The Animal Placement Bureau Blog

The Animal Placement Bureau is a volunteer foster care network with no paid staff and no sheltering facility. All of the dogs in our care live with our volunteers and become as much a part of their family as their own dogs. There is no time limit on our foster care system. When asked, "What happens if your dogs don't get adopted?" we are proud to be able to say, "They come back home with us until we find just the right home for them -- NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Have You Heard of Black Dog Syndrome?

According to Wikipedia, Black Dog Syndrome refers to the low adoption rate and high euthanization rate of black dogs (and cats!) in shelters. Black dogs are often the last to be adopted from an animal shelter.

The general public is likely not aware of how doomed black dogs are when they are brought to the average animal shelter. Black dogs, particularly large black dogs like Labradors or Lab mixes, have a very difficult time getting adopted, and are euthanized at a staggering rate at many animal control facilities throughout the country. The sad truth is, they are overlooked in favor of lighter colored dogs.

Some of the reasons given by would-be adopters are that it is more difficult to see and connect with a black dog in a poorly-lit kennel, that they don’t photograph as well - and thus are passed-over by Internet viewers, or that they are perceived as menacing. There are even those who believe black dogs will bring them bad luck.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the position that color has any bearing whatsoever on temperament, health, or overall quality of any dog, regardless of breed!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Tear Jerker, But Something Everyone Should Read!

My Name is Sam

By Chris Benton


After I was discharged from the Navy, Jim and I moved back to Detroit
to use our GI bill benefits to get some schooling. Jim was going for a
degree in Electronics and I, after much debating, decided to get mine
in Computer Science. One of the classes required was Speech. Like many
people I had no fondness for getting up in front of people for any
reason, let alone to be the center of attention as I stuttered my way
through some unfamiliar subject, but I couldn't get out of the
requirement, and so I found myself in my last semester before
graduation with Speech as one of my classes.

On the first day of class our professor explained to us that he was
going to leave the subject matter of our talks up to us, but he was
going to provide the motivations of the speeches. We would be
responsible for six speeches, each with a different motivation.
For instance our first speech's purpose was to inform. He advised us
to pick subjects that we were interested in and knowledgeable about. I
decided to center my six speeches around animals, especially dogs.

For my first speech to inform, I talked about the equestrian art of
dressage. For my speech to demonstrate, I brought my German Shepherd
"Bodger" to class and demonstrated obedience commands. Finally the
semester was almost over and I had but one more speech to give. This
speech was to take the place of a written final exam and was to count
for fifty percent of our grade. The speeches motivation was to
persuade.

After agonizing over a subject matter, and keeping with my animal
theme, I decided on the topic of spaying and neutering pets. My goal
was to try to persuade my classmates to neuter their pets. So I
started researching the topic. There was plenty of material, articles
that told of the millions of dogs and cats that were euthanized every
year, of supposedly beloved pets that were turned in to various animal
control facilities for the lamest of reason, or worse dropped off far
from home, bewildered and scared. Death was usually a blessing. The
final speech was looming closer, but I felt well prepared. My notes
were full of facts and statistics that I felt sure would motivate even
the most naive of pet owner to succumb to my plea.

A couple of days before our speeches were due, I had the bright idea
of going to the local branch of the Humane Society and borrowing a
puppy to use as a sort of a visual aid. I called the Humane Society
and explained what I wanted. They were very happy to accommodate me. I
made arrangements to pick up a puppy the day before my speech. The day
before my speech, I went to pick up the puppy. I was feeling very
confident. I could quote all the statistics and numbers without ever
looking at my notes. The puppy, I felt, would add the final emotional
touch.

When I arrived at the Humane Society I was met by a young guy, named
Ron. He explained that he was the public relations person for the
Humane Society. He was very excited about my speech and asked if I
would like a tour of the facilities before I picked up the puppy. I
enthusiastically agreed. We started out in the reception area,
which was the general public's initial encounter with the Humane
Society. The lobby was full, mostly with people dropping off various
animals that they no longer wanted.

