your permission. I think it’s important to share. Please let me know.

    • Mel
      July 17, 2010 at 7:40 AM

      Hi Doreen

      It brought tears to my eyes as well. 😦

      I want to make clear that I did not write this letter, I saw it on Facebook, where someone had posted it for all to see. I thought it was powerful enough to share. I’m guessing you agree. Thank you for wanting to share it!

  8. nikkie
    July 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    I agree with this. I got one of my dogs at the animal rescue whom I had for about 9 years he passed away last yr. I received a pit bull pup when I was pregnant with my son and I still have her. Also found a lil palm pup on the highwy. And kept her. I don’t believe pregnancy should be an issue my animals new when I went in to labor and protected me. And thru my pregnancy they protected when my son came they became his dogs. And they protect him. I do not understand how people can be so heartless about animals. They should be apart of the family. I have had to put a dog down cuz she got very sick . And we couldn’t make her better. I love my animals. And I wish more people would open their eyes. And as for ppl sayn pits r bad. They are only bad cuz they r missed treated. I love my pit. And people are heartless and un caring and maybe they should feel what its like. And maybe they would open their eyes. I just want to scream about this. Thank u for posting this

  9. Jane
    July 17, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    I love that you posted this! It is completely true!

    I have bought one dog in my life. Never again. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to pieces. But I will never turn my back on an animal truly in need. I only bought her because a bad shelter experience scared me off. Never again.

    To date I have rescued almost 20 cats and dogs, and I have kept seven of them (between my house and my parents’ house). The rest are in good homes now. One was a pregnant dog and her companion I found on a road trip, and I rescued six in one scoop! 🙂

    Never buy, always ADOPT! Adopt from kill shelters first!!!

    • Mel
      July 17, 2010 at 5:01 PM

      Thanks for your comments Jane. My first dog I bought from the neighbor down the street who decided to breed her Sheltie for money. She was the love of my life and was with me for 15 years, but ever since then I have made it a point to adopt. There is nothing more rewarding than adopting a shelter dog. They are some of the best dogs! If only people realized how many nice dogs, trained dogs, are in our shelters and rescue groups! Thank you for spreading the word.

  10. yuvraj
    July 17, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    We have to awake govt.

  11. Sue Bastiani
    July 17, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I didn’t cry, I take a pill for that, but I did feel so badly…Our last dog we had for over 17 years & our cat for 20, so they didn’t suffer the fate of so many. I’m afraid to get another if something happens to us tho, so not sure I can rescue another. (Most of our dogs have been rescue mutts. :o) The best dogs to have..you never know whatcha gonna get!)

    • Amanda
      July 18, 2010 at 8:45 PM

      You can always rescue and older dog or cat and just be the best warmest home it will ever have for it’s final years. You would be surprised how many people bring in their 9, 10, 13 year old dogs and think they are going to get adopted. For me it’s always the old dogs that made me saddest.

      • Mel
        August 23, 2010 at 6:33 AM

        Me too Amanda. My last dog, Aspen, was 9 when I adopted her. She only lived a year (due to medical issues), but she was one of the best dogs!

  12. Bas
    July 17, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    If you happen to lack imagination or just can’t grasp this, please go to http://thevenusarchive.org and go see the movie “Earthlings”. It’s about humanity’s dependence on animals for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research. I real eye-opener!

  13. Amy Kesterson
    July 17, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    I plan to share this with everyone I know. Currently I own six animals, 3 dogs and 2 cats. In my life I have owned over 15 animals. ALL of them were either shelter animals or strays. ALL of them have been the most loving and amazing animals. I have loved every one. I know people who only buy purebreds from breeders and it breaks my heart. If/when I lose one of my darling precious animal friends I always go and rescue. It drives me insane to hear excuses like “i don’t have time….they cost more than I thought…they want too much attention…i don’t have the room.” I am a single working mother. I still find time, energy, love and money to give to my six animals every day. and the reward? loyal and loving friends.

    • Mel
      July 17, 2010 at 11:20 PM

      Thank you Amy! I appreciate you sharing this letter with others. I recognize that sometimes life happens and an owner has no choice, but if you are surrendering beause you are moving or the dog got too big or too difficult (the most common reasons a dog is surrendered), then I want you to think about what resulted from your actions. Thank you for being a good pet mom and for your passion for pets!

  14. July 18, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    Hell ya. Good for you. Thank you for sharing this. My heart broke a little… but like you say, this is so important to know.

  15. Nidal Pascoe
    July 18, 2010 at 1:37 AM

    My husband and I are very much dog lovers. I recently had a beautiful baby boy and many people told me that my dogs will no linger be my children like we’ve treated them, but merely dogs. This actually frigtened me! The day u left the hospital, I was actually crying for my girls at home, my lab and beagle! When I got home, it was time to introduce Morgan to his big sisters. Four and a half months later, they take naps together and the girls have learned to like lunch time as well, as Morgan is now eating green beans. They are my “first born fur babies”. I want ever dog lover to know that having a baby is just an addition to your home. Do not get rid of your first borne even if they have four legs!!!

  16. July 18, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    Yes. It is sad and deplorable.
    Unfortunately, I feel the only people that will be moved by this letter are those that would never surrender their pets to anyone, anywhere, for any reason.
    Breeders do not look beyond the dollar they receive.
    People abuse, neglect and abandon their own children.
    There is no hope for pets. The stories of abuse, neglect and cruelty that we see, read and hear about daily underscore this. And until laws are stiffened and created to seriously address these issues, there will never be.
    I pray that I am wrong.

