Over the weekend, an account I follow on Instagram posted something something that both made me sad and quite angry. They adopted a dog from Thailand through the wonderful Soi Dog Foundation and were criticized for it. Some people made comments towards the dogs owner for “importing” a dog and felt the need to judge the owner by saying they “didn’t care about dogs here.”
This struck a bit of a personal chord with me. My dog Dolly was rescued from the illegal meat trade over in Thailand and was rescued thanks to Soi Dog. To insinuate that because I (and many other dog owners) have dog that was brought over to Canada from another country and say we don’t care about animals here is 100% false and considerably too black and white as to where we choose to spend our time, energy and money.
If you care about animals, why would you be upset about rescue organizations bringing animals to your country to give them a better life and to see them from horrific situations like the meat trade? A life saved is a life saved, regardless of geography.
Just recently, the Human Society International saved many dogs from the meat trade in South Korea and brought them to Canada. Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel rescued a dog from there last year and American skier Gus Kenworthy, just recently adopted a dog he met in South Korea. It was a wonderful story to know that these dogs are now safe and going to be going to their forever homes.
But not everyone was happy about the dogs coming here. Many people felt the need to comment by stating ” dogs die here in shelters everyday” and “we don’t need more dogs” among many other things.
Yes, sadly many animals are euthanized everyday in North America due to overcrowding as well as other issues with animal rescue, but does that mean we can’t and shouldn’t try and help all animals in need, regardless where in the world they’re located? The reason there are so many animals in shelters is because of many people who do not spay and neuter their pets (hence, overpopulation). Then there are people who get an animal and then dump there animal because they no longer want the animal. That is where education about the importance of spay and neutering comes in (including spay and neuter return programs which a so crucial to rural communities) and education about responsible pet ownership. This is why many rescues do intense screening processes as they do not want that animal to be returned, and most won’t adopt out an animal until they have been spayed or neutered.
There seems to be a ideology that because someone supports international animal rescue, they can’t possibly support local animal rescue. I’m not sure why there is that thought process or how it go started, but I’m here to hopefully shed some light.
You can support international animal rescue AND local rescue. The two are not mutually exclusive. Yes, Dolly is from Thailand but my other two were adopted from two local animal rescues here in Alberta. You can adopt from more than one rescue organization. You can financially donate to multiple animal rescues (I donate to Soi Dog and multiple local animal rescues). I also volunteer at a local animal rescue (which partnered with Soi Dog to bring Dolly to Canada to give her a better life).
It’s much like saying that because I care about animal rescue I can’t possibly care about other causes such as mental health and addiction, domestic violence, poverty or racism. That would also be false. They are not mutually exclusive. I’ve worked at social service non profits, volunteered and donated to all the causes. Yes, I write about animal rescue but that does not mean I don’t or can’t care about other causes.
When it comes to animal adoption, those criticizing are forgetting one very important thing, at the end of the day a life is saved. Every time someone adopts, fosters or rescues an animal, that animal is being saved. They are being saved from being on the street. They are being saved from abuse and neglect. They are being saved from death (and in the case of Dolly and other meat trade survivors, a horrific death).
There’s already too much judgement in society, so why are we judging people who are trying to do good? So rather than try to point a finger at someone who is doing something to benefit an animal outside of our borders, ask yourself what you are doing to make a difference, either through adoption or donations. All rescues would appreciate more assistance, either through volunteer hours or financial donations.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world”.