Our winter shelter tour leaves on January 29. This will be a (relatively) short one, just five or six days. We’re still nailing down our stops, but it looks like we’ll visit shelters and rescues in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
We’ve got more places we’d like to go than we have time to visit. That’s because every shelter and rescue we know is struggling. We’ve seen this coming since we resumed shelter visits in 2021, but finally the national media is starting to pay attention. For the first time in more than a decade, the euthanasia numbers went up in 2022, and based on the visits we’ve made this past year, that number will jump again in 2023.
There are a lot of reasons for that: economy, housing shortage (especially pet-friendly housing), breed-specific legislation and restrictions (in housing and insurance), pandemic puppy boom, veterinary shortage, rescue burnout/overload, and the slowing of adoptions. I wrote about it on Medium.
There are more reasons, but those are the biggies.
What can we do? What can anybody do?
Honestly, I’ve got a million ideas, but I don’t have ‘the’ solution. All I know is if we continue to lament the deaths and turn a deaf ear to the overwhelm because it’s, well, overwhelming, things will only get worse.
There have been enough news articles now. The word is out. Now we have to do something about it, not just talk about it. Not just share statistics. Not just express outrage or heartbreak.
For me, that means writing about it. Sharing the stories, and along with those stories, concrete ways that people can help.
When Nancy and I show up at a shelter, we bring donations of supplies, treats, toys, food, dewormers, flea/tick treatments, and more, but what we mostly bring is hope. Our sheer presence says, “You are not forgotten. We care. We want to tell your story. We are SO grateful for the work you do. And we are here to help in any way we can.”
Sometimes, I think the fact that we show up is more important than the supplies, awareness raising, and small grants we give. I always look for new ideas and share the ones I know. We continue to compile those ideas in our ever-growing online Resource Guide on our website.
Because here is one thing I do know: We have to find new ways to save dogs. If the old ways worked, we would have solved this crisis by now.
I hope you’ll check out our Resource Guide. I hope you’ll also continue to look for (and share) solutions. I also hope, you’ll follow along with us on this next tour to meet the incredible heroes who are out there working on the front lines of shelter and rescue. The miracles they are working and the many challenges they face.
During the tour, we’ll share posts on social media that always include ways you can help. One way you can help is by sharing the stories we post. We believe that raising awareness is the key to bringing change. You can follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Tik tok, and share/comment/act on what you see. And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, which will share the stories of all our visits in greater detail after we return. (you can share this post with others right now)
One powerful way to help us bring change: If you know people or organizations in the cities and counties of the shelters we visit, be sure to tag them and/or share our posts about the shelter in their community. We can bring supplies and ideas, but the only people who can bring real change is the community the shelter serves and the taxpayers who fund the shelter. (Next week I’ll post our shelter tour itinerary, so you’ll have a heads up.)
If you’d like to donate supplies to the shelters, shop our Amazon wishlist or send a donation. No one at WWLDO gets a salary, so every penny donated goes directly to help raise awareness and resources for shelters and rescues. We try to fill our the WWLDO mobile to the rooftop with valuable supplies to hand out. As always, Max & Neo, a company whose mission advocates for shelter dogs, sent us hundreds of collars, toys, leashes, and other supplies to deliver to the shelters we visit.
When we travel to the shelters, you can come with us showering the shelters we visit with support, hope, and the belief that together we CAN let the dogs out.
Until each one has a home,
If you want to learn more, be sure to subscribe to this blog. And help us spread the word by sharing this post with others. Visit our website to learn more.
To see our Emmy-nominated, award-winning short documentary, Amber’s Halfway Home, click here.
Learn more about what is happening in our southern shelters and rescues in the book, One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues (Pegasus Books, 2020). It’s the story of a challenging foster dog who inspired me to travel south to find out where all the dogs were coming from. It tells the story of how Who Will Let the Dogs Out began. Find it anywhere books are sold. A portion of the proceeds of every book sold go to help unwanted animals in the south.
And for links to everything WWLDO check out our Linktree.