    • Mel
      July 18, 2010 at 2:32 AM

      I can feel your frustration and skepticism PitOwner. I like to remain optimistic about changing people’s minds. I look to the new legislation that is being passed in many states around puppy mills and the national legislation that has been proposed and think it’s only a matter of time. Change never comes easily, but it does come.

  17. July 18, 2010 at 5:57 AM

    I have to rescue dogs one of which has issues with people and would have been put down quicker than most. My pittbull was my first and I had her a year before before I got here fixed I thought about letting her have puppies but Then I realized how stupid that would be. The girl I work with works with a local rescue and she gets a new animal almost everyday. I have even helped foster hopefully one day people will learn to stop the crazy.

  18. jax
    July 18, 2010 at 6:35 AM

    Can you find the original source for this letter?

    It is a brutally honest account of what goes on in shelters across America every day.

    However, I am disappointed with some of the replies. Anyone who assumes that someone who purchases a puppy is a bad person because they didn’t go the rescue route is just as bad as the person they are accusing! Externally, if someone knew me only as they saw me at the vet for a few minutes, their judgements would be wrong. Yes, I have a purebred puppy, and yes, he came from a breeder. What you don’t know is that I spent a year checking Petfinder daily before I got him. I volunteered at my local shelter for 3 years straight until I had to get a job. All of my other pets are rescues. If there’s a stray kitten or puppy in the neighborhood, I deal with them.

    • Mel
      July 18, 2010 at 6:58 AM

      Hi Jax
      I did speak to the person who shared it with me and she said a friend wrote it.

      I agree with you, it is a brutally honest account of what does go on in many shelters every day.

      I also don’t want you to feel judged for having a purebreed puppy. I have two – both came from the shelter I volunteer at and not from a breeder, but from a puppy mill. It is honorable that you volunteer at a shelter and help rescue or help pets when you can. I do both as well.

      My big beef is with puppy mills, backyard breeders and people who think they are going to make lots of money by breeding their dog(s). As I am sure you know, we get a lot of puppies at our shelter as a result of people thinking they were going to make lots of money only to discover that no one wanted them. It drives me crazy. Oh no – those pups will find good homes – everyone wants a puppy, but what about the other dogs that might have been considered but wasn’t because someone thought they could make a buck? That’s my beef. I am sorry if you feel judged. I think you are one of the educated and did your homework. A lot of people don’t and that makes me sad.

      • Amanda
        July 18, 2010 at 8:40 PM

        This makes me feel better, really for me it’s purely up to education, like most things people just don’t educate themselves before making big choices look at all the people with children they weren’t ready for. But like you said down with backyard breeders and puppy mills lets work towards that shall we? We can all agree they are doing no good.

  19. July 18, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    Heartbreaking letter. And sadly enough, it is very true. I was in rescue before I met my husband, and luckily, he is as devoted to nimble rescue now as I am. We have had several rescue dogs, and sadly, have lost a few due to natural causes. We have two now, and 8 ( yes 8) rescue cats. They are. Our children, and we love them. My furniture and clothes may be covered with fur, my house may sound like a kennel when the doorbell rings, and I may spend more than the annul GNP of a developing country on pet products and vet bills, but I can and will keep rescuing four-legged souls until the day I die. And for those people who think animals do not feel, read the book Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Then tell me that animals are not worthy of our time and love. Trust me, you will not be able to.

  20. Genie
    July 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    And that’s exactly why I refused to send a dog abandoned at my house to the pound. He was scared & aggressive… but after months of love I was able to find him a good home…even though I didn’t have the time, the energy, or the money to deal with him. I just couldn’t imagine his life ending that way.

  21. Amanda
    July 18, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    Let me start out by saying I have worked in a shelter and volunteered in the shelter for many years and have been part of the euthanasia, part of my job was to decide who goes and who stays, not easy. I also have two purebred dogs not rescue. I know what your thinking Huh? I find it simplifies things too much to just blame breeders I just blame people. I wanted the right dog for me I did a bunch of research and decided on the best kind of dog for my lifestyle we had lots of requirements especially size and coat type as we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a place to rent and my fiance is slightly allergic. When I got my first guy I was 21, my now fiance was finishing up undergrad and we were living in an apartment so even though I worked in a shelter, I was an adoption risk and no one would give me a dog even one that was to be euthanized how does that work? I have no idea. Today my little man is 2 and we give him the world even though we don’t have a whole bunch of money he is our whole lives and yes our expenses include vet visits and all the stuff most people don’t think of. The problem isn’t ALL breeders (yes a lot of people just do it for the money and I hate puppy mills that is my cause) I blame over population on the people who get dogs (and cats) with out thinking of yearly vet visits or how much fixing will cost (or how important it is) or really just that pets aren’t accessories they are hard work and they do take time and money. When you tell me you no longer want your dogs because you redecorated your house and they no longer match, really, how can you blame the do?. Have tougher restrictions on breeders sure please, have tougher restrictions on animal abusers too that would be nice. It’s not so easy as to say all breeders are bad but maybe easier to say most people are. When you decide to take that pit bull puppy home are you thinking about insurance or maybe your land-lord won’t let you have it because of breed, no the dog doesn’t deserve it pitts usually are wonderful dogs but society doesn’t see it that way and off to the pound that poor dog goes to be euthanized. It’s heartbreaking but until the government decides to make dogs something other than property and controlled by the FDA like it’s the same as corn there are going to continue to be major problems.

    • RubyB
      November 12, 2013 at 8:07 PM

      Your story is enlightening. However, most people who choose to buy rather than adopt do not have special requirements that mean they need a very specific type of dog.

