I suspected something was up when it was "spa time” for me and my big sis, Lola. Seems we always get a bath and pawdicure a couple of days before we go to meet new human friends . . .
It was very, very early in the morning. Dee slipped freshly pressed bandanas around our necks and whispered as she tied them, “You’re both going to earn your kibble today.” “Oh right,” I remembered, “we had baths on Sunday.” After a short car ride, Dee opened the door and I sniffed all the exciting animal smells around the Hunterdon County Polytech Animal Technologies building. “I remember this place!” I howled as I pulled Dee and Lola inside the door to the classroom. Within moments students gathered around us, making those soothing “awwww” sounds and scratching me behind the ears. This is one of my favorite parts of being a Spokespup for harnesslife.org.
These two workshops were especially important to me. Not only were we exploring issues of overcrowded animal shelters in New Jersey, Dee was sprinkling in specific information about dogs like me - bully breeds who had been left without a good home. We were 'celebrating' National Pitbull Awareness Day, after all.
Both the morning and afternoon groups considered recent animal shelter statistics from various viewpoints. First they took a look at the U.S. numbers, then analyzed NJ-only numbers. It's unfathomable that on average, 60 cats and dogs die in New Jersey shelters every day! Where do all these animals come from? Dee pointed to more than half a dozen sources and reasons that land companion animals in the sheltering system.
After compiling a list of possible solutions, the students further explored the most popular choice, Animal Rescue. They worked through the toughest - but the most realistic - task by choosing to save 10 dogs out of a group of 16 (knowing that the remaining six most likely wouldn't make it out of the shelter alive.) There were no right or wrong choices in this "Rescue Role Play" - just difficult ones.
The students looked again at the possible solutions and classified each approach as either a prevention or a reaction. Lola and I encouraged everyone to keep working on both types of approaches; we must work together to #StopRoverpopulation!
Here are links to the three videos that were part of these workshops:
Opening Video - Choices
Ending Video - Choose Me
Please enjoy the photos, too. Many thanks to Madeline Sunga for supporting us and taking great pics and video!