It’s the final chapter of the incredible non-fiction book, Dogland. After finishing the book (And no… I’m not crying… not at all!) I will be posting a review on my Goodreads and recommending it as a must-read to every animal advocate I come across. I’m actually a bit sad that the book has come to an end, but all great stories do. Also, I want to thank the author, Jacki Skole, and the publisher, Ashland Creek Press, for sending me a copy of Dogland. I’m so happy that I got to read this book and share it with my readers and social media followers. I’m sorry that it took me so long to blog about the book and I don’t want any readers to think my inconsistency in blogging has anything to do with the book itself. Dogland is a well-researched, beautifully written story of animal rescue and it deserves to be on the shelf in every animal lover’s home.
Friendly reminder that during this 24 hour readathon, I am fundraising for the Hispanic Federation. All money goes to charity. Please support my efforts and donate a few bucks here. As of this point, we are at Hour 6 and I’m finishing up my 2nd book!
In this chapter, Meeting Miss Daisy, we go further into the spay/neuter debate and wrap up the storyline that began the journey in the first place – tracing back author Jacki Skole’s adopted dog, Galen. I won’t post any spoilers as to Galen’s story because that should be experienced by the reader. If you want to know why the chapter is called Meeting Miss Daisy, then you’ll have to read to find out!
The only thing I will say is that it’s pretty cool that this book blended the heart-warming and at times suspenseful story of uncovering Galen’s past with the research and investigation into animal shelters & rescue around the country. I love that adopting Galen helped this book come to fruition, and that alone is an amazing example of the incredible ways animals can shape our lives.
I will use the spay/neuter chapter discussion as a jumping off point for the post.
I have had many in-person arguments (debates, if you will) about mandatory spay and neuter. Personally, I agree with lawyer and activist Peter Marsh, who was interviewed for the book:
“If you don’t have an affordable and accessible spay/neuter program and the sanction for not having your pet spayed or neutered is forfeiture, then you put pet owners in a terrible bind. They run the risk of losing their pet. They might abandon it. And if a community has an affordable and accessible spay/neuter program, then I believe you don’t need a mandatory spay/neuter law.”
Note the phrase, “affordable AND accessible spay/neuter program.” The use of “and” is not an accident. It’s not enough to simply have an accessible spay/neuter program. The program has to be affordable. Think of your own town, city, or state – Do you have affordable, accessible spay and neuter programs? If not, why do you think that is? What can be done to change it?
To that point, I also liked this excellent quote in the book from Ruth Steinberger, founder of the nonprofit organization Spay FIRST!:
“We have not normalized spay/neuter. We have normalized collection and dispersal as the publicly supported model nationwide. But I think it is fairly simple. If you have a shelter that collects, you need to have a spay/meter access.”
Marsh, the lawyer mentioned above, has made tremendous impact not only in his community but beyond. He wrote a book about his efforts in reducing euthanasia rates called Getting to Zero. One of the most moving parts of Dogland was in this chapter when Marsh discusses his candlelight vigil at the state capitol building in New Hampshire. There, him and other animal advocates paid their respects to the numerous (healthy) dogs and cats who were euthanized in New Hampshire shelters. The advocates used a chain of collars – the collars were made of paper – to show that “this is not an abstract tragedy, that animals die one by one, each animal with its own identity, its own personality and its own history.”
No… I’m not crying at all!
Those words are haunting and effective. When we frame the killing of adoptable cats and dogs as just a number in the thousands, or millions, the horror becomes merely a statistic, a factoid that may momentarily hurt our hearts but ultimately just becomes another fact we learn in a day. But when advocates can individualize animals and tell their stories, then I believe we can really reach people and change attitudes towards animals. This is why in my own vegan advocacy, I try to share stories of individual animals I meet, and not reduce animals to a frightening and easily ignored statistic.
Well, this post wraps up my blogging of Dogland. I’m a little sad about that and could have said a lot more in my posts, but I didn’t want to spoil the whole book and I really want those of you who have followed along to pick up your own copy. If your library doesn’t have the book, please submit a request for your library to purchase a copy. I think this book can help advocates, which in turn helps animals. And we’re all here to help animals!
What do you think about what I’ve just wrote about? Leave a comment or tweet me @ThePawReport!
- Reading Series: Dogland (Prologue)
- Reading Series: Dogland – Ready or Not… Here She Comes
- Reading Series: Dogland – South Paws in the North
- Reading Series: Dogland – Property With a Heartbeat
- Reading Series: Dogland – Death-Row Dogs
- Reading Series: Dogland – Never-Ending Flood of Need
- Reading Series: Dogland – If You Build It, Will They Come?
- Reading Series: Dogland – Pet Deserts
- Reading Series: Dogland – Dogs for Dollars
- Reading Series: Dogland – Teach the Children
Dogland: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Dog Problem can be purchased directly through Ashland Creek Press.
Interested in a preview? A book excerpt is available here.
Categories: Reading Series