This past weekend I had the honor of joining the Dallas chapter of Coupla Guys and Gals Give Back at the Garland Animal Shelter. When I shoot events I try to keep a distance from what I am photographing so I can stay objective. This particular event presented the challenge to do so; seeing the animals in cages and the shelter being understaffed. Because the shelter is low on staff it’s difficult for the employees to spend time with each animal. That is why it is so important for volunteers like Guys and Gals to spend their time playing with the animals and giving them a break from their cages. Observing the dogs and cats outside of their cages was a heartwarming experience I am not soon to forget. One cat was so happy to be held she did nothing but drool and purr on anyone who held her, and seeing the dogs have the chance to go on walks and run around outside was memorable.
The Garland Animal Shelter typically employs 3 to 4 officers in the field a day taking 20 calls per officer. They are limited to the number of calls they can take as they do not have enough employees to help the entire city of Garland. The shelter takes in all animals (except rodents) and releases 97% of the animals that are not intended to be domesticated back into the wild. In addition, the city of Garland has a feral cat program. This is where they trap, neuter, and release the cats in an effort to control the feral cat population in Garland. While I was there the shelter took in a number of animals. Much to my surprise, they said it was a “slow” day. Justin, one of their officers, has been working with the shelter for 7 years and prior to this job was a veterinary technician. It takes special people, like Justin, who have large hearts and care so much for animals to do a job like this.
Guys and Gals covered all expenses for anyone who adopts from the shelter or the pet drive, which took place at Petsmart. Even though there were several animals being dropped off, many were also adopted and placed in loving homes. Adopting from shelters should be more mainstream and it’s events like this which create awareness to make it more known. Only 15% of cats and dogs get adopted from shelters across the United States. To put this percentage into perspective, every year 3 million abandoned dogs are killed in shelters across the country, yet 2.11 million dogs are bought from puppy mills. So do the right thing and go to a shelter and help an animal find its furrever home. And like Bob Barker always said, “Don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets!”