The Media, Heartstrings, and Pet Adoption

An interesting story appeared today on BBC News. A man had taken his dog for a walk, and then headed back to his car. He drove off—without the dog. The dog, who had a limp, was unable to catch up. This type of scenario is, unfortunately, not at all unusual. In the desert area where I live, dogs are dumped all the time. What made this different was that it was caught on video and broadcast on television. Hundreds of people across England, Scotland, and Wales stepped up to offer to adopt the dog. No doubt Ginger, a cute mixed breed, will find a home.

This type of reaction is not unusual when dogs are featured in news stories where they are abandoned, or rescued from a well or other dire situation. Hundreds of offers pour in immediately to give the dog a home. It’s understandable, and even commendable. We’re empathetic humans, and seeing those things tugs on our heartstrings. But think about all of those dogs sitting in shelters. What if we could see the stories behind how each one got there? Picture the footage of Buddy, abandoned, sitting in his home, waiting for owners who never return; a montage of scenes of Kayla, who was adopted for the children, but no one had time for her; or my own girl Sierra, running through a grim desert landscape, searching for food. I bet if people could see all of that, those dogs wouldn’t be in the shelters very long.

It's true that some dogs are in shelters or rescues because of aggression or other issues that make them less adoptable.  But for the majority, each and every one of those dogs has a story that, if it could be seen, would pull at our emotions. No doubt many would leave us in tears. Let’s use a little imagination, and open our hearts and homes. It shouldn’t take a news story. 


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