Visit a shelter, find a loyal canine companion and make a dog’s day through adoption! If the timing isn’t quite right, all are welcome to stop by a shelter and volunteer. Just by taking a shelter dog for a walk or bringing them a new chew toy, you’ll make their day. New blankets or treats are always welcome, too. Check your local shelter’s website for a list of needs. Each shelter takes donations, and their requirements vary depending on the time of year.
And if you already have a dog, you can do things that are extra special for them - things like taking a long walk or car ride, getting them a special treat or toy or just spending extra time with them.
For us, we have Beau (the brown and white on the right) and Lou. Both are rescues from the Wisconsin Humane Society. Beau is an American English Coonhound Mix. He had been through two homes and numerous shelters in nine short months of life until he found his way to us. Lou is a Tennessee Walker Coonhound. He came in as a stray, thus we have no history on him. But judging from his initial behaviors and his fear of so many things, he obviously had a rough life before finding his way to us. As it is, it took him a long time to understand that this was his furever home and to trust us completely.
For our boys, we make sure that every day is National Makes A Dog's Day. We are always trying to make up all the bad they experienced before we rescued each other. Sadly, not all the coonhounds in Wisconsin are treated as well.
In Spring Green, Wisconsin, a couple of people have started a puppy mill, in which they will breed coonhounds with the sole purpose of selling them for research testing. This has caused an outrage on an international scale, with people around the world calling and emailing to express their anger and stating they will boycott the entire region as long as they are allowed them to operate this cruel business.
Fortunately, there are several dog advocacy groups and rescues taking actions as well, led by the wonderful group, Dane 4 Dogs. They have already successfully petitioned the government to have a referendum on whether this type of facility should be operating in their community.
I personally have been in contact with some state lawmakers about this as well. They were already working on a bill that would outlaw puppy mill dogs from being sold commercially and are now working on adding an amendment to include banning the selling the dogs for research.
If that wasn't bad enough, the State of Wisconsin also has a law on the books that sanctions the use of hounds in bear hunting. To train the hounds, the hunters allow the dogs to run freely through the countryside, to find the bait laid by the hunters. Unfortunately, bear country is also wolf country. The hounds often run into the wolves, leading to a fight in which the wolves and the hounds are both losers. In the past five years, scores of hounds, just like Beau and Lou, are literally thrown to the wolves.
James Rowen, one of the state's leading environmental bloggers, has been tracking this for the past five years. He continuously points out that the only ones who make out are the hunters, who get reimbursed $2,500 for every dog that is killed or maimed in these wolf-hound encounters. In the past five years, scores of these noble hounds have been killed. The hunters collect their checks and then just pick up more hounds, often from shelters down south, where they are both plentiful and very inexpensive.
These stories make me eternally grateful for Beau and Lou and that we saved them from this sort of fate. I am also eternally grateful for other hound lovers, like @Tegan_G, who shared the remarkable story of how she found an abandoned hound puppy on the side of a country road and rescued him. The puppy, who is cute as hell, became an instant internet celebrity known as Larry the Puppy.
I am also grateful for Tegan and Larry because they led us to Larry's baby brother, Bandit, whom my wife and I will be adopting in a few weeks, once he is old enough and has been cleared by the vet up there.
Sure, it will make our small house a little "cozier" and make our budget a little tighter, but our hearts have more than enough room for him already. And it sure beats what might have been in store for him otherwise.
Hopefully, as the Blue Wave continues to sweep the state and the nation, lawmakers will see the wisdom and compassion to fix these laws. After all, dogs are people
Cross posted from Cog Dis.