I pay weekly visits to a local shelter to check on any Dalmatians that might be impounded there. It is heartbreaking to see all the unwanted animals, purebreeds and mixed breeds, that have been dumped there. People don't seem to understand that cats and dogs have the same level of intelligence and emotions as two-year-old children. Think about it. A two-year-old kid is capable of pretty complex thoughts and feelings. So is a cat or a dog. And yet, people will toss aside a pet like a piece of trash when they are tired of it, never giving any thought to how the animal feels about abandonment.

I can tell you that dogs and cats feel alot of emotional pain when they are abandoned. They are confused and frightened, just like any two year old child would be if you, their parent, decided to leave him or her off at a shelter or dumped in a strange neighborhood to go crying from door to door looking for help. You can see the hurt and sadness in the dogs' and cats' eyes at the shelter and the hope that you will be the one to take them home, love them and keep them safe. Some become so depressed they give up and refuse to eat; trying to starve themselves to death. It's really sad and terrible to see a once-beautiful animal turning into skin and bones with dull, hopeless eyes, waiting for the kindness of euthanasia to take away their pain.

If you adopt a pet, you OWE that pet a home for the rest of its life. If you cannot make that commitment, DON'T GET A PET! I hear alot of excuses why people don't want their Dalmatian any more: he barks, he digs, he knocks the kids down, we don't have time. Did you train him, did you exercise him, did you make him part of the family? Your pet is what you make of him. The excuse I hate the worst is "we're moving". Well, would you leave your two-year-old child behind when you move? It may take a little more effort to find a rental that will take pets but they exist and you can find them.

I hope that people will now understand their obligation to their pets and will make that commitment to keep their pet for its lifetime. Your dog or cat feels that you are the center of his or her life; they love you with all their hearts. How can you do less?

Terri Haase, Founder and Former President
Save the Dalmatians and Others Canine Rescue, Inc.


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