Life has been long and hard for Honey. For 12 long years, she did what was asked of her. This tiny, sweet girl was used to make money by an unscrupulous breeder. They bred her often, and she nursed many litters of puppies – too many to count. Honey accepted that this was her fate, she didn’t resist, didn’t bite, never growled or complained. Her only joy was playing with her pups for a short time. As soon as they could be sold, they were taken from her. Honey just kept on being a good girl. She was smart, loving and loyal. She learned not to use the bathroom inside, she respected her master’s space. When her master stood over her, she rolled on her back, exposing her soft belly to show submission in hopes the display would spare her harm. Honey quickly learned how to stay out of the way, to sit when told and to cower when threatened. For 12 years, Honey offered all she had and more to her master. It was the only life she knew.
Then one day, her master decided Honey and all the other dogs who lived with her were of no more use to him. He loaded them up and took them all to the animal shelter. When he dropped them off without even a pat on the head, the shelter staff told him that an old dog like Honey would probably be put down. He just shrugged and walked away. For 12 years, Honey did what she was asked. She labored, gave birth, nursed, stayed quiet, followed all the rules. She was a good girl. Then she was discarded – literally thrown away. How terrified Honey was at the shelter! Many big, loud dogs were crowded together, the sounds of rattling cages and constant barking were overwhelming, and so many strange people handled her and passed by her cage. Honey’s arthritic joints ached on the hard concrete floors, and her infected gums and teeth were so sore she could barely eat the hard kibble. Honey wanted to go outside to potty, she held it as long as she could, but no one took her. Her little paws burned when she stood in her own urine. Honey’s once beautiful coat developed mats, she smelled so bad – but no one had time to bathe her. The shelter staff knew Honey was an old girl and they attempted to spare her. Honey is smart – she watched them take other dogs to “the” room and noticed when the staff came back through the doors alone. If Honey could speak she would have been crying for help. She was heartbroken, scared, in pain…
An Appalachian SPCA member called the shelter to see if they might help the overcrowding by taking in Honey and several others. The shelter staff was so grateful for the offer of rescue! Rescue is exactly what the Appalachian SPCA offered to Honey. She was taken gently from her cage by a kind woman. Honey rode quietly in the back of a car, not knowing what to expect, all the while being a patient, good girl. When she arrived at her new foster home, there were only a few dogs, and they were quiet. There were so many new smells and once again, her paws touched soft grass and she was able to go potty on a surface she both recognized and preferred. The kind foster parents bathed Honey in warm water, brushed out her mats and stroked her head, telling her what a brave and strong girl she was. That night, Honey slept on a warm, comfortable bed, ate soft food that didn’t hurt her mouth and took leisurely walks with her foster family. Almost immediately, another family took an interest in Honey and hoped to adopt her. Honey’s future was looking brighter than ever!
Then Honey took a routine trip to the vet to check for problems and update her shots. Honey was patient and well behaved when the vet examined her. He determined that Honey had chronically infected gums and her teeth desperately needed to be cleaned. She suffered from various other problems associated with old age but it was agreed that putting her under anesthesia for those procedures was too risky. She would have to do without the much needed dental work to relieve her pain because the risk of anesthesia was too great. The vet looked into Honey’s soulful eyes, and while scratching her ears he told the nice woman who took her in that Honey probably won’t live much longer…she’s old, and her life has been very hard. Honey might have another year or so left, and she will need medication twice daily for the rest of life to keep her comfortable. Honey is no longer available for adoption.
The Appalachian SPCA has made Honey a permanent foster dog. She will be cared for, loved and treated with kindness until the end of her life. She will have all the comforts we can offer and she will never have to worry about being left behind, or adjusting to a new, frightening environment. She greets her new family with a tail wag every morning and occasionally musters the strength to dance on her hind legs when offered treats. She never has to worry about giving birth, only to lose her puppies. No one will ever mistreat, neglect or harm Honey again. She is safe. It took 12 long years for Honey to get the life she deserves, but we are so thankful that she will finally know love and security. Please consider donating to Appalachian SPCA. You can sponsor Honey, or another animal in foster care. Your donation goes directly toward the care of our animals and ensures our ability to care for more dogs like Honey in the future. If Honey could speak, she would say “Thank You”. Your donations make it possible for Honey and many others to experience life, love and care.
