Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Give A Dog A Bone

Corinne Dowling is the Founder, Director and Primary Dog Handler of Give a Dog a Bone, a non-profit program that serves the needs of dogs in long-term shelter care. Give a Dog a Bone was created in 1999 to relieve the isolation, boredom, stress, and suffering of dogs in enforced custody and medical isolation.

Whether you call them "custody" animals, long term shelter guests, or by any other name, Animal Control Agencies around this country face a real challenge when trying to care for these animals. It's an unfortunate fact that such prolonged confinement often causes severe stress, loss of appetite, poor hygiene, diminished motivation, depression, aggressiveness, and in some cases, self mutilation.

Many of these dogs have been rescued from neglectful and cruel situations, others are being held for "vicious & dangerous" dog hearings and some are there because their owners have been victims of eviction, in jail, or some other disaster in their lives where they can't take care of their animal(s) right now.

Our criminal justice system might be the envy of the world, but it's not unusual to hold an animal for up to a year until the courts decide disposition. Although seen as evidence, animals are not inanimate objects that can be put in a brown paper bag and left in a locker until their case has been adjudicated.

Whatever the outcome, the "Give a Dog a Bone" program goes beyond life saving. It affords every dog in this program "life enrichment activities", which include spending time with the animal, providing treats, attention, exercise and love - all the ingredients that these sentient living creatures need and deserve. For all too often, they themselves are the victims of irresponsible and uncaring owners.

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