      I do not see how you can say most people are bad when so many people are involved in rescue, in helping seniors, children, and other disabled people, as well as all the people willing to risk arrest to reduce the suffering of people in other countries, to save us all from death due to environmental disaster and in efforts to stop wars.

      • RubyB
        November 12, 2013 at 8:08 PM

        I accidentally ended my comment before I was finished. I also wanted to acknowledge your points about animals needing to no longer by property by legal definition, and that tougher restrictions on both abuse and breeding would help.

  22. @luvmy6pups
    July 19, 2010 at 3:35 AM

    This is probably one of the MUST READ for any potential pet owner out there! The term “breeder” has seriously gotten smeared by “puppy mills” and “backyard breeders”. Anyone nowadays can call him/herself a breeder if the person happened to be in the business of breeding. A true breeder is the one who only breed for betterment of the breed, in a very selective program and NEVER in mass quantity; a true breeder is extremely selective on who he or she is selling the puppy to, and will refer the potential buyer to breed rescue organizations if he/she sees fit. Among all the dogs I have fostered, about half of them were redirected to the rescue organization from the county shelter. The county shelter is simply overwhelmed, and was trying to contact other rescue organizations if they see one of the shelter dogs can benefit from it. You would not believe the s excuses and stories we’ve heard as to why the owners are dropping off their perfect purebred little guys. “oh, he is too active” – how about taking him out for a run or walk instead of locking him in the cage most of the day? “this dog bites, and need to be put down immediately” – have you tried canine behavior counseling or maybe getting a trainer for him? “trainer? oh no, we don’t have time for that” Some of the excuses aren’t even actual behavior issues, people simply don’t understand their dogs need training, need to be taught to go outside and potty, will bark, will get nervous if left along, need to exercise, etc. People also need to understand that bring a pet home, especially dogs as they needs more maintenance and will probably cause housing issue if owners rent, should never be the result of an emotional decision. You will be responsible for this puppy’s ENTIRE life, which can be as long as 15 years or more. Well, I’ve ranted enough, anyway, love what you are doing for your rescue baby Daisy. I cannot imagine what she had gone through in the puppy mill.

    • Mel
      July 19, 2010 at 4:31 AM

      @luvmy6pups Thank you. You said it better than I ever could. And, thank you for your kind words. Daisy is a very special girl and I am honored to be her mom.

      • RubyB
        November 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM

        I would agree totally with your sentiment if breeders would institute a life-time microchip system in which a dog breeder was legally responsible for the lifetime care of any dog they caused to be born. It would have to include stiff financial penalties, not subject to bankruptcy law, for any breeder who failed to recover and take good care of any dog or cat or horse that breeder had caused to be born.

      • Mel
        November 13, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        Not a bad idea Ruby B.

  23. July 20, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    This left a lump in my throat. I have rescued a tiny kitten once from the streets, and for a moment I considered leaving her at an animal shelter and letting them do their “work” of getting her adopted. I am just so glad I didn’t, because since then she has been the source of our family’s (including my SIamese cat) sheer joy. She’s just so precious! And it’s painful to think that she could have been long gone by now, had I left her at the shelter!

    This is her story: http://pawsomecats.blogspot.com/p/bratcat-rue.html

    I’ve read a lot about the plight of shelter animals, and I vowed never to buy pets again. I even advocate to my friends to adopt rather than buy.

    May I request for permission to re-post it in my blog? I will include the link to your site.

    Thank you.

    • Mel
      July 20, 2010 at 8:11 AM

      Jonna – Thank you for your comments and for sharing your blog. I will definitely check it out!
      Yes. Please DO share it with others. I didn’t write this letter, but rather, just passed it on in hopes it would make a difference. Thank you for wanting to pass it on.

  24. priyazim
    July 21, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    A very, very sad situation, indeed.

    I adopted a street dog who just happened to arrive on our premises with a huge bump on her head. I phoned the relevant authorities to find out whether anyone had reported a long-haired German Shepherd/Collie cross as missing. No-one.

    Gypsy’s been with me for well over a year now, and she’s a delight. Yes, she has had her problems, but I wouldn’t change her for the world. I work in a retirement home, and she has also brought so much pleasure to the ‘oldies’ here. She knows how to treat them and they, in turn, lavish her with affection. After all, isn’t that what we all crave? Love and loyalty is what all creatures, including humans AND dogs, deserve.

    • Mel
      July 21, 2010 at 5:28 PM

      Thanks for your comment Priyazim. One of the best dogs I ever owned was a Shepherd/Collie mix (like your Gypsy). I adopted Indy from the shelter I volunteered at and she was so well-trained that I often received compliments from people on her behavior. Of course, I couldn’t take credit for it. Her previous owner (a young girl) had trained her to do almost everything you could think of – how sad that her father decided to surrender Indy when the young woman went off to college rather than keep her and care for her until she returned. She missed out on spending time with Indy in her remaining years, a dog she helped to shape, because of the selfishness of another. It was my gain in the end, but what a loss. I’m just glad our shelter doesn’t euthanize based on time or space – or I might not have had the joy of sharing Indy’s company.

  25. Dee Atlas
    July 21, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    I wish this letter could get wider attention. We adopted our dog 15 years ago from a Humane Society shelter in NJ. She was awful having lived there a few months (rescued near death from a backyard). I wanted to return her she was so wild & uncontrollable but I didn’t. She is the only dog I’ve ever had & I was determined to help her learn to be happy. We went to our Y for some training & I spent 6 months working with her to get her “civilized.” She was always hyper but she became a wonderful part of our family. Now she is nearing the end of her life. She is blind, mostly deaf & has bad arthritis. I still won’t give up on her & love her as much as I can and she gets all the dog biscuits she wants!!

