When I first started getting involved in rescue years ago, I knew there were many dogs and other animals in need, but I had no idea just how many and why.

According to the ASPCA, 3.9 million dogs enter the shelter system annually, 1.2 million never leaving.

The heartbreaking thing about this, aside from the obvious, is that “shelter” or “rescue” dogs have developed a certain stigma. That they must have some sort of “problem”, and to adopt this kind of dog would be a “risk”.

I’ve come to find that many wonderful, incredibly awesome dogs end up in shelters for the following main reasons. Much of which have absolutely nothing to do with the dog:

– housing restrictions,
– people not having enough time for them,
– divorce,
– death of their human,
– behavioral issues,
– the dog being “too old”,
– the dog having health or medical issues,
– financial challenges,
– new baby,
– stray,
– unwanted, and
– humans are moving.

A dog’s quality of life is entirely dependent upon the choices and decisions we make. Every single claim above is on us, whether it be our lack of understanding, accountability, responsibility, compassion, follow through, commitment….

When it comes to behavior, we influence and condition, both knowingly and unknowingly. It behooves us all to learn how to meet dogs’ needs as canines so they can stop paying the price for our lack of understanding.

Everyone deserves a second chance.

What we see is all a matter of interpretation. Dogs are in constant communication with us, but much of what they’re trying to say gets misread, misinterpreted, misunderstood or missed all together.

What Dog is begging us to do is see beyond the facade. First impressions are often just a big mask. Choose to see what the real story is: Insecurity? Fear? Mistrust? Too much pent up energy with no outlet or release? Stress and anxiety?

Dogs’ ability to both reach and maintain a level, balanced state of mind so they can practice polite, respectful behavior and make good decisions on their own is totally reliant upon our efforts of providing for and meeting their needs.
Behavior always has a driver. A clock tells time, and what we see is our interpretation of time; but there are a number of things going on underneath making it tick.

Everyone deserves a second chance. Seek to understand, not assume or judge. Dogs are suffering all over, and paying the ultimate price for how we’re choosing to show up, if at all.