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Ragsby's Story

Eric Walker

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month, and Ragsby's story is a perfect illustration of the great dogs who just need the opportunity to show somebody what great pets and companions they can become, if only they are given the chance.  

If you're looking for a canine companion, visit your local shelter or rescue group.  You won't change the world by adopting a pet but you will change the world for your new furry friend - and you just might find your world is better, too.


A couple of years ago, a little dog named Ragsby sat in a cage at an animal shelter. She was scheduled to be euthanized on Friday, but somehow the shelter workers overlooked her, so she waited in her cage all weekend. On Monday, a volunteer with Crossing Paths Animal Rescue spotted her and saved her life by getting her out of the shelter. Ragsby was placed in a foster kennel and her picture was supposed to be posted on the Pet Finders website. Because of some technical glitch, the photo was never uploaded.

Time passed, and the rescue group wondered why no one had inquired about such a cute dog. When they checked, they realized what happened and posted Ragsby’s picture. Almost immediately, a friend of mine, looking for a rescue dog, saw her photo and called. Within hours, little Ragsby had a new forever home and my friend had a companion that won his heart and changed his life.

Every year in this country, animal shelters receive more than seven and a half million pets. Of those, almost four million are dogs. One-fourth are returned to their owners. The rest? About half of them are adopted and the other half are euthanized.

That’s a lot of dogs that never make it out of animal shelters alive. The problem? There are too many of them and not enough homes. At least that’s the case around this part of the country. But in the Northeast where it’s easier to find low-cost spay and neuter services, and leash laws are enforced, euthanasia of unwanted pets is greatly reduced, and adoption rates are much higher. Some pet rescue groups have set up transport networks to move a small percentage of animals up to the Northeast where shelters are glad to have desirable dogs to adopt out.

For my friend, he knows just how close his precious little Ragsby came to being a sad statistic. His message (and I quote): “Please adopt a rescue. Shelters are filled to capacity and you will not only save their lives, they will change yours in ways you cannot imagine.” October is Adopt a Dog Month, the perfect time to remember: don’t shop – adopt, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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