    People need to be educated about how much it takes to own a dog (or cat, rabbit or bird) both emotionally and financially. They are not next years fad to be easily discarded when you don’t want them anymore.

    • Mel
      July 21, 2010 at 8:32 PM

      Dee – Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your wonderful story. I hope it inspires others.

  26. j
    July 22, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    shelters should make it easier for loving families to adopt—we were turned away from FOUR SEPARATE shelters because there is no “stay-at-home” adult in the house. ridiculous! it makes me sad that four dogs who we might’ve otherwise saved had to die because of picky shelter owners.

    • Mel
      July 22, 2010 at 8:53 AM

      Libra – I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that. Sadly, the variance in adoption policies differ between rescue groups and shelters and from state to state. I understand the desire to ensure a dog go to a good home, but perhaps a little less militancy in these groups would be helpful. I share your sadness that 4 dogs lost out to a home because an adult wasn’t at home all day. Good lord! How many households could afford to have one adult home every day? In this economy?

  27. July 25, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    Great post. Hard to read, but all too true. I posted it on m blog; I hope that was ok. More folks need to read this.

    As it’s been said: owning a pet isn’t rocket science. It’s a lifetime commitment. All three of our pets were rescued, promptly spayed or neutered — and loved.

    I cannot stress enough the topic of spaing/neutering.

    • Mel
      July 25, 2010 at 8:11 AM

      Lori – Thanks for your comments. Yes. Please do post it! I want people to share it with as many people as they can. It’s a hard read, but something I think people should read before making a decision to get a pet.

      All my dogs were shelter dogs except for my very first one. The best dogs ever.

  28. July 30, 2010 at 5:02 AM

    We’re finally finishing the rounds of thanking all the wonderful Blog the Change participants and what an amazing place to end up. This is the most honest and direct point about the reality that millions of animals experience when humans believe them to be disposable. Those of us who work with shelters and rescue organizations know this on a daily basis. It’s about time the rest of the world learned it too. Yes, it’s hard to read, but it has to be said.

    Thank you so much, not just for posting this compelling letter obviously written by somebody who knows the death drill all too well, but for fostering so much conversation around the topic. Your blog has drawn the most compelling comments and has inspired a tremendous amount of sharing.

    Thank you for Blogging the Change,
    Kim (and Amy by proxy)

    • Mel
      July 30, 2010 at 5:40 AM

      Thanks Kim and Amy. I was surprised at the responses, but also glad that it impacted so many people. I was honored to have such a wonderful discussion take place. I think that walking in someone else’s shoes can be so much more enlightening. I hope it IS one component of the change needed for animals.

  29. Shanna
    August 22, 2010 at 6:41 AM

    Thank you for this post. I will pass this along as much as I possibly can. I’ve never worked in a shelter but I’ve worked with many shelters and rescue groups. I have tried to tell people this very story and it just doesn’t seem to sink in. I’m so tired of people breeding and not even caring about the ones that need adopting! All people see are $$$$$$. It makes me sick! I was trying to explain this to someone who thinks it’s ok to breed their chihuahua and they said “It’s ok, I can find them homes” and my reply is well if your so good at finding homes, help the shelters and rescues find homes for the millions of animals that desperately need homes! Funny, no one wants to hear that! All my animals are rescues or fosters that have ended up staying. I just don’t understand how money means more than a life! I will always do what I can to help any animal and try to change the way people think of animals as a disposable peice of property. I just don’t get it!!!

    • Mel
      August 22, 2010 at 6:58 AM

      Shanna – Thank you for your comments. I too had a friend who wanted to breed her Lab and make money off of it. I thought I had done a good job discouraging her, but 2 weeks ago I received an e-mail announcement that the puppies had arrived and that if I wanted one I could request one. I wrote back and told her that I would not be directing any friends or clients her way because there were too many dogs in shelters right now due to the economy. I was completely disgusted and disappointed. I have known this friend since high school. It’s so frustrating at times isn’t it?

      • Shanna
        August 24, 2010 at 2:23 AM

        Good for you for standing your ground!!!Like you say, there are so many pure bred babies in these shelters that need homes. It’s sad when our own friends wont listen knowing our passions and frustration! I hope one day people will see what we see and do whats right! Thanks again for your post!

      • Mel
        August 24, 2010 at 5:05 AM

        Thank you Shanna. I felt bad, but she knew how I felt, so she would have been better off not sending e-mail to me.

  30. August 23, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    Ugh. I’ve read that letter before. Okay…. time for change….! Let’s make it happen!

  31. August 23, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    No matter how many healthy animals are KILLED, it is too many. We run No Kill Georgia, and we are starting to work with the animal controls in certain counties to help fix the issue. There are certain issues that can be addressed in most county facilities that can reduce the kill rate probably in half or more. Either way, any animal saved is better than none.

    • Mel
      August 23, 2010 at 5:37 PM

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing the work you are doing in Georgia! It is great to see the progress an be made if we all work together.
      I wish you the very best in your work. An animal saved is better than none – Indeed!

