Dear Editor: Concerning the May 2 letter to the editor from Ms. Karen Key of Covington, it is a difficult thing for people to read this type of reality, but Ms. Key is right in pointing out the numbers of animals that are euthanized every week. The animal control officers have a very difficult and stressful job. They face neglect, cruelty and irresponsibility by pet owners on a daily basis. They speak to people everyday who wish to give up their pets for reasons that some of us can't even imagine. I respect the job that they do and can empathize with their plight in making difficult decisions everyday.
I have done animal rescue for 10 years. I have rescued, recovered, fostered and placed into loving homes well over 400 animals.
May 4 to May 10 is "National Pet Week," and Ms. Key's letter was timely. I visit Animal Control facilities on a weekly basis. I see overcrowded facilities with little to no budgetary means to warehouse the pets of people who for some circumstance or another have had to relinquish their animals. I have seen freezers piled high with animals that have been humanely euthanized and I have seen the remains of those cremated. But the hardest part for me is walking through the facility to decide which dogs to pull for rescue.
Because of our rescue's own budgetary constraint, we have to pull dogs that we feel sure are highly adoptable, friendly and outgoing. A lot of dogs are left behind. No animal can be at his best while under the stressful situation of being housed in a facility; to most it is a loud and anxious way to live and it doesn't show what might be their true personality. Some pets jump and bark as you walk by, some are curled up scared in the back part of the kennel and some don't react at all because of depression.
Spaying and neutering your pet is one of the best ways to eliminate the problems. There are low cost and no-cost programs available to everyone.
Georgia Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc. is a dedicated group of community volunteers who go into local shelters and pull dogs for adoption. We spay/neuter, run tests, examine, give vaccinations, apply preventatives and do some obedience training to every dog that we bring into our program. That dog is then placed for adoption on our internet site, applications are accepted based on realistic matches and partnerships are formed. Upon the meeting, if both pet and person feel they are a good match, an adoption is done. There is nothing more rewarding than placing a pet with a family that is prepared and excited about the arrival of a new member. Information about training, preventatives and medical benefits are discussed with every family. Also, it is GRR's policy to welcome the dog back into our program at any time and under any circumstances if the partnership does not work out or the family can no longer keep their pet.
GRR Inc. also has a Therapy Dog program. We have two rescue dogs working in Newton County Schools to teach and encourage kindness, respect, proper care and value of animals to students. Sugar, a 4-year-old white Labrador Retriever, was rescued from animal control last year and has successfully completed her Canine Good Citizen Award with the American Kennel Club. She is currently a working member of Therapy Dog International Inc. after passing a rigorous test and is now a certified and insured Therapy Dog. Remember, she was a "throw away " found at a local animal control facility and is now bringing joy and education to children in our schools regular and special needs classes. Georgia Rescue and Rehab Inc. will continue this program by placing rescued dogs that are temperamentally suitable and show high training potential into homes that will use them for work in this area. As a rescuer, I believe that educating our children is the key to lessen both cruelty and neglect in the home. Sugar is currently enrolled in a reading partner program. She will begin reading with children next year. Students having problems reading find it easier to read aloud to a dog that is listening and helping to turn the pages of their book. So we look forward to fostering a love of reading in children next year.
GRR Inc. offers a Web link off our main site for families in need of placing their pets on our courtesy listing page. Your pet must be fully vetted and up to date on all vaccinations. Your pet will have its own Web page with pictures and a personality profile to promote a quick adoption. We feel like in this time of financial difficulty that this is an area that needs to be addressed.
Please consider this week, the time to honor animals everywhere, by spaying or neutering your pet, volunteering at your local animal shelter or rescue group (we can always use help), or making a donation in honor or memory of your own beloved pet. Just a $75 donation will sponsor one dog's medical needs to prepare it for an adoption and a healthy, happy life. With this tax deductible donation you will receive a certificate of sponsorship and a picture of the dog you have given a new life. Food, storage buildings, dog houses, dog pens, beds, collars, leashes, crates, toys, flea and tick preventatives, hay and shavings are always a welcome tax deductible donation.
For more information visit our Web site at www.GARescueANDRehab.com or e-mail us at GARescueRehab@yahoo.com for questions concerning one of the dogs listed on our Web site or if you are interested in getting matched with a new pet partner please call 706-342-4026.