Ron explained to me that this branch of the Humane society took in
about fifty animal a day and adopted out twenty. As we stood there I
heard snatches of conversation, "I can't keep him, he digs holes in my
garden," "They're such cute puppies, I know you will have no trouble
finding homes for them." "She is wild, I can't control her." I heard
one of Humane Society's volunteer explain to the lady with the litter
of puppies that the Society was filled with puppies and that these
puppies, being black, would immediately be put to sleep. Black
puppies, he explained, had little chance of being adopted. The woman
who brought the puppies in just shrugged, "I can't help it" she
whined, "they are getting too big, I don't have room for them."

We left the reception area and Ron led me into the staging area where
the incoming animals were evaluated for adaptability. Over half never
even made it to the adoption center. There were just too many. Not
only were people bringing in their own animals, but strays were also
dropped off. By law the humane society had to hold a stray for
three days. If the animal was not claimed by then it was euthanized,
since there was no background information on the animal. There were
already too many animals that had a known history eagerly provided by
their soon to be x owners.

As we went through the different areas, I felt more and more
depressed. No amount of statistics could take the place of seeing the
reality of what this throw away attitude did to the living, breathing
animal. It was overwhelming. Finally Ron stopped in front of a
closed door. "That's it." He said. "Except for this." I read the sign
on the door: Euthanization Area. "Do you want to see one?" he asked.
Before I could decline, he interjected, "You really should, you can't
tell the whole story unless you experience the end." I reluctantly
agreed. "Good," he said. "I already cleared it and Peggy is
expecting you." He knocked firmly on the door. A middle-aged woman in
a white lab coat opened it immediately. "Here's the girl I was telling
you about." Ron explained.

Peggy looked me over. "Well, I'll leave you here with Peggy and meet
you in the reception area in about fifteen minutes. I'll have the
puppy ready." With that Ron departed, leaving me standing in front of
the stern looking Peggy. Peggy motioned me in. As I walked into the
room, I gave an audible gasp. The room was small and Spartan. There
were a couple of cages on the wall and a cabinet with syringes and
vials of a clear liquid. In the middle of the room was an examining
table with a rubber mat on top. There were two doors other then the
one I had entered. Both were closed, one said to incinerator room, and
the other had no sign, but I could hear various animal noises coming
from behind the closed door. In the back of the room, near the
door that was marked incinerator, were the objects that caused my
distress. Two wheel barrels, filled with the bodies of dead kittens
and puppies.

I stared in horror. Nothing had prepared me for this, I felt my legs
grow weak and my breathing become rapid and shallow. I wanted to run
from that room, screaming. Peggy seemed not to notice my state of
shock. She started talking about the Euthanization process, but I
wasn't hearing her. I could not tear my gaze away from the wheel
barrels and those dozens of pathetic little bodies. Finally, Peggy
seemed to notice that I was not paying attention to her. "Are you
listening?" She asked irritably. "I'm only going to go through this
once." I tore my gaze from the back of the room and looked at her. I
opened my mouth to say something, but nothing would come out, so I
nodded. She told me that behind the unmarked door were the animals
that were scheduled for euthanasia that day. She picked up a chart
that was hanging from the wall. "One fifty-three is next." She said as
she looked at the chart. "I'll go get him."

She laid down the chart on the examining table and started for the
unmarked door. Before she got to the door she stopped and turned
around. "You aren't going to get hysterical are you?" she asked.
"Because that will only upset the animals." I shook my head. I had not
said a word since I walked into that room. I still felt unsure if I
would be able to without breaking down into tears. As Peggy opened the
unmarked door I peered into the room beyond. It was a small room, but
the walls were lined and stacked with cages. It looked like they were
all occupied. Peggy opened the door of one of the lower cages and
removed the occupant. From what I could see it looked like
a medium size dog. She attached a leash and ushered the dog into the
room in which I stood.

