Monday, December 8, 2014

Regarding the errors in your first draft

Saw this PSA-thing on facebook today:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I died today. You got tired of me and took me to the shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left. My collar was dirty and too small, but the lady took it off before she sent me to the Rainbow Bridge.

Would I still be at home if I hadn't chewed your shoe? I didn't know what it was, but it was leather, and it was on the floor. I was just playing. You forgot to get puppy toys.
Would I still be at home if I had been housebroken? Rubbing my nose in what I did only made me ashamed that I had to go at all. There are books and obedience teachers that would have taught you how to teach me to go to the door.
Would I still be at home if I hadn't brought fleas into the house? Without anti-flea medicine, I couldn't get them off of me after you left me in the yard for days.
Would I still be at home if I hadn't barked? I was only saying, "I'm scared, I'm lonely, I'm here, I'm here! I want to be your best friend."
Would I still be at home if I had made you happy? Hitting me didn't make me learn how.
Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach manners to me? You didn't pay attention to me after the first week or so, but I spent all my time waiting for you to love me. I died today.

Love, Your Puppy 

It's really terrible, so I fixed it:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I died today. I was your first puppy, and you were ignorant. You got bad advice from friends, neighbors, even your vet and the internet; things weren't working and you didn't know where to turn. You were at your wits end, so you went to an animal shelter for help, but they just treated you like dirt. They took me from you without offering any advice or support, and sent you on your way with a sneer.

The shelter is overcrowded because they don't advertise puppies like me, even though there was the perfect home for me out there, they never got a chance to know I existed. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now because the shelter workers were too busy complaining in the break room about "irresponsible owners" to give me a walk or treats or some toys, or take a decent photo of me.

You took me to a place that calls itself a "shelter", but instead of protecting me, they killed me. If you had known there was a better way, that there are better shelters out there, that there are homes waiting for every single shelter pet, maybe you would have chosen differently. But you never had the chance. And neither did I.

Love, Your Puppy


BorderWars said...

Not to mention that for every letter like this, there are ~2 from dogs who didn't get killed and ~96 from dogs that never needed to even go into a shelter.

Retrieverman said...

I don't know that there is a home for every shelter pet, but shelters can reduce their kill rates.

I have some problems with Winograd, but his thesis that we can reduce the number of dogs and cats being killed in shelters is correct. It's just that it's presented as hyperbole, and that of course bothers me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this! I get so sick of the guilt-tripping glurge. Yes, *some* people suck - but the constant judgmental attitude of so many people involved in rescue (and also "rescue") is just plain stupid. I can't tell you how often I went head to head with a senior person at the largest pound serving our community, and I would be going "We need to help the dog" and her attitude was "They must take responsibility, and if they don't whatever happens to the dog is THEIR fault." Really?

Manitoba Knine said...

Your version is much better, but still too simplistic. There aren't perfect homes for every rescued dog out there, not by far. Some of that has to do with the instability of the dogs themselves, some with breed/type and some with bad timing. Guilt trips of any kind aren't all that helpful imo - except for the ones that point out the fact that we really have a lack of responsibility all around when it comes to dogs.

Suzanne said...

Retrieverman, I also cringe at Winograd's hyperbole. He says that every shelter in N. America could have a 90% plus save rate for animals, and I don't know if that's true or not. But I do know FOR SURE that most animal shelters right now could be doing a better job. And I don't want to see any more stupid, counterproductive, depressing memes like this from my fellow rescue people until that happens.

Suzanne said...

Carolee, perhaps my definition of "perfect" isn't the same as everyone's, lol.