This Puppy Was Adopted After Five Years When His Picture Went Viral

No kill animal shelters are wonderful, but while it's better than being put to sleep, when animals are left up for adoption for years, it is still a big bummer to both the animals and the volunteers. That happened to little Chester. He was at the shelter for five years and volunteers were heartbroken to see the sweet pooch get overlooked time and time again. That's when they decided to post the picture above.

Within a matter of hours, the Facebook image was shared 6,000 times. Someone suggested they make a page just for Chester and the page now has over 6,000 views. While Chester, of course, was adopted almost immediately, the shelter plans to keep Chester's Facebook alive to help promote the adoption of other long-term residents.

Via SoutholdLOCAL

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Oh, so now there are "good shelters?" Well, at least we're starting to make distinctions - that's slightly better than your opening blanket statement. But of course, the question remains: how do you define a "good" shelter?

Let me put it this way: I worked for years for the only shelter in a moderate-sized, "average" county (who can really define this?) We handled 7,000 animals a year. Yes, animals did not stay long-term, because they couldn't. No matter how many extra spaces you add to any facility, the only thing that happens is you temporarily stave off the amount of time before the cages are full. Period. This says nothing whatsoever of the budget necessary for such places, more often than not apportioned through the county coffers that also must maintain schools, roads, and all the other fun stuff. There is a limit.

Now imagine how that works if you decide to hold an animal "until just the right home comes along" - the example you just provided was five years. What percentage of those 7,000 animals do you hold that long, I wonder? How do you imagine that's supposed to work?

Animals need not just life, but exercise, a proper diet, health care, socialization, and most of all, stability - just like kids do. Those deprived of these, to varying degrees, respond in varying ways, some of them pretty horrifying. Only a tiny percentage can "cope" with long-term kenneling, while the majority have detrimental affects that can last their lifetime - which too often means that it's back to a shelter they go, only now, as a problem animal, the vaunted "no-kill" shelter may not even take them. Or as you said, if they do, they euthanize them anyway because now they don't count as adoptable. Is that better? That depends on your views on torture, I guess, especially when the problem was created by "no-kill" attitudes.

And of course, any mass holding facility is hugely susceptible to contagion, which can hit the entire population and cost a bundle in medical treatment. And that's with good standards of disinfection and isolation - take a guess on how many independent facilities keep up to speed with these. So you tell me: what happens when an airborne infection gets into a shelter, creating a cycle of contagion even as you're treating those infected? How do you propose to keep it from infecting the entire population, and remaining? What do you tell the people now bringing in their own unwanted animals?

The more that these problems are ignored, or made to seem like they could be solved if only the "right thinking" people were in charge, the farther we remain from fixing it all. Not one person I ever worked with wanted to euthanize animals, and we never would have hired anyone that did. We were very particular about how we made such decisions, every damn day. Priority was given, constantly, to retaining the adoptable, well-behaved, best-chances-for-long-term-happiness animals. Nor have I encountered any shelter, anywhere, where the staff was any different.

None of that matters when the number of unwanted animals remains where it is. It becomes much worse when people don't recognize that there's a problem, when the myth of a "no-kill" shelter hides it from them, not to mention garnering donations on, let's be blunt, false premises and very careful wording. The demarcation has been created, and of course no one is going to side with the "kill" shelter, are they?
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A good shelter, even no-kill ones, know that there are some animals that are too sick or that have too many behavioral problems to leave alive. The no-kill shelters I'm familiar with will not kill adoptable dogs just because they've been in the shelter for a set amount of time.

The best dog I ever had was in the pound for three months. If they didn't have a no-kill policy, he would have been put to sleep.

Responsible dog lovers know that the solution isn't to put more dogs in shelters, whether they have a no-kill policy or not. They know the real solution is to spay and neuter animals, adopt rather than buying and to do anything they can to help stop backyard breeders and puppy mills.

Yes, no-kill shelters and rescue groups aren't perfect, but they're a symptom of the problem in general, not a problem in themselves. If things were perfect, there wouldn't be a surplus of adoptable pets.
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"No kill animal shelters are wonderful,"

No, they're not. There are a huge number of problems with the concept, up to and including the serious behavioral and health problems that can occur with holding an animal for extended periods of time in a poor environment, not to mention the openly-promoted idea that "kill" shelters are doing it wrong. The gut distaste over killing an animal can, unfortunately, lead to numerous responses that are far more damaging because people think that the 'ultimate' response is to be avoided at all costs.

Five years! In what - kennels, with a fluctuating level of bonding and care? With how much activity? With what kind of food? Is such an animal even going to be able to be housebroken? Take a look at the studies of long-term kenneling on animals and tell me this is a good idea.

Here's the grim reality: there aren't enough homes for them all - even if everyone adopted a dozen animals, over and above what they have right now. This will not change until responsible pet ownership is a hell of a lot more prevalent throughout the population - that means no unwanted litters, that means no breeding programs for designer or fad animals, that means no concept of disposable animals because they didn't work out (or the owner hadn't the faintest idea how to care for them.) That's a big cultural change, and it's not going to happen overnight. And it's not going to happen as long as a large percentage of people can alleviate their guilt and their impatience with an animal by taking it to the "no-kill" shelter and everything's hunky-dory - nothing can possibly go wrong, sunshine and lollipops.

I did a study, about a decade ago, on no-kill shelters. Bottom line: they don't exist - not as any municipality whatsoever that could take in all of the stray and unwanted animals in their jurisdiction. Such so-called shelters can only survive by being very specific about which animals they accept, and a surprising number of them take their sick, problem, and chronically unadoptable animals to the nearest "kill" shelter, making them technically capable of saying, "We didn't do it!" One actually shipped its overflow numbers of animals over three-hundred miles to another shelter on Long Island, to take advantage of the greater population in that area (and the fact that that area also had its share of "kill" shelters.) As I said, this was a decade ago - maybe, some municipality, some county, has made this business plan work in the interim - but I can tell you directly, it's not a viable option for the majority of the country, if not most countries around the world.

[I was also responsible for animal cruelty investigations in this facet of my life, and investigated countless "foster" homes and a couple of hoarding situations, courtesy of "no-kill" thinking that led to animals living in utter filth, rampant disease, and developing irreconcilable behavioral problems because nobody was on their game enough to ensure that any standards were maintained. Was that better, somehow? I'm perfectly willing to tell you it was far worse.]

If you don't like euthanasia, fine, good, you're human - I'm not suggesting you change this. But there's the effort of finding solutions, and then there's the concept of thinking the problem will go away if ignored. Sometimes you have to let the thinking brain override the emotions.
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