- Last Updated on 08:03 AM 12/18/13
- BY Karen Robertson
By Karen Robertson
Halifax County Humane Society President
“I’m looking in the window on a cold snowy night watching a family gathered around the fire as lights from the Christmas tree cast their holiday spell. The children are playing with a fat little puppy and over in the corner a contented cat lies fast asleep. But looking is all I can do. You see, I’m what the humans call an old stray dog. My ribs are showing, and I’m dirty. My paws are cut and bleeding, but I’ve no choice but to keep on walking. I don’t belong anywhere.
It wasn’t always this way. I once had a nice warm place to live and people who loved me. But one day my master took me for a ride and left me along the highway. I waited and waited because I’m sure he meant to come back, but he must have forgotten the way.
After a while I tried to find my way home, but everything here is so different. I saw a house that looked like mine, but when I scratched on the door I was greeted with kicks and curses. I tried some other houses, but it’s always the same, “Go away-we don’t want any dogs around here.”
I try to ask politely for food the way I was taught, but the humans put it in cans with lids so that I can’t get to it. I’ve learned that when no one is looking I can sometimes overturn the cans and get to the food inside. But this makes a mess, and the humans get very mad. Hands that are like the ones that used to pat my head and scratch behind my ears now throw stones at me.
It’s been several days now since I’ve had anything to eat, and as I stand here shivering in the snow, I know I won’t make it through another night. So I’ll take the chance that the humans inside won’t see me, and I’ll watch through the window for a while. I’ll remember what it was like when I had a warm home, good food, and most important of all-people who loved me.”
This is not a story with a happy ending. We would like to say that the dog was invited in and given a good home, but that rarely happens.
Unfortunately, stories like this are too often repeated. Too many people just abandon or dump out unwanted animals or litters. Not even trash should be left by the road, much less animals who are left to fend for themselves, facing starvation and injury from vehicles or other animals.
If you are not able to commit yourself to caring for an animal, please do not get one. If you find yourself unable to continue caring for an animal and are unable to find a good home for it, please turn it in to Animal Control. At least it would have a chance of being adopted, or it may be rescued by Halifax County Humane Society.
We removed 518 dogs and cats from Animal Control last year. We are an all-volunteer group. We have no paid staff or fancy building, and we receive no government funds. We work out of our homes with no thought of compensation, but we do have financial needs-needs that grow with each passing year.
Abandoned animals must be fed and cared for until a proper home can be found. We rely on donations and money made from many fundraisers, like bake sales, stews, product sales and our big annual yard sale.
Some supporters send donations in honor or memory of special people or animals in their lives. Our largest expenses are veterinary care, gas for our many transported animals, foster kennel needs and puppy and kitten food. We receive donations of adult food but seldom get bags of puppy or kitten chow.
For each cat we adopt (for $40) we average spending $95 for testing, distemper and rabies shots, worming, flea and tick control and spaying or neutering.
For each dog we adopt (for $75) we average spending $145 for testing, DHLPP and rabies shots, bordatella, fecal/worming, flea and tick control and spaying or neutering. Many times other medical expenses add more costs.
A dog with heartworms will add an average of $250. (If someone gets a “free” cat or dog, please be sure to provide basic veterinary needs and preventative care, and of most importance, please spay or neuter your pet.)
The help of caring citizens is vital for us to continue and hopefully expand our services. If you have concern in your heart for the county’s unwanted creatures, please turn your concern into commitment by making a donation.
We appreciate donations of any size, whether monthly, yearly or just whenever you are able. Please take the time out now to consider how you can help us and drop us a line or send a check to Halifax County Humane Society at P.O. Box 969, South Boston, VA 24592. All donations are tax deductible.