SECOND CHANCE: THE GOV'S "JUST ONE DAY"
Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue.
Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes.
The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.
By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)
“JUST ONE DAY”
Last week, Governor Hickenlooper signed a proclamation to make June 11 “Just One Day” in Colorado.
“Just One Day” is a reference to a movement to draw attention to the fact that every day in U.S. animal shelters 10,411 lives are needlessly lost. Second Chance Humane Society greatly applauds the gesture (by the same Governor who also just recently signed the Dog Protection Act. Go Mr. Governor!), but strongly suggests a broader, more inclusive scope in the proclamation, one that does not blur the lines surrounding the real issues in a way that is potentially damaging.
Before presenting details about what I mean by “a broader and more inclusive scope,” let me lay out the proclamation as it exists today. Quite simply, the “Just One Day” campaign asks all shelters to pledge not to euthanize adoptable pets for one day and instead use innovative adoption, marketing, and outreach approaches to help their animals find homes. Hickenlooper uses graphic images such as body bags and syringes to make his points, which we feel demonizes shelter workers. Why not just look at the real issues?
Clearly our Governor is a great supporter of the work animal welfare organizations groups do throughout the State and we don’t want to dampen those feelings. “Just One Day” will bring much needed attention to the disturbing fact that pets are being euthanized despite a plethora of ways to prevent such a drastic measure. The wording of the Governor’s proclamation, however, and the language on the “Just One Day” website comes very close to scapegoating shelters that are forced to euthanize pets. We would rather see a focus on the source of the problem: the lack of education and funding to promote and make spay/neuter affordable and desirable for all pet owners.
Second Chance Humane Society has taken the “Just One Day” pledge. Why not? But that is what we do on a daily basis and not “Just One Day” of the year. Every day we apply innovative approaches (such as rehabilitation, social networking of pets, partnerships with animal shelters throughout the state, mobile adoptions, marketing, etc.) to find pets homes. And we are very fortunate and very grateful to live in a community that supports those efforts, which mean never having to say we are sorry.
Not all shelters are so lucky. Implying, as the proclamation does, that if shelters just worked harder and became more innovative they wouldn’t have to euthanize pets takes all the responsibility off of pet owners and places it on those who have dedicated their lives to making a difference to homeless animals. Shelters are not the problem, nor are they the solution, therefore shelters should not be the primary emphasis of “Just One Day.”
Don’t get me wrong. Any publicity, any conversation about pet overpopulation is a good one. But without addressing the fact that the problem requires collaborative (national, state, local) efforts that will result in collaborative solutions, “Just One Day” could be just another day.
Cougar and Petunia would now like a moment of your time…
There are bigger cats around, but not many with a “personality” as big as mine. I was abandoned and lonely before I came to Second Chance and the stress made my hair fall out. At first the staff here thought I was sick, but the vet gave me clean bill of health and said that was my reaction to living on my own. Now my hair is growing back and I am the most handsome little cougar you’ll ever adopt.
When I arrived at Second Chance, I was a delicate little flower (thus Petunia). Like Cougar, I had been living on my own for too long, so I had become afraid of everything and everyone. That turned around quickly through the help of my dog friends here, caring staff, and my foster family – they all instilled me with confidence and joy. Now my sweet side has emerged and I am finding it so much easier to trust new people – especially if you have other dogs for me to play with. I LOVE to play!
Note: Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs.
View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.
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