  32. George
    August 26, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    Thanks for sharing this much needed letter, it sure would be a great help if someone like a Oprah, who is supposed to be an animal love, would do a show on this topic. I too have seen too many unwanted animals in the shelter and puppy mill environment. Especially dogs being given up because “school is about to start and we really won’t have the time”

  33. Dorinda Frye
    August 31, 2010 at 5:21 AM

    I volunteered at a NO KILL shelter for several years. People think just because they hear no in front of kill, their beloved pet won’t face the same out come as the Humane Society or Local Shelter. That is simply not the truth! We had to put down many, many animals because it was a financial burden to get them healthy, and that money was needed to feed the rest. The good of the many out weighed the good of a few. The things people say when they unload the animal is so hard to imagine: Moving, The new Baby, they don’t have the time for it and it’s for his/her own good. You really can’t change a person’s decision once they are at the Shelter. Just take the Dog(in my situation). This is where I chose to work. Take the dog into the back, give them a bath and a flea dip, which is tramatic in itself, then take them to their new home for the rest of their life. It is a small run,cold or hot, depending on the weather, hard surface to sleep on, as any bedding would get wet from the hose that washes away the waste. They are scared, confused, and alone. They miss their family very much and lack the capacity to understand why they are feeling this way. And always,always, look at the door, with ever present hope. Please don’t abandon such a great friend. Before you buy that cute puppy or kitten, make it a life time commitment. Because that is exactly what it is.

    • Mel
      August 31, 2010 at 5:47 AM

      Dorinda – Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful response. Obviously, you have seen the Shelter Manager’s life in a very real way. Thank you for what you do. I know it is not easy. I hope your plea does not go unnoticed. It’s a powerful one.

  34. Jeanne
    September 10, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    I work at a municiple shelter and, while a good deal of this is true, I can’t help but wonder if some shelters need some euthanasia training. When I walk a dog w/ questionable temperament into our euthanasia room it does not put on the breaks. We have a thick blanket on the floor, and we offer the dog treats. Yes, some are too stressed to take a treat but they were also too stressed in their kennels. We then quietly pet and hold the animal – if it’s safe enough to – hold out a front leg, while a co-worker finds the vein and we give the dog it’s “blue juice”. For the dogs we cannot hold or that struggle too much – to destress the animal and/or for our safety, we tranq it. Is that not being done here? I find it helps me to feel I gave the animal a more peaceful end, versus the ridiculous struggle we use to go through. I believe it’s also helped all of our staff w/ compassion fatigue issues.
    For other people who may be upset reading this – I can only say I’m doing the task society forces me to do. Please EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE and ADOPT!

    • Mel
      September 10, 2010 at 3:16 AM

      Jeanne – Thank you for your knowledgeable comment and question. I don’t know where this particular shelter manager works, but it really makes me feel better to hear your procedure. It’s never easy to euthanize a pet, but I think that the easier we can make it for a pet the better. I hope that you sharing your approach will help many others. The account in the letter was one that will stick with me for a long time.

      • Jeanne
        September 10, 2010 at 5:58 AM

        Any shelter that is doing the way it is described above, or worse, IP or w/ gas – should be referred to this site:


        On that list is Penny Cistaro who travels and does clinics. She is as close to ZEN like as someone can be.

        For me, I keep the euthanasia room as quiet and calm as a church. Yeah, we may laugh at some point while euthanizing but all animals are treated w/ the utmost respect.

        I’m fortunate enough to work at a shelter where the only animals euthanized are those that are not adoptable, not a good foster case, or a rescue won’t take them. Most are pretty dangerous – not always to humans but certainly to other animals. If I had to euthanize adoptable animals on a regular basis I would NOT be in this. I actually LOVE my job – this is just one aspect of it and it’s not pretty – but I’m here because someone who works for the animals has to be.

  35. FellowACO
    October 11, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    As a fellow Animal Enforcement Officer working in a shelter, I completely agree with this letter. It may be a difficult read, but it’s actually only about half of what I’d LOVE to say to every single person walking into my shelter and handing me a dog. And to every single person telling me they won’t adopt from us because they “don’t believe in spaying and neutering”. Stupidity causes pet overpopulation.
    We have hundreds of amazing, adoptable dogs and cats that come into our shelter every week. EVERY WEEK. Most of them never find homes. We try; rescues, humane societies, sales, promotions….an average day sees 20+ dogs and cats come through our doors, and watches 1 or 2 go back out. A good day raises the out-number to closer to 10.
    Animal Enforcement Officers and Shelters have to see what irresponsible pet owners happily deny every single day. “She just keeps having babies”…then spay her. “He’s got too much energy”….then walk him more. “She’s too expensive”…it’s a cat, how expensive could she possibly be, and why did you get her in the first place??

    • Mel
      October 12, 2010 at 4:08 AM

      Thank you for sharing your experience and frustration. It’s sad to think that people would choose not to spay or neuter their pet when there are so many animals dying every day. I can relate to your frustration, being a volunteer at a shelter, I hope that your comments will only add to the discussion and make people realize that pets are not purses. They are living, breathing beings and should be treated with more respect than a piece of leather.

  36. Khris Erickson
    November 9, 2010 at 5:57 AM

    As a shelter employee in Southeastern Wisconsin this letter from a shelter manager makes me angry. Posting this implys that all shelters have the same policies and are the same. While I could believe that what this letter states may be true in some parts of the country, it certainly isn’t true in the area in which I live.

    In the northern states of the USA most shelters can place all adoptable dogs. While in the southern states in the USA dogs are euthanized simply because of overpopulation. But this most definately is not the case in SE Wisconsin (nor in many northern states). I am very familiar with many of the shelters in a 5 county area in SE Wisconsin.

