The Herald Bulletin

February 2, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Woody and Mozart tell different stories

By Maleah Stringer
For The Herald Bulletin

— Mozart, is a beautiful, sweet dog.

He came to the Animal Protection League as a stray Dec. 21. He knew how to sit and shake, was affectionate and loved to have his stomach rubbed. He loved other animals and every person was his best friend.

No one has called about him or come looking for him. Even with volunteers and staff committed to taking him for walks and spending time with him he is still not adjusting to shelter life. To be honest, he is losing his mind.

He doesn’t wag his tail anymore. He tries to fight other dogs and he has started to growl at people. Every day in the shelter is one more day he cannot afford mentally. Each day is one day closer to becoming unadoptable.

If we can get him out soon, trainers tell us that it won’t take long for him to go back to being that sweet, innocent boy who came to us. If we do not, he will continue to deteriorate mentally. He will become unadoptable to anyone but an experienced trainer.

It is estimated that over 10 million animals are euthanized in the United States every year. Not because they are bad or aggressive but because of space. Because people do not spay/neuter. It’s not because volunteers and staff aren’t doing their best to get them adopted, fostered or rescued.

For the people who are trying to save these animals, it is like trying to run uphill with your arms and legs tied. There are simply too many animals; it never ever ends.

The Mozarts, both canine and feline, simply break our hearts.

The flip side of this story is Woody from the Fido shelter dog prison program. He came to us in 2009. His owners lost their home and could not keep him. He is a beagle/spaniel mix who has been constantly overlooked, until a month ago. Woody hit the jackpot. He has a great new mom and her 20-year-old son to play with and love. His new family sends pictures and it is clear that the humans and dog adore each other. It’s the Woodys who keep us from giving up. Woody was one of the lucky ones. He went to prison instead of living in the shelter alone in a kennel.

Going to your local shelter and spending time with the animals can help keep them sane. It can help get them adopted. Please come walk our dogs. Let them sit in your lap in the meet-and-greet room. Pet our cats. Simple human contact can make such a difference in the lives of these innocent creatures. And if you have room in your home and your heart adopt or foster a shelter animal. It matters!

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.