The Rise of the Shelter Pet
I read an article in the Huffington Post recently about how shelter pets are 'the coolest breed.' And of course, I agree, though I try not to be breedist (Boston Terriers are the best, but don't quote me on that). In this article the Huffington Post declared it's deep concern for our shelter system, and dedication to supporting animal welfare. Wonderful news, HuffPo. But what I really love about this article is knowing that such huge digital media outlets not only are getting on the 'shelters are cool' band wagon, but that it seems as though they really are amplifying a deep understanding of the real issue.
The message of this article is that creative efforts - such as taking professional and fun photographs of adoptable animals, hosting mobile adoption events in public areas, and making shelters cleaner, brighter, and more inviting - are all paying off. Just like Finding Shelter, so many volunteers and advocates across the country are working toward re-branding the out dated images of our nation's animal shelters. And it's very exciting to be part of this important discussion that will result in saving the lives of healthy and adoptable animals.
It's going to take a while to fully drag the 'unwanted, sad animal' stigma away from shelter pets, but it is certainly not impossible. And, the hard work is already being done and making an impact. Lisa LaFontaine, CEO of the Washington Humane Society, is so confident in this effort to re-brand shelter pets that she wonders where people will get their pets in the future. To be honest, this is something I've considered as well. As we encourage spay/neutering and even require it at some very smart shelters, how will we regulate which pet animals can be allowed to procreate? This is going to be a very tricky issue to sort out, and I hope that large national groups like the ASPCA and Humane Society etc use their power for good, not evil, when handling this topic.