Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pooch Portraits, and a Miracle Beagle--Dog Shelter Laughs and Tears

I want to share two links I had found about dog shelters and their lovable, helpless residents. I hope the first one makes you smile, as it did me; and the second will move you to sign any petition to get "kill"shelters to stop using gas chambers.

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The first is a whimsical story about enterprising shelters across the country.  The article, by Jasmine Aline Persch, an msnbc/Today Show contributor, interviews shelters who enhance the appeal and adoptability of their homeless friends by using professional photographic techniques.  Some shelters provide "makeovers" for the dogs to increase the "cute" factor.  Others provide more comfortable surroundings, better lighting and flattering angles to give dogs a more natural appearance. 

Many shelters post hastily-shot digital photos on their websites that reflect the animal's nervousness, and do not accurately portray the dog's size, temperament, or personality.  The article in the link explains what the more creative shelters are doing, interviews professional dog photographers, and gives readers some tips on how to digitally photograph their own dogs.

(Of course, it is always best to meet the dog in person, and never adopt solely from a photograph.  In fact, be wary of any shelter that does not do a thorough background check of you, your home, and other pets, before adopting any dog to you.)

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The Huffington Post (click here) offered a sobering story and video about Daniel, an unadopted 20-pound beagle in a shelter in Florence, Alabama. He and 17 other unwanted dogs were placed in a gas chamber to be euthanized.  When the door to the chamber was opened after 17 minutes, Daniel miraculously emerged, alive, tail wagging.  According to an interview in the video below, gas can vary in density and weight. Daniel may have found an air pocket that allowed him to breathe until the door was opened.  Many states have banned gas chambers to euthanize dogs--even Alabama (although the law will not go into effect for a year.)  Even so, of the six- to eight-million animals living in shelters each year, three to four million of them are euthanized in gas chambers.  Innocent creatures do not deserve this. Animal lovers need to help decrease the unwanted pet population by putting pressure on legislatures to close down puppy mills, spreading the word about spaying and neutering pets, and insisting on the elimination of gas chambers for animals.

(Pardon the annoying advertisement at the start of the video...)

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