    Dogs ARE NOT euthanized after 72 hours. This area has a very good compliance with pet owner spay and neuter, and our dog numbers are low. Some shelters are importing adoptable dogs from other states because they have enough room to do so. As long as a dog is healthy and not aggressive it goes up for adoption. We currently have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that has been available for adoption for the past 5 months. If a dog has a treatable injury or illness we treat the dog and then place it on the adoption floor. We even have a behavior department to work with the behaviorally iffy dogs to try to make them more adoptable.

    Dogs in this area do not get euthanized because of kennel cough. KC is highly treatable, and the dog will be removed from the adoption floor and given antibiotics for a week or two until it’s recovered. Cats as well are treated for upper respiratory infection as a matter of routine.

    Going crazy from being in a kennel isn’t the norm. Most shelters in this area have great volunteers who take the dogs and cats out for exercise and training, and while living in a kennel isn’t optimal, it doesn’t automatically turn a dog or cat crazy. This may happen in a shelter where the animals don’t get any exercise, one on one attention from people or toys, but I’ve never seen that in SE Wisconsin.

    Shelters DO NOT get paid to euthanize animals. And if you need to surrender your dog to a shelter in this area the only reason your dog would be euthanized is if your dog is severely ill or injured (think cancer, parvo, etc), or dangerous. This unfortunately isn’t true with cats — there is a horrendous over-population problem with cats (get your kitty fixed, please!)

    Euthanasia is performed by staff who are not vets or vet techs, however the state of WI requires that anyone performing euthanasia be certified to do so. People aren’t just handed a syringe and told to go to it — they have to actually attend training before they are allowed to do it. The techs at the shelter I work at are very skilled, very compassionate, and I have never ever seen an animal have the needle torn out of a leg and scream with pain. Usually the animal is peacefully gone within 30 seconds.

    While I am all for education to make people more responsible for their pets – posting things which aren’t true is not the way to do it. And if this shelter manager hates her job so much she should get out — because working in a shelter should be a passion and a labor of love. A manager at a shelter should honestly believe in the work he or she is doing and feel that they are making a difference. It sounds as though this person is bitter and burned out.

    • Mel
      November 9, 2010 at 6:31 AM

      Khris – Thank you for letting people know that this is not the situation in all shelters. I could not agree more. In fact, it is not the case at my shelter either.
      I understand your anger. I debated over whether to share this letter because it is so inflammatory, and because some people (as I have witnessed in the past few days) tend to see things in black and white and will demonize all shelters. The reason I chose to share it was to educate the public on what it means to take your dog to a shelter, and to hopefully make people “think” before choosing to buy a pet from a pet store, backyard breeder or puppy mill owner. In fact, it did have that impact with many people I have heard from since I posted this letter.

      You and I both know there some really amazing pets in our local shelters and I wish people would go there first instead of adding to the pet overpopulation by supporting a puppy mill. This letter was simply my way to educate the public on what can and does happen at some shelters. I did not write this letter, but I do not regret sharing it. What I do regret is that some people have chosen to use it to demonize all shelters, and for that I am sorry. I hope people will read your comments and realize that not all shelters are this way.

  37. Sandy Wittliff
    November 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Sorry to say you wrote this like it was coming from me. I am the Operations Manager at a shelter in Texas. I have to home in on the few adoptions we do and ignore the cruelty cases — or the idiots that bring animals in. Last week I had a guy bring in a dog that was his mom’s. She had been in a nursing home for 2 years and died. So now they bring this dog in that is 15. I asked him why he was bringing the dog in– well my mom died– I said “So?”. Then I asked him– why are you wanting my staff to do your dirty work– His mouth dropped. I made him walk the dog down to the quarentine building. I told him that since the dog was the age it was and we were so full he knew I would be euthanizing the dog immediately. He just looked at me and said yes. Most days I really hate people. Sandy

    • Mel
      November 9, 2010 at 6:03 PM

      Sandy – Thank you for sharing your experience. I am so sorry that your experience has been so similar to the one mentioned in the letter. Working in a shelter is hard, and it’s often emotionally draining. After 8 years of volunteering, I started to think all people were like this and began to hate them too (and, I volunteered at an awesome shelter with phenomenal staff!). It’s so interesting that your comment should come right after the one from Khris. Clearly, there is a discrepancy in experiences. I just hope that this letter will begin to make people think about their decisions when choosing a pet or giving it up. There are so many shelter pets dying needlessly every day. And most of them are awesome dogs! I just don’t get the need to buy a pet store puppy when there are so many puppies and adult dogs available who could be saved.

  38. Jennifer
    December 8, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    I have to say that I very much disagree with most of this letter. Even HSUS, which as a radical AR organization likes to inflate numbers, says that between 3 and 4 million animals are euthanized every year in shelters. This “manager” clearly pulled 9 million out of his a**. On the other side, between 18 and 21 MILLION households add a new pet every year. THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO MURDER A HEALTHY ADOPTABLE PET IN THE US. Any manager still doing so is simply drinking the AR kool aid and should not be in this profession. What you have here is a failure of effective marketing, not an irresponsible public. If shelter managers simply did their JOB, they would not be killing most pets.

    Responsible pedigreed breeders of cats and dogs will take back any animal they have bred at any time in it’s life. They also do rescue. If a person did their homework and bought a puppy or kitten directly from a responsible breeder, there already IS somebody willing to take that animal back for the entire life of the pet. There are far fewer quality pedigreed puppies born every year than there are people wanting one.

