Thursday, December 31, 2009
If you've been keeping up with the Toronto Humane Society news recently, you'll probably already have heard that while the downtown facility will likely be opening up to the public for adoptions next week, the majority of animals there are not currently adoptable. Out of the seventy plus dogs, for example, right now only about twenty are considered suitable for adoption. This number may go up once more assessments are done but basically too many of them have got behavioural or health issues which exclude them from being good average family pets. That doesn't mean they will never be suitable for adoption. It just means we need to work harder at getting them there.
Some of these dogs have got lingering medical issues that were never properly addressed but are now being looked after or at least acknowledged. Some of these dogs have been at the facility for months if not years, living their lives out in their pens. Some of them were irresponsibly adopted out to mismatched adopters only to be returned and adopted out and returned again. This cycle of animal mismanagement would have continued on unabated if the old management had been allowed to carry on the way they were.
With the old ways gone or going, even in the state of flux the THS is still in right now, like an organized confusion, things are looking up. One big change is that rescues are openly being sought out to foster dogs from the facility. Several dogs have already been taken to their foster homes. That's several that no longer have to spend their days in those concrete cells listening to the desperate barks and howls from all the other dogs and who can now finally relax into a home environment.
I never did understand what pathology it was going through the heads of the former THS rule makers who decided that working with rescues was some kind of a signal of failure. How utterly selfish and egotistical to even contemplate thoughts like that. How can anyone possibly think that it's better to warehouse dogs in cages for months or years rather than allow them to spend time in decent home foster care where they aren't going to go cage crazy or be more susceptible to shelter disease, where they are going to get hours of human interaction as opposed to the few minutes they might get at the facility, where they are going to get real walks in real parks, where they are going to get car rides and can bark at cats and squirrels and raccoons, where they can drool for dinner scraps and surf countertops, where they can sleep on beds and sofas, where they can be dogs and not prisoners.
What kind of people would deny that to a dog?
Sure there are some risks with working with rescues but most of those worries can be alleviated with some straightforward reference checks. It's easy enough to figure out who the wackos are and cross them off the list. With some simple due diligence, working with rescues, networking with rescues is a no-brainer. In fact, it's a necessity if the THS ever hopes to be a highly functioning animal welfare facility.
Several people working and volunteering at the THS right now are responsible for the push to partnering with local rescues. You know who you are and thank you for leading the change.