Too many homeless, hopeless animals…
Of the more than 30 million puppies and kittens born in the U.S. each year, only one in 10 finds a permanent home. The rest die of cruelty, starvation, disease, poisoning, or accidents, or they end up in a shelter. Nationally less than 35% of shelter animals are adopted. Some 6 to 8 million adoptable dogs and cats were euthanized last year. The primary causes of this tragedy: people who fail to have their pets spayed or neutered, and who abandon or give up pets because of lack of commitment to training the pet.
Sterilization of companion animals is the key to reducing this tragedy. Communities that have established sterilization programs have seen the number of pets euthanized drop by 30 to 60%.
Advantages for you and your pet
* Neutered/spayed pets are less aggressive, less likely to fight, and less likely to bite, as documented in studies.
* Neutered/spayed pets (especially males) are less territorial and less likely to roam. Research indicates that 80% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered males.
* Neutered pets are less likely to mark furniture and rugs with urine.
* Spayed females will not have heat cycles that soil rugs and furniture and usually shed less fur.
* Neutered pets can’t develop testicular tumors, the second most common malignancy in males, and have a lower incidence of prostate cancer, which is better for your pet and means lower medical bills.
* Spayed females typically stay healthier and live longer. They have a lower incidence of mammary tumors and no uterine or ovarian cancers, which is better for your pet and means lower medical bills.
* Sterilization does not change the pet’s personality or cause weight gain.
* Removing the urge to mate focuses more of a pet’s attention on the caregiver, aiding in training. Sterilized pets behave better.
The price to obtain a dog runs the gamut from free-to-a-good-home to several thousand dollars. It’s not always true that you get what you pay for.
The price you pay in a pet shop is usually two to three times higher than what you pay a reputable breeder for a puppy of similar (or usually better) quality.
Too many folks spend all their available cash on a pet shop purchase and then have no money left for initial veterinary care, a training crate or obedience classes—all necessary expenses.
Remember, the purchase price of a dog is a very small part of what the dog will actually cost.
Save money for food, especially if it is a large or giant breed, grooming (fancy breeds like Poodles, Cockers, and Shih Tzus need to be clipped every 4 to 6 weeks); chew toys (the vigorous chewers like a Bull Terrier or Mastiff can work their way through a $8 rawhide bone in a single sitting.), outerwear (short-coated breeds like Greyhounds, Chihuahuas, and Whippets must have sweaters and coats in the winter or in lavishly air conditioned interiors.), and miscellaneous supplies like bowls, beds, brushes, shampoos, flea products,
odor neutralizers for accidents, baby gates, leashes, collars, heartworm preventative, and other needs.
Pet owners must also save money for veterinary emergencies. Very few dogs live their entire lives without at least one accident. Your puppy eats a battery or pair of pantyhose, your fine-boned toy breaks a leg, your big boy has bad hips, your dog gets hit by a car or beaten or bitten by the neighborhood bully. These surprises can cost $500 or more. Unlike our children, most of our dogs are not covered by health insurance.
But dog ownership is not only a question of money.
How much time and energy can you spend on a new dog? Various breeds and ages of dogs require different demands on a pet owner’s time. In general, the sporting, hounds, herding, and terrier breeds will demand more time in training and daily exercise than the guardian or companion breeds need.
A puppy or adolescent will need more exercise, training, and supervision than an adult dog.
And the first year with any new dog, regardless of age or breed type, will put more demands on the owner than any other time, for this is when you are setting up house rules and routines which will last for the lifetime of your dog.
America has become a nation of disposable pet owners. Doesn’t your family dog deserve better?
Choose wisely, for when the bond breaks, everybody concerned suffers. Make selecting your new family dog a life-affirming act.
(Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T., Companion Animal Programs Adviser, National Outreach)
I’m small and fragile and I don’t feel well. My rescuers found me at the shelter. The shelter staff wanted the best for me but knew I had little hope there. I have a pretty bad skin infection due to allergies and I’m severely underweight. I’ve had a bath to soothe my skin and a few treats to fill my belly. I’m an old man who’s been through a lot, but I may still have some life to live and love to give. Please say a prayer for me and all the older, unwanted dogs out there. Visit your shelter or adopt from a rescue. We all need love.
Dobby is not yet up for adoption. He has quite a ways to go before he’s healthy enough for a new home. He only weighs 2.5lbs, and our focus is helping him gain weight and strength. Despite his condition and obvious neglect, he has managed to keep his inquisitive, playful personality and love of people. Dobby, and the many dogs like him, are the reason for everything we do here at the Appalachian SPCA.