Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Milena is headed to Maine!

When it comes to North v. South, the South is the winner in a lot of ways. We definitely have the better weather. Less than a foot of snow once a decade, sunny Summers, colorful Falls, you can't beat it. It's a place I'm proud and happy to call home.

When it comes to animal welfare, though, the North is way ahead. More dogs live inside as part of the family and very few are chained to a tree in the backyard. Stray dogs running loose are rare, unlike in the South where they are as common as Kudzu. More people understand the importance of spay/neuter and not allowing their animals to breed freely, irresponsibly producing even more pets with no homes. This results in something unheard of here in the South - animal shelters with empty cages where pets are adopted almost as soon as they come in.

In the South, animal shelters (aka "kill shelters") kill healthy animals weekly because they are so overrun with unwanted animals, they can't possibly contain them all. Many rural shelters have no adoption programs whatsoever, resulting in a 100% kill rate. A 55% kill rate is considered "low"! No-kill rescues are always full, and some of the animals wait years to be adopted. Meanwhile, rescues up North have lists of people just waiting for an animal to adopt!

Saving animals is one thing the North and South can agree on, so the solution is Transports. Transports run constantly to move animals from the South to the North where they have a much better chance at getting adopted into a loving family. There are professional transports that charge a fee for moving dogs. Then there are non-profit organizations who transport the animals for free and rely on donations to cover the travel costs, such as Pilots and Paws (pilots volunteer to fly animals) and Operation Roger (truckers volunteer to haul animals). Sometimes, people recruit volunteers to drive animals part-way where they will meet up with another volunteer to take the next leg of the trip, and so on relay style until the pet reaches their destination. This last type requires lots of legwork to pull off!

CARE has transported dogs up North many times in order to give them a better shot at adoption. Today, Milena hopped on her freedom ride to Maine! Milena is a Great Pyrenees (or maybe a Kuvasz) who was picked up as a stray by animal control. Nobody came to claim her, so we busted her out. She's not a popular breed in the South and could wait months, if not years, to be adopted here. In Maine, she'll be adopted in weeks. Not to mention that her breed (whether GP or Kuvasz) is much better suited for the Maine climate than the SC one!

Good luck and best wishes, Milena, in your new life as a Yankee.

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