Last Friday evening, volunteers distributed flyers in one of the target neighborhoods for the Norfolk Pet Project. An important benefit of flyering is making personal connections with the residents of these neighborhoods. We often meet people who are excited to work with us; they wanted to help their own pets (and the animals in their communities) but just weren’t sure what to do or did not have the resources to do it.
Friday evening was a different experience…
One volunteer ran across two young men planning to stud out their male dogs. One felt he needed to get his money back for buying such an expensive “pure bred” dog; the other said he knew all the reasons he shouldn’t breed his dog, but planned to do so anyways. As the owners of male dogs, these young men would likely not be involved in the pregnancy or raising and selling of puppies, so the stakes and level of involvement are pretty low for them. Compassion is a hard argument against making money.
Another volunteer met a woman who thought it was inhumane to deny animals sexual pleasure. The woman felt we were taking away their “fun”. We were left to wonder if she thinks the hundreds of animals that entered Norfolk shelters in the month of May alone are NOT having fun, waiting for homes and in many cases not finding them.
The oddest reaction we faced, though, was from a woman who believed that shelter animals in Norfolk were put down because of a lack of food. We quickly assured her that there is food; food is not lacking, fortunately. What is lacking are people who will help control overpopulation by spaying/neutering their companion animals or adopting shelter animals.
Though frustrating and a little heartbreaking, Friday even was an interesting learning experience.