Carol Reese: Tunnel puppies point to need for spaying
The Jackson Sun Published 8:28 a.m. CT Dec. 22, 2016
Some people can drive past a homeless dog with nary a pang. Certain members of my family wish that described me, concerned that I take on too many animals in need. They are right. I do. Fiercely, I explain it this way. Though I know a human life is far more highly valued than an animal’s life, the need of that animal inspires the immediate reaction that I would have for a wailing child. Could you drive past an abandoned baby on the side of the road?
Luckily, I am not alone, evidenced by the many folks involved with responsibly run rescue groups of West Tennessee. It is also true that all of them are overwhelmed with the numbers of animals that need a place to go. What do they all want for Christmas? Certainly not a call about a litter of dumped puppies just as the family is getting in the car to go to Grandma’s house! Their fondest dream is that there are no more unwanted and abandoned companion animals.
It is hard not to be angry when it is discovered that the litter came from a nearby home with an unspayed female, and this is not the first litter. It is hard not to be angry when the person who answers that door tells you they can’t afford the cost of a spay as they take another drag on a cigarette or another sip of beer or fast food soft drink.
Other times you feel a surge of love for the kindly white-haired lady who, despite a limited income, fed the hungry pregnant dog dumped on her road. Or in a recent case, for the tenderhearted mail route carrier who called with heartfelt concern about more small pups at the tunnels where she helped engineer a rescue last year.
This was more complicated. Other dumped dogs had found this a good place to bear young and, once the dust settled, it appeared there were three litters in all. A few small pups were easily grabbed, and a few older pups, befriended by a lady across the road, were rounded up. The ease in grabbing one confused pup was later explained by the discovery that he was mostly blind and completely deaf. The amazing Sarah Kidd with Carroll County Humane Society found fosters for him, the little pups, the bigger pups and one mama dog! Karen Byers of West TN Spay Neuter Coalition boldly knocked on doors and arranged with those willing to keep fixed dogs how they could get that done economically.
These people rock, and you can help. Fix your animals, and if you can, support the groups that assist with fixing those pets with owners who can’t or won’t afford it. Please go to the Facebook page of West TN Spay Neuter Coalition or westtnspayneuter.org for details, and a master plan to put this problem to rest.
Carol Reese is an ornamental horticulture specialist for the Western District of the University of Tennessee Extension Service.