Happy Birthday Charlie!

I am taking a break today from blogging about my recovery to talk a little about a certain dog that is turning 13 sometime this month. Charlie has been my constant companion through every single surgery, and we couldn't ask for a more loving, sweet, intelligent, or loyal dog.

We adopted Charlie in September of 2007 from the SPCA of Central Florida. He was 9 years old. I walked by his kennel and he stuck his little face through the fence and my heart melted right then! We weren't looking for a "senior" dog but when he just jumped into my arms I KNEW I had to take him home. I can not even put into words the joy he has brought me through these last very rough years with all my spinal surgeries. He makes me smile every day.

I have a real heart for taking care of the creatures in our world, and I wasn't even aware of the amount of dogs and cats and other animals that are being overbred in "puppy mills" all over this country.

Do a little research and please educate yourselves on this! A dog just like Charlie is put to sleep every day at the Orange County Animal Services here in Orlando. By the end of this year 12,000 or more will be put to sleep. And that is just here in Orlando. According to the Humane Society of the United States, every 8 seconds a dog or cat is put down, adding up to between 6 and 8 MILLION animals are killed every year in our country.

We have such a consumeristic attitude towards animals. We breed them, and then throw them away when we don't want them/can't take care of them. That large number killed in Orange County alone could be drastically reduced if people would simply spay or neuter their animals and STOP supporting Puppy Stores that sell puppy mill pets.

If you can, make a donation to your local no-kill shelter, or even better, go there and take one of those other "Charlies" home! 

Don't feel ready to take on a dog or cat that may have some issues to work through because they have been mistreated or abandoned? Most shelters have puppies and kittens that need homes just as much as the older dogs and cats. Because many people fail to neuter or spay their animals, it is very common for stray animals to show up pregnant or with entire litters of puppies or kittens. Another option is to adopt from a shelter that takes dogs directly from their owners (like the SPCA here in Orlando) who are able to give a detailed background on the dog (or other animal), like whether they are good with children, chase cats, or are shy. That way you know a lot more about the dog or cat you're bringing into your home.

Think you can't find the kind of dog you're looking for at the pound or in a shelter? Charlie is a "malte-poo" a "designer" mix between a maltese and a poodle. If we had bought him as a puppy from a store or even a breeder, he would have cost well over $500 bucks. We got him for around $50 bucks (because he was a "senior" dog). Think shelter dogs have little to give, or are too hard to retrain? Check out this video by a band called OK Go filmed entirely with shelter dogs!

Here are a few places to look for your next "fur" baby:

+Your Local ASPCA Shelter (ASPCA.com)
+Petsmart Adoption Events
+Your Local Animal Services (ie. the pound)

And those are just a few options! There are countless local Rescue groups that specialize in specific breeds. Here is one that focuses on just Golden Retrievers, and here is another that focuses on small dogs.

Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now! Happy Birthday Charlie, we love you!

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