This started out as a fun assignment but turned into something better. I first got this assignment right before going home for winter break in December. I couldn't really come up with anything great, until I remembered an article I had read in my hometown newspaper about over population of cats in the shelter near me.
I volunteered at the Monmouth County SPCA from when I was 12 to 18. I started out doing 'cat socializing'. I raised hundreds of dollars a year doing my 'Pet Caricatures' at the annual Pet Walk. I charged everyone 10-20 dollars for a drawing of their pet and I drew them right on the spot. All the money went straight to the SPCA. It was a great way for me to use my art to help animals, which is my ultimate goal in life.
Once I was older (I believe 16), me and my boyfriend at the time went to the shelter almost every day after school to walk the dogs. We were both so passionate about every dog in there, but none of them compared to our Monday. Monday was a beautiful Pit Bull mix that I know will be in my heart for the rest of my life. She was all white except for an orange-brown tan spot over one eye and ear and a spot of her butt and tail. She was some-what banished to the back of the shelter because she has been exhibiting some aggression to the other dogs. Joey (my boyfriend of that time) and I knew her better. We took her out almost 6 days a week and socialized her with our own dogs. She loved to play more than anything and would do anything for Joey- even attempt to follow him up a ladder on a playground once. We brought her to the beach, the park, our homes. We would have given anything to keep her but unfortunately our parents were too afraid of the breed. This story has a bitter-sweet end; she did get adopted- which we were afraid she'd be put down first. We are so happy she is alive and hopefully happy... but we did not get to meet her adopters, or say goodbye.
When we walked into the shelter to see that she was gone, the mixed emotions had traumatized us. We spent so many hours over the months with her. Me and Joey could not help but sit in our car and cry for hours. As sad as we were at our loss we were also so happy she no longer had to sleep in a cage at night. We drove away and never looked back.
However, there are so many unwanted animals out there that are so wonderful. They need their 'fur ever' home so badly. I want to raise awareness that just because you get an animal from a shelter doesn't mean you cannot train, rehabilitate, or help them to be the pet you want. There are often even puppies and pure breds in shelters. Everyone should consider using PetFinder.com before going to a breeder. There are plenty of purebreds out there that have been abandoned. A lot of people do not know about puppy mills, which is why they go to Pet Stores to get their puppies. Awareness must be spread because no person would knowingly adopt a dog from a puppy store if they knew the condition of those puppies' mothers.
Going back to my painting though- this is more about cats than dogs. My family and I have adopted or accidentally adopted in the case of Furby, all of our cats. They have all be such a huge part of my life and are/were healthy. If anyone is thinking of getting a kitty I beg you to go to your local shelter and pick a cat, just because they are bit older doesn't make them used- it makes them wise. (And there are often kittens at shelters as well).
Don't Shop, Adopt- they will be a family member, you wouldn't 'buy' a kid would you!? Haha.