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Mother's Day in the Pet World

Mama dog with five puppies - that may mean five homes - if they are lucky!
corrieb (Corrie Barklimore)
Mama dog with five puppies - that may mean five homes - if they are lucky!

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate those who gave us life, cared for us and helped us find our way in the world.  In the pet world, motherhood is a very different story.

     When a dog or cat gives birth, usually there is a litter of three or more baby animals.  That’s nature’s way of insuring survival because – in nature – not all might be expected to survive.  When we humans took them in and made them pets, they still give birth to multiple babies.  That’s part of the problem of pet overpopulation – so many babies born to animals that have not been spayed.

     Our area of the country has a serious pet overpopulation problem – too many pets and not enough homes.  During the pandemic when people stayed home, they adopted four-footed buddies to enjoy the companionship of their new furry friends.  Unfortunately, when the pandemic lockdown ended and folks went back to work and school, many surrendered their new pets back to the shelters, and many of the animals who found homes had to be euthanized just because there were so many of them and not enough space in the shelters.

     Recently in Tuscaloosa, there was a crisis at Metro Animal Shelter.  So many dogs were brought in that the cages were full.  That meant when one more animal came in, a decision had to be made – because there just was not enough space for all.  The shelter director said she and her staff will work with any owner, whatever the problem, to try to resolve it and avoid the need for surrender and euthanasia.

     So on this Mother’s Day, one way you can help is to talk to your local animal shelter about fostering dogs or cats for a short time until there is space available, to give them a chance for adoption.  And have your own pet spayed or neutered.  Fewer puppies and kitties born means fewer animals dying for lack of homes.  Your willingness to make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered could be a real  life saver, when you’re speaking of pets.

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