The sad fact of rescue has long been that as soon as you open the doors there is a flood of homeless or unwanted dogs coming in. There is never a shortage of dogs to fix, find homes for or help in some way.
The beginning of the pandemic brought on a boom. A time where rescues were flooded with requests for dogs to adopt for companionship when we were all being locked away and it seemed like the only activity that we were allowed was to get out there and walk your dog.
Dogs, and especially puppies were all the rage. Despite not being able to socialize them or attend classes. Resulting in a wave of what is referred to as pandemic puppies. Shy, sometime maladaptive, often unruly. These poor dogs had a decreased chance of successfully remaining in a home where the people didn't rely on them as heavily as the puppies did the home.
Then everyone started going back to work. Rescues suddenly were flooded with these now 1 year old adolescents who were never properly trained or socialized landing back on their steps despite assurances that it would not be the case upon adoption. People were in a panic to get back and didn't have time to deal with the separation anxiety or even just the boredom of puppies that were ill prepared to deal with that eventuality.
Rescues everywhere dealt with the influx as best they could. This meant less dogs were being rescued from horrible situations. This meant dogs died while waiting to come into care. I doubt people who returned their puppy gave a second thought to that sadly, but I think they should. Because that is what it means when you do not carefully think through taking on the responsibility of another life. It has become far too easy to return or rehome dogs instead of following through on your obligation. That is not to say that there are not homes out there that do everything and anything within their power to make it work. There are, and sometimes, it just isn't possible or in either parties best interest.
Turn the page to 2022. What we see has been an incredibly horrific glimpse into how fragile our compassion and the luxury of principals has become. Not only are rescues contending with an influx of returned dogs, but a crashing economy, and a whole host of surrenders where families can no longer afford to feed or care for their dogs. We have long since decided to turn a blind eye to the impoverished in this country and that demographic is steeply on the rise. Many newly homeless or able to find pet friendly accommodations, or choosing between heat and food this winter, all throwing fuel onto the fire of homeless pets. Unless you are actively involved in the running of a rescue I don't think you can even fathom the critical level all of them are at in this country. Factor in that come the winter where it is essential to get dogs in from the cold or they will freeze to death and it has become absolutely soul crushing. I strongly suspect we are about to see a level of animal cruelty that has never before been experienced in Canada as people run out of options for surrendering their unwanted pets.
Now picture that at the same time that all this is happening, no donations are rolling in. NO one is adopting dogs. The hopelessness of this situation is becoming too much to bear for many. Compassion fatigue is at an all time high. Rescues and shelters and their staff are burning out quickly. While we have systems in place for impoverished or abused people, our governments refuse to do anything about passing laws making backyard breeding illegal and enforcement for animal cruelty viable. We have seen some movement on making importing dogs from other countries into rescue harder and that is something. Because whether you are for or against the importing of dogs, anyone with a modicum of intelligence has to understand that the time and place for such luxuries is not in the here and now.
This Holiday Season, if you have the ability to donate to your local reputable rescue please consider doing so. Your dollars will go much further in their hands than donations as most rescues have the ability to purchase at wholesale. If you do NOT have the ability to donate, consider that fostering a dog gives that dog and another a chance at life. Not only is it teaching your children the empathy and compassion to be the change, but you do so at no cost to you. If you can do neither, please consider donating your time to rescues for fundraising, care, or any other voluntary function you can think of to help these rescues out. Even sending messages of support to bone weary volunteers and sharing posts to help get dogs adopted. Everyone can do something. They need your help more than ever.