With April being National Animal Cruelty Awareness Month, choosing to adopt a pet is more relevant than ever. It’s no secret that millions of helpless animals are faced with cruelty and abandonment every day; and without human awareness this tragedy will never improve. Since animals do not have a voice to tell their stories, it’s up to the individuals that care for them to speak up on their behalf.
Samantha Miller is one anti-cruelty advocate who is always willing to speak for animals. As a volunteer at the Champaign County Humane Society, she sees a lot of abused animals come through the doors. However, she rescued her own dog, Delilah, from the side of the interstate. “I definitely consider abandoning an animal to be a form of abuse. Dogs need human companionship and depriving them of that is cruel. The least you could do is drop them off at a shelter where they stand a chance,” she said. Though she had only rescued from shelters before, Miller said that Delilah needed to be rescued just as much as any shelter dog and couldn’t bear to let her go.
Another place to rescue a pet that’s often overlooked with the popularity of animal shelters is the pound. Pounds differ from shelters in that they are government funded and operated and therefore typically have short holding times. The short holding times are one thing that led Sue Westemeier to adopt from a pound.
“Initially I did choose to adopt from the pound because of the short holding times the dogs have until being euthanized, but I ended up choosing the dog I did because his behavior showed signs that he’d been abused. I wanted to give him a better life,” Westemeier said.
Too often, animals live their lives not knowing how it feels to be loved and cared for. They only know what it’s like to be beaten, neglected, abandoned and alone. By no means can one person make a difference for all of the unfortunate animals in the world; but one person can make a difference some. Rescuing a pet is rewarding in so many ways, but one will never fully understand how rewarding it can be until they do it themselves.