Al Ritch found the senior dog Oolu lost and abandoned in a busy shipping port in Los Angeles. He gave her the name Oolu because it is short for the container where he saw her first.
He tried to win the dog's trust by feeding and making sure she's safe in a confined space so that she would no longer wander off until rescuers have taken her in. The dog has been distrustful of humans because of what she went through.
Ritch got the help of Loreta Frankonyte and Eldad Hagar from Hope for Paws in making sure that Oolu goes to a shelter. But before they could do this, Loreta and Eldad also had to win over Oolu. They took time by sitting with the dog to allow her to get to know the humans so that she won't be traumatized further.
When Oolu decided she could trust the humans, Loreta placed a leash on her neck and led her to the car to bring her to the shelter vet. The homeless dog met more humans she could trust as they bathed and treated her skin infections.
Not long after, Oolu was placed in a forever home that would love like family. She's no longer the scared and distrustful dog and she can look forward to her golden years happily among people who love her.
But while Oolu was fortunate, millions of dogs remain without a forever home. Because it's important to raise awareness of homeless dogs and rescue organizations, here are 15 unique facts about pet homelessness some of which you probably didn't know.
15 Facts About Pet Homelessness
1. The statistics on pet homelessness is truly astounding
For every 10 dogs born, only one will be able to have a forever home. This is a concerning problem since there are at least 70 million stray animals in America alone and only less than eight million find their way into shelters, as per the Humane Society.
About 20 percent of these shelter animals are reclaimed or returned to their owners, while less than four million are adopted. The rest end up being euthanized to make space inside shelters for incoming strays.
2. Euthanasia in pet shelters prove the horrifying numbers of their actual plight
This is a necessary inconvenience. Apparently, about 5,500 shelter dogs are killed every single day and most of them are generally healthy animals with treatable conditions. The high number prompted artist Mark Barone to create “An Act of a Dog,” a memorial museum that should help raise awareness about pet homelessness.
3. Overpopulation is a real problem in shelters
One other reason that contributes to the overpopulation in shelters is due to the fact that these agencies cannot afford to spay or neuter all pets. The truth is that shelter operators receive only 10 percent of animals that have been spayed or neutered by their former owners. Hence, dogs accidentally mate in the shelters, thus adding to overpopulation. It's also adding to the animals killed every year.
4. Most homeless dogs have no proper identification
Unfortunately, most dogs that end up in a shelter cannot be turned over to their owners because they don't have collared tags or microchip. Some dogs, on the other hand, don't have an updated detail of their owners in their identification.
At least 74.1 percent of lost dogs with good identification can be reunited with their owners. Responsible pet owners should have their pets tagged or microchipped at the vet. They must also update their details if they move to a new home or obtain a new number.
5. It's taxpayers who pay for the operation of city shelters
The operation, upkeep, and care of stray animals cost taxpayers at least two billion a year. It's a huge waste of money. If only pet owners would become more responsible in taking care of their dogs and other pets.
6. Rescue groups have risen in numbers in the last decade
There are at least 10,00 rescue groups and animal shelter organizations as well as related types of animal sanctuaries in America alone (we've mentioned some of them before). This is on top of the thousands of local city shelters and rescues.
7. Shelters don't house just cats and dogs alone
Though the most common animals in shelters are dogs and cats, some rescue agencies also take in birds, goats, guinea pigs, horses, snakes, and rabbits. This further contributes to the overpopulation and other problems in shelter sites.
8. Pit Bulls have higher euthanasia rate in shelters than any other breed
Reports reveal that 93 percent of pit bulls in shelters aren't being given a chance to be adopted. Instead, they are killed off first compared to other breeds because of its reputation as a violent animal. The well known stereotype is still strong, even though it has been debunked many times before.
9. Animals with black fur have fewer chances of being adopted
Interestingly, black dogs or black cats are often overlooked in adoptions and they have the lowest rates of getting new forever homes after being abandoned. According to reports from PETA, it might be due to superstitions as people equate black animals with bad luck or something “evil.”
10. Pure breeds end up in shelters because their owners surrender them
In most cases, purebred dogs aren't the type who roams the streets. Their owners, who might have no idea about their breed’s personality type before acquiring them, usually give them up. Hence, it's important for owners to study or research on the breed first before bringing home a dog.
11. It doesn't take a lot of money to adopt a pet from a shelter
At least 65 percent of owners pay nothing to adopt a rescue dog. If they have to shell out money, it's likely due to the dog's medical needs or an adoption fee. Even then, the amount is usually minimal and won't cause a dent in your bank account. Meanwhile, you’ll likely pay for more if you get a dog from a breeder.
12. You're adopting a unique dog
In most cases, shelter animals are crossbreeds than pure breeds (25 percent only). Crossbreeds look especially unique and develop well-defined characteristics that. Other than bragging about rescuing a dog instead of buying one from a puppy mill, you also get the right to brag about you having a unique pooch, which is a plus in my book.
13. Most animal shelter rescues aren't in bad medical shape
The most common health problem of shelter dogs is malnutrition due to being in the streets for weeks or months. Skin irritation is also a problem but most animals generally have a treatable condition and hardly have any major medical problems. Staff at animal shelters and all rescue organizations take great care of abandoned dogs and by the time you adopt one, they'll be in a healthy condition.
14. Many of these shelter dogs have been housebroken
A lot of dogs up for adoption at shelters have been trained or housebroken hence it’s easier to raise them in your home. You won't need to spend as much money on trainers or scratched furniture. Senior dogs are especially well-behaved and mild-mannered. They’re the perfect home companions.
You're giving animals a second chance in life by adopting them into your family. You're giving them a chance to live a happy and dignified life as pets.
There's a number of reasons to adopt a dog instead of buy one from a pet store. Having a rescue dog can enrich your life in many ways. If you’re interested in adopting one, contact your local shelter or a rescue group for more details on how to get started.