As Peggy brought the dog into the room I could see that the dog was no
more than a puppy maybe five or six months old. The pup looked to be a
cross between a Lab and a German Shepherd. He was mostly black, with a
small amount of tan above his eyes and on his feet. He was very
excited and bouncing up and down, trying to sniff everything in this
new environment. Peggy lifted the pup onto the table. She had a card
in her hand, which she laid on the table next to me. I read the card.
It said that number one fifty-three was a mixed Shepherd, 6 months
old, surrendered two days ago by a family. Reason of surrender was
given as jumps on children. At the bottom was a note that said Name:
Sam.

Peggy was quick and efficient, from lots of practice, I guessed. She
laid one fifty-three down on his side and tied a rubber tourniquet
around his front leg. She turned to fill the syringe from the vial of
clear liquid. All this time I was standing at the head of the table. I
could see the moment that one fifty-three went from a curious puppy to
a terrified puppy. He did not like being held down and he started to
struggle. It was then that I finally found my voice. I bent over the
struggling puppy and whispered "Sam, your name is Sam." At the sound
of his name Sam quit struggling. He wagged his tail tentatively and
his soft pink tongue darted out and licked my hand. And that is how he
spent his last moment. I watched his eyes fade from hopefulness to
nothingness. It was over very quickly.

I had never even seen Peggy give the lethal shot. The tears could not
be contained any longer. I kept my head down so as not to embarrass
myself in front of the stoic Peggy. My tears fell onto the still body
on the table. "Now you know." Peggy said softly. Then she turned away.
"Ron will be waiting for you." I left the room. Although it seem like
it had been hours, only fifteen minutes had gone by since Ron had left
me at the door. I made my way back to the reception area. True to his
word, Ron had the puppy already to go. After giving me some
instructions about what to feed the puppy, he handed the carrying cage
over to me and wished me good luck on my speech.

That night I went home and spent many hours playing with the orphan
puppy. I went to bed that night but I could not sleep. After a while I
got up and looked at my speech notes with their numbers and
statistics. Without second thought I tore them up and threw them away.
I went back to bed. Sometime during the night I finally fell asleep.
The next morning I arrived at my Speech class with Puppy Doe. When my
turn came to give my speech. I walked up to the front the class with
the puppy in my arms. I took a deep breath, and I told the class about
the life and death of Sam.

When I finished my speech I became aware that I was crying. I
apologized to the class and took my seat. After class the teacher
handed out a critique with our grades. I had got an "A." His comments
said "Very moving and persuasive." Two days later, on the last day of
class, one of my classmates came up to me. She was an older lady that
I had never spoken to in class. She stopped me on our way out of the
classroom. "I want you to know that I adopted the puppy you brought to
class." She said. "His name is Sam."

Cash For Critters!

We need your empty ink cartridges and old digital cell phones!! Drop them off at our Pet Parade site. Bring one, bring twenty, no amount is too big or too small, each empty ink cartridge or cell phone brings APB a monetary donation and is greatly appreciated!! You can help to save dogs from death row, pay for medical bills, food and emergency care by doing something you do anyway...recycling those empty ink cartridges!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

THE WEDDING OF THE YEAR!

Dog Wedding Shower

Sunday, April 30th, 2:00 pm at Absolute Gallery, 307 East Grand River

Cost is a donation of money or items to participating rescue groups/shelters

Join us for the dog wedding shower of the year!

Dog Wedding

Saturday, May 20th, 2:00 pm (rain date is May 21st)

$5.00 per person/dog

Join Zsa-Zsa Main and Big Boris Badinov as they enter the canine version of hold matrimony on the grounds of the Turner Dodge House. The "mother of the groom" is an APB foster mom and board member! (Lorna) An Ingham County Animal Control Officer will be officiating the ceremony. Tickets are $5 per person/dog and proceeds will go to the Turner Dodge House. Reception following the wedding on the grounds of Turner Dodge.

In lieu of wedding gifts donated to APB:

Frontline, dog shampoo, grooming combs or nail clippers, Kongs, leashes, CASH, used ink cartridges and cell phones
(for recycling), toys, crate blankets, Eukanuba dry dog food, treats!