    As a veterinary technician of 25 years, I can tell you right now that there will always be a need for shelters to sometimes euthanize pets. We frequently get calls from people who have been laid off or have even become homeless and have a pet that has become seriously ill. They love their pet but have zero resources. They can’t even afford the $90 plus disposal charges that my hospital charges for euthanasia. We have to tell them to take their pet to the shelter, because they will do it for free. This has been an increasing problem for the last two years during the latest economic crisis. Even I was laid off last year and out of a job for 8 months, and I have worked steadily for the last 20+ years.

    If your shelter can’t do what the name implies–truly be a “shelter” for homeless pets–then the fault lies not with the public, it lies with the shelter management. The “manager” that wrote the above screed needs to be fired, not followed.

    • Mel
      December 9, 2010 at 6:43 AM

      Thanks for your comments Jennifer. As mentioned in many of the comments, we don’t agree with the stats listed in the letter either. I did not write this letter. I simply posted it.

      I believe the real message here is to adopt, not to buy from a pet store or puppy mill or backyard breeder. I understand your anger at the shelter manager, but it is my belief that the overall intent of the letter may powerful enough to get people to start thinking about why they should seek to adopt first – whether that be from a shelter or a rescue. At least, I hope it does.

  39. December 15, 2010 at 5:37 AM

    Thanks for sharing – I have adopted 5 animals, because I have volunteered and witnessed things people should never have to see if they love animals.We recently adopted a senior dog who is deaf and has really bad arthritis, we are giving him a year or 2 with love and peace.

    People need to also realize in many parts of our country animals are still being shot, killed with heart sticks and baked in the gas chambers – I think euthanasia is a light term for what goes on in most county shelters. People need to own up to being responsible, what kills me most is these low class humans dumping their pets off at the shelter with the lamest excuse while they have their kids in tow – if we do not teach our children about being a responsible pet owner how is this ever going to change the way our society treats animals?

    • Mel
      December 15, 2010 at 7:22 AM

      Heather – I think I like your response the best of all I have received here.
      1. Because you get it and wrote about it succinctly and with a lot of thought.
      2. Because you have adopted 5 animals out of kindness and commitment, and
      3. Because you adopted a Senior dog.

      I adopted my Aspen at age 9 from the shelter I volunteered at. At the time, I suspected she had cancer and had been dumped off because the family couldn’t stand to say goodbye. I couldn’t stand the thought she might die in a shelter (she also stole my heart). It turns out she didn’t have cancer, but pancreatitis. I did my best for her (she had the very best of care), but finally just after she turned 10 she stopped eating and got too weak to walk. It was time to say goodbye. I don’t regret for one second adopting her. She was the light of my life! I may have only had her for one year, but I miss her to this day. She was truly an awesome dog. The fact that you would adopt a Senior dog with health issues makes you a very special person in my eyes. You won’t regret it.
      Thank you so much for your comments!

  40. Mel Klos
    August 23, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    My first rescue dog was Annie. I was invited to dinner at her owner’s home and when I saw the terrible condition that 10 year old English Bulldog was in (ears inside filthy, could barely walk due to being kept in back yard 24/7) AND they told me they were gonna put her down when they moved the next month, I got up, picked her up with great difficulty and put her in my car. I never spoke to them again but Annie spent her last 3 years as my little Princess. Walks on the beach got her to the point where she could jump into my car and she stayed with a retired friend during the day while I was at work. No cute puppy could have given me more joy.

    My second Bulldog rescue came to me as T-Bone (HU?) and I was supposed to look after him for a month while his owners were on holiday. When they got back they said I can keep him if I wanted to because he “cramps their style”!! By then I had already renamed him to Max and I was happy to take him away from such obviously stupid people. He was 2 when I got him and died due to an incompetent local vet 2 years ago, aged 8. He was the only man in my life for those 8 years and a piece of me died with him. He was my true soul mate and I still miss him every day.

    If you want to experience true love, devotion and loyalty, adopt or rescue an unwanted, neglected or abused dog. You get back tenfold what you put into that relationship. Nothing compares.


    • Mel
      August 24, 2011 at 10:04 PM

      Mel – You’re MY kind of people. God bless you and your big heart. WHat amazing stories. So agree with you about rescuing an unwanted, neglected or abused dog. They pay you back ten-fold with love and devotion and companionship. Have never been disappointed.

  41. Toni
    September 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    All my cats are shelter rescues. All of them over the age of 6-10 years old. They are great. I love them all. One pair was surrendered by a woman who was dying. She actually had the shelter contact us to see how they were doing and if we were going to keep them. We replied a resounding YES. They were well looked after and very loving. What more could we want. Another one we got is very shy and a real beauty. We love her to bits. It breaks my heart when I see these beautiful kittens looking at me appealingly. My message is “get your pets fixed” and “adopt a shelter animal”. They will reward you endlessly with love, companionship and the occasional hairball. They don’t ask for much, but give what cannot be measured. We will have to let one go soon, she is old. I will be there to hold her and will cry as I did with the others. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Then I will go to the shelter and get another 10-12 year old cat to replace her. I can give them that.

    • Mel
      September 23, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      Toni – You are MY kind of people. My last dog was 9 years old when I adopted her. I still miss her and she was only with me a year. You have a beautiful heart. 🙂

  42. October 15, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    Shocking, very shocking. Everyone should know about this.

  43. Tamara B
    October 31, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    Joplin has been giving them away when their time is up. WHY kill them if someone wants the pet. WHY do shelters treat pets like a commodity and destroy it as if it was a product who’s expiration date has expired. Save money on gas and pts meds give them away!

  44. Marie Willcox
    November 4, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    This story burns right through to my very soul, leaves me with heart ache and anger, how can this happen, but knowing it will keep happening untill goverments open their eyes and heart to reality, instead of shutting a blind eye to puppy mills and cruelty to animals. As far as I am concerned they are as guilty for letting it continue.

