Abandoned, neglected, abused, starved, scared, confused, barely surviving. Curled up on some dirty ground in a smelly alley crawling with bugs, or sniffing through rotten dumpsters in hopes of coming across just a morsel of food thrown out. Ribs pressed against their matted fur; trembling with weakness. Nothing but an empty shell of the animal it used to be.
This is the destroying reality of the some 50,000 homeless dogs roaming the streets of the city of Detroit alone. These animals are often labeled as “mean” or “dangerous”, though in actuality they are simply scared and want another chance at a home. Having no positive human contact in any time ranging from a few months to years, and possibly their entire lives, what else could be expected of their actions other than a defensive snap or snarl?
Often times, fear is what causes these dogs to act out like this. If proper help and attention is given to them, the fear that engulfed them can usually be worn away to reveal the golden heart and their soul desire to bring joy and assistance to their future owners. If dogs usually had a mean and destructive demeanor, people would not rely on them to provide them with so many services. These services range from therapy, seeing-eye dogs, guard dogs, police and rescue dogs, and infinite more that require a kind soul. Dogs have also been used to help encourage children learn how to read, tour and bring joy to hospital patients, and reduce anxiety.
Sometimes, there is perhaps a veteran returning from war or an autistic child that needs a dog for therapeutic reasons, but they can’t afford one. Since playing with and petting dogs has been proven to relieve stress, they can have a very positive effect and help calm veterans with PTSD or help children calm down. If a program were to go into effect that rescues stray dogs off the streets and rehabilitate them to become some type of service animal, it would solve two issues. Given that monetary issues in families is occasionally what restricts them from having a service dog, this would not only be an adoption opportunity, but a center for those in need to come and have therapy sessions with a dog for free or a small, affordable fee. Workers would primarily be volunteers, with exception of the professionals necessary to successfully rehabilitate the dogs. This program could solve the pressing issues of stray, helpless dogs on the streets of cities as well as providing service dogs to those in need.
I greatly appreciate your time and concern for this urgent yet overlooked matter.