Last Friday we added a new member to our family. After much debate, we finally decided to name her Ginny. She is a golden retriever puppy estimated to be about five or six months old.
We found Ginny at the Fort Bend County Animal Shelter. My wife, Sandy, saw a post on social media that said the shelter was overcrowded and they were waiving adoption fees. A quick check of dogs up for adoption showed that a golden retriever puppy had just arrived from Needville. The listing was so new they didn’t even have a picture up yet. Sandy called and placed a hold. We were first on a very long list for her.
That evening I stopped by on my way home to check her out. She was shy but snuggled right up to me. I was immediately smitten. Because she had just been picked up, we had to wait three days before she became adoptable. Those days seemed to pass very slowly. On the second day of our wait I paid a visit with the rest of the family and even brought along Bella, our little chaweiner dog (half Chihuahua and half dachshund). The two dogs were indifferent to each other, so we took that as a good sign.
Finally on Friday at 12:30 p.m. the waiting period ended. I took a long lunch break, picked Ginny up, and took her home. Our two cats have remained aloof and Bella is still trying to assert dominance, but other than that, she’s been a great fit. We have a large, fenced yard and Ginny loves to run outside.
While the process of adopting Ginny was simple and we were able to cherry-pick a premier breed, I still can’t help but think of all the other dogs and cats that are still at the shelter awaiting their forever home. I thank God that Fort Bend County and local cities have the animal shelters that we do and am forever grateful to the staffs and volunteers who make them work. They’re a huge improvement over life as a stray on the streets, but it’s still not a healthy place for a pet to be.
Walking through the kennels was heartbreaking. Seeing all the dogs begging and pleading for love and attention and hearing their barks and whines made me want to take all of them home. I can’t imagine how hard it is for the staff and volunteers who are around the dogs and cats all day, watching some of the less desirable ones get passed over time and again while people like me skip over them for the popular ones – the ones that rarely come in and are quickly adopted when they do.
We couldn’t help it. We used to have a golden retriever named Shelby. She passed away four years ago. We’ve wanted another ever since. Ginny represented our golden opportunity.
We take great pride in having rescued two dogs and two cats. They are all loving and contented members of our family. Our lives are richer for having them with us and vice versa.
Unfortunately there are too many people out there who do not take pet ownership seriously or responsibly. Someone dumped or abandoned each of our four pets along with the hundreds of dogs, cats and other pets crowding the shelters across Fort Bend County. It takes a very cruel and cold-hearted person to abandon a family pet. I shudder to think that there are people like that living among us in our own neighborhoods. They are and it’s despicable.
To be sure there are a lot of pets that wind up in shelters because they have been unintentionally separated from their owners. More often than not, however, the animals that do arrive have been abandoned and many show signs of abuse.
That makes me all the more thankful that there are people who dedicate their careers and their free time to helping stray pets get off the streets and into good homes. It takes a special person with a heart of gold to do what they do and my hat is off to them.
Although pet ownership isn’t for everyone, those that are so inclined are strongly urged to rescue a shelter animal versus buying one from a breeder. A shelter pet will be spayed or neutered, checked by a vet, microchipped, and given all its shots. It’s those things that most adoption fees cover.
If you’re not an animal person, by all means do not consider adopting. If you do adopt from a shelter and the pet proves to be a bad match for your family, please bring it back; don’t turn it loose. If you want and are able to care for a pet but don’t want to adopt, please consider fostering a pet. That helps free space in the shelters, especially this time of year. Shelters can also use donations of pet food, kitty litter, blankets, and other pet supplies. Of course, there is also a need for volunteers to help clean kennels, walk dogs, and perform other simple tasks. These are all great ways you can help your community and animals in need.
To learn more about pet adoptions, volunteering, shelter locations, and more, visit www.fortbendpetsalive.org. You’ll be glad you did and so will your future companion.