What Would Bob Barker Do?

bobbarkerIf you were born after 2000, you might not recognize the name Bob Barker right away.  Bob Barker was an American game show host who hosted game shows from the late 1960’s up to 2007 when he retired from “The Price is Right”.  He was also a life-long animal rights advocate who donated millions of dollars to organizations like PETA and United Activists for Animal Rights.  Barker was also famously known for ending many episodes of The Price is Right with the phrase “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.”

It’s amazing how many people across the US are involved in animal rescue activities in some way, whether actively volunteering with rescue groups or just posting photos of adoptable animals on their social media pages.  Many dedicate the majority of their time to these efforts.  But no matter how many people volunteer to help, or how hard they work, the flood of homeless pets just keeps coming.  I’m one of those volunteers, so I spend a fair amount of time in local shelters seeing, evaluating, and often adopting dogs that are in danger of being euthanized soon.  The more time I spend in these places, the more I think about that flood of homeless pets I just mentioned.  Where do they come from?  Why are there so many?  And why aren’t all these rescue organizations even making a dent in their population?  One recent article  said there are more than 13,000 rescue organizations across the US, Mexico and Canada.  That translates to a lot of people doing a lot of hard work, usually for free.  And yet the population of homeless animals continues to grow.  I’ve been wondering if there might be a better way to solve this problem.

For example, if my kitchen sink is leaking, there are basically 2 reasonable things I can do about it.  One, I can put a bucket under the sink to catch the water, and empty it every time it fills up.  Or, two, I can repair the leak.  And in reality, I would probably do both, using the bucket as a quick fix until I can complete the repairs.  Well, I see the homeless animal situation in much the same way.  Lots of us are catching the water by rescuing the animals, but who is repairing the leak?  Which brings me back to Bob Barker’s line about reducing the pet population.  I’ve probably rescued 10 dogs in the past 2 years, and I don’t recall a single one that was already spayed or neutered when I signed the adoption paperwork.  I always have to go back to the shelter a few days later to pick up the dog after their surgery, which has me wondering if the flood of homeless animals will ever stop.  We certainly need the rescue groups to keep holding that bucket, but we need to think about the other side of the problem as well…fixing the leak.  I’m guessing there are people out there working on fixing the leak, but I hardly ever see or hear about them, and what they’re doing doesn’t seem to be very effective.  So I’m just wondering how we might be able to shift some of our bucket holders over to the leak fixer side.

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Any successful leak fixers out there?  If so, how are you doing it?  And how can more of us bucket holders help?

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