  45. 2LovedDogs
    November 4, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    We adopted both of our dogs from the local animal shelter. I’m a full time college student AND full time worker and I still find time to volunteer at the the shelter every other week or more. If you can’t afford a dog or can’t have one where you live at least donate your time, money or supplies at your local shelter.

    • Mel
      November 4, 2011 at 10:43 PM


      • Marie Willcox
        November 5, 2011 at 4:43 AM

        it is people like you who make this world a better place, thank you for being there for you little rescues. We have 5 dogs, 2 of which we adopted, and theya re my life.

  46. November 8, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    And what is even more sad is the reality that MILLIONS of animals suffer this fate every year. That is why I am pushing for legislation.

  47. November 17, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    Every HUMAN needs to read this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. December 1, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    I agree with this well-written blog and it makes me cry each time I read it. Personally I don’t think I could go to a shelter and choose a dog without feeling horrible about turning my back on all the rest. I am horribly underemployed at the moment and my children disagree with me because I have decided to keep the 3 stray dogs and 3 cats that have found their way to my home in the country. I feel THEY CHOSE ME and I’ll do everything I can to give them the life they deserve; after all, someone did them wrong by turning them out. I tried to make myself take them to a shelter but I just couldn’t, knowing what would probably happen to them. I am still haunted by a 4th stray dog that walked down my street with that hopeless look, its head hanging low and tail not wagging. I knew it had to be lost or abandoned. I had a bag of popcorn with me and tried to give it to the dog, knowing it may have been its only meal for a long time.It just kept slowly walking up the street. God, I hope someone took it in.

  49. E
    December 5, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    This was one of the saddest letters I have ever read. We just adopted our little puppy from the Humane Society, and I can say that we will never buy a dog from a breeder ever. We are only every adopting….We are from Canada, so I am not sure if that stats are similar here, but regardless, this letter really opened my eyes. I read it in Tamar Geller’s book. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

  50. Vanessa Priegnitz
    June 6, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Reading this was so horribly heartbreaking. I have one Rottie whom by boyfriend took from an abusive home. I also have a pug that we found on a local website. The owner no longer wanted her due to a bad break up. I couldn’t imagine dumping them off at a shelter for any reason. They are both part of my family. I would never abandon them. I can’t even imagine how they must feel sitting in thier cages hearing the crys of the other animals. You have opened my eyes and my heart. I can only hope that this will inform others as it did myself of what really goes on in shelters.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Mel
      June 7, 2012 at 6:23 AM

      God bless you and your boyfriend for taking in dogs who so needed someone who could love them and care for them so they didn’t have to end up in a shelter. I could not imagine dropping mine off at a shelter either. I am sorry I made you sad, but I am glad you were moved. Thank you for sharing your own story. It’s nice to meet other animal rescuers. 🙂

  51. P2TheDoodle
    July 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I cried so much after reading this last night, and am just now able to put my thoughts into words. We adopted our Linus as a puppy from a local shelter. His mom had been found pregnant and had her babies in the shelter. Not only do I love him more than I ever thought possible, but it’s absolutely true. They love you more than anything else. My heart breaks reading this because we can’t save them all. Our Linus is a very large, black, bulldog/lab mix. I wish I could scoop up every single one that looks like him, because I know they have less of a chance. Thank you for posting this.

    • Mel
      July 30, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Thank YOU for being a part of the solution! Linus is a very lucky boy.

  52. May 1, 2013 at 6:26 AM

    in my country the shelter doesn’t have many pure breed dogs, which makes the situation even more grim. I honestly thought about buying a puppy, I liked some specific breeds, but then I shook the thought off, remembering all the love stray dogs from my childhood gave me. I adopted a dog who has been passed around from owner to owner, I am the 6th or 7th. And he’ll stay for good. We trained him, educated him, fed and exercised him well and now he’s come to love us. I am absolutely positive that almost every dog has a chance of being at their best, only if they’re given attention, affection and patience. Unless you really want to use your dog for a specific task, it’s absolutely useless to buy them. You are being incredibly superficial, because even the ugliest dog can be the one of the best things that happened in your life.

    • Mel
      May 1, 2013 at 6:54 AM

      Well said. Thank you for offering a beautiful post script to this blog post.

  53. Brianna
    September 5, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I agree beyond that. I wish my mom would wake up and see what’s in front of her face! The reality of these poor animals is more than I can bear! I don’t have and never have had a dog. Sad, I know. I do have 2 cats, but I realized now that by buying them, we are supporting puppy mills and other cruel kennels. I’m going to make my mom read this letter, see if it opens up her eyes! . . .

  54. sam
    October 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    I definitely do not hate you. Im very glad you posted this. Just like my vegan posts i post all day on my Facebook feed, it will be read but the cold reality of it wont affect most people. and if it does they will go on with their lives but never take any action. Although every person counts in making a difference. I hope that you effected at least a few people with this post. but i do have hope and times are changing and people are becoming so much more aware of what is going on in shelters, puppy mills, even factory farms. Its not only the dogs and cats that are being killed. Its the chickens goats pigs cows. Pretty much every single animal on earth humans have declared superiority over and have hurt in some way or another. bout time we started changing this.

  55. Ben
    April 18, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    The only thing I would ad to this is the dog will be lucky if the shelter can afford the “pink stuff” to put them down. There are some county shelters in OH that stack them in a room in cages and then pump exhaust from an old gas engine in to the room to kill them.

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