Helping out our pound puppies

Published 6:56 pm Friday, April 6, 2012

My first dog was a short, stubby, orangish thing named Journey. While I do enjoy the epic anthems of Steve Perry and company, I didn’t name him. Journey was the name on the cage door when I picked him out at the humane society in Montgomery.

There were plenty of dogs there that day. Most were barking and making plenty of racket. Not Journey. He laid quiet in his cage. It was a no-brainer.

I only had him for about a year, but he was tremendous. I loved that dog. He had about nine different kinds of mutt in him, but he was full-blooded lovable.

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I got Charley in Sept. 2010 from a friend who was moving and could not keep him. Charley was also a shelter dog. He’s a big dog with the personality of a puppy. He has the markings of an English Bulldog and a long, lean body. I love him something fierce.

When I met my wife, she had a dog named Bella, who is now part of our two-dog family. Bella was a shelter dog down in Florida. She, too, is a mutt. There is some Welsh Corgi and something else there.

My wife’s sister got her dog, Charlie, from a shelter. And I’ve scarcely heard anyone who is more pleased with their dog than Faith is with Charlie.

We live in a frequently cruel, often shallow society that values “new” and “pure” far higher on the priority list than it should. Far too often, people go out looking to get a dog and immediately opt to pay hundreds of dollars for a “pure bred” dog or look for a puppy. And, while those things are not wrong in and of themselves, they do come at the expense of countless other perfectly loving and lovable animals who are in dire need of a home.

In Demopolis, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 dogs that are waiting for someone to give them a home.

The occupancy at the Bigbee Humane Society is at an all-time high. Call it the economy. Call it negligence. Call it whatever you like. The fact is, people are letting their animals run free and not claiming them from the pound after they are picked up. Many pet owners are not getting their dogs fixed. And the population has skyrocketed.

Whatever the causes, the fact remains that there are dozens of animals at the humane society here in the city who badly need a home. Moreover, there is a very small group of people running the humane society who are overwhelmed with caring for the animals and finding the funding to continue to do so.

So, there is a rough look at the problem. Now, what can you do to help? Here are just a few suggestions.

Adopt. Rather than going out to pay hundreds of dollars for a dog, you can find one with a lot of love right here in town for $125 that includes the cost of having the animal fixed and getting all of its shots. It is ludicrous to think that 90 percent of the adoptions from Bigbee Humane come from out of state. There are plenty of families in Demopolis that could provide great homes to previously unwanted pups.

Donate. Bigbee continues to pay its vet bills each month thanks to the funds it raises from its thrift store. You can help the cause by donating your unwanted items to the thrift store or by purchasing other gently loved items from the location on Strawberry Street. Or, if you’re feeling generous, you can donate money directly to the society.

Volunteer. The society went from seven board members to three in virtually no time. Bigbee Humane is currently being operated by a very small and very exhausted group of dedicated ladies who could use some assistance in a variety of ways.

Stop by. You can read stories and columns and hear people talk about it. But, until you see the overwhelming number of dogs kenneled at the humane society, you can scarcely fathom how badly your help is needed.

Whatever you do, please, find some way to get involved.

Jeremy Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.