Remember Me Thursday was brought to my attention by Three Irish Cats an advocacy and awareness blog with occasional tales from the cats. Remember Me Thursday was founded by Mark Arms, CEO of Helen Woodward Animal Center, in an effort to bring awareness to shelter animals awaiting their furever homes and those who unfortunately never make it out of the shelters alive like my buddy, Tyson. Today let’s honor the lives lost, bring awareness to those in need of homes, and gratitude to all who contribute to the welfare of animals. And my all time favorite, share rescue stories!
No Kill Equation
Many of you know animal advocacy, welfare, and rescue are missions close to my heart but what you may not know is each year roughly 2.6 million shelter pets lose their lives. 2.6 million animals! Of these approximately 2.6 million animals, an upwards of 99% are healthy and treatable. Sadly, animals pay for human faults but the good news is there are solutions to end the astounding population of homeless pets! Places like The No Kill Advocacy Center highlight no-kill statistics next to standard shelter statistics and practices, communities proving the effectiveness of no kill shelters, and how within reach it is for you and I to become involved in a variety of ways. Factors like community involvement, foster care, rescue access, comprehensive adoption programs, high volume/low-cost – spay/neuter programs, proactive leadership and trap, neuter, release are foundational to ending the killing of all non-irremediably suffering animals. Check out Save90.org to see which communities have save rates in excess of 90% and many above 98%! Saving lives starts with a can do attitude and proactive leadership! We can do this!
My Rescues; Bear & Styx
We rescued Bear as a senior, 14 ½ years old, and abandoned on a highway in the peak of Colorado’s winter. Being a black dog and a senior her chances for adoption weren’t optimal. I didn’t think twice when I was told about the little Australian Shepard, Chow, Collie mix who I had met about 4 years prior just serendipitously one day at work although at that time she wasn’t yet homeless. Bear changed our lives in the year and a half she was with us and in that period we lived a lifetime with her. She rarely cared for other dogs, wasn’t fond of affection at first, and loud noises really startled her. It didn’t take long before she settled in, realized she was safe, and started yearning to be touched. We were her fourth owners and finally her forever home. An honor I’m so glad I was afforded. Had it not been for Bear I probably wouldn’t have been awakened to the needs of animals in the way I am today nor would I have been involved like I am today. Read more about Bear, here.
We rescued Styx just a month after Bears passing. He was a stray in New Mexico before ending up on the euthanasia list at the city shelter. He was tagged for rescue by a Colorado organization, transported to foster care here in Colorado before he ended up on a ‘trial’ period with us. That was a lot of moving around for any dog and Styx certainly showed signs of stress through his high energy anxiety. The car ride home was exhausting probably more so for Styx as he paced, cried, and lunged the entire way.
From a mellow, nearly self-sufficient senior to a high energy, anxious pup we really jumped to the opposite end of the spectrum. The next morning Styx jumped into bed with us, nestling himself in the center, placing his head on the pillows, laying on his back all paws up in the air. This is now an every morning event and one I couldn’t imagine waking up without! Styx has been with us for two years now, he has made strides in his rehabilitation and has learned to be somewhat domesticated although he will probably always be more wild than good, more intuitive than obedient.
Life has been nothing short of an adventure with Styx. From herding cattle on his own accord, to chasing horses, jumping out of the car window while moving to learning not to chase moving vehicles, sitting on command regardless of how far he is from us, responding to our call, accepting the leash, putting up with the vacuum, and learning other animals are not a threat to him.
Styx could have been one of the statistics we are bringing awareness to today but because a lot of effort and many compassionate people, Styx is here today to live his life as all should be warranted and to be an advocate for death row dogs everywhere. Styx showed me the side of the shelter system we often don’t look at but seem to blindly accept. And instead of taking that lonely walk to the back room that would have cut short his deserving life, he has climbed over 6 rocky mountains, swam in the pacific ocean, hiked the northern and southern California coastlines, explored the small wonder of Delaware (where I’m from originally), hiked the hot sands of Nevada’s deserts, and that’s all just the beginning for him.
In addition to lighting a candle for those lives who were lost and bringing awareness to those in need of adoption there are plenty of effective ways to be of service. Not sure where to start? Start by researching shelters in your area, maybe you’ll find one whose values align with yours and you decide to volunteer. Some other fun ideas like:
- Photographing animals for shelter websites and media pages greatly increases adoption chances.
- Share adoption photos from shelters in your area on media platforms and even your blog!
- Sign up to foster! Fosters are like superheroes to animals and rescues, alike. If you’re able and interested check in with your local shelters and/or rescues.
- Adopt a pet! Adoption helps not one but two lives! You bring one home and open up space for another needy animal by doing so. It’s a domino effect of goodness!
- Share your own rescue stories with friends, family, and the virtual world. Your stories will encourage and inspire others to save a life!
For great resources and more motivational ideas visit: The No Kill Advocacy Center
Share your rescue stories with me below or tag me on Instagram!
This article is dedicated to Tyson and animals everywhere.