To read about my other writing projects please see ABOUT.  Please go the National Dog Week page on Facebook, “LIKE” us and leave us a photo and or comment of and about your best four-legged friend!  Be part of history in the ruff!

When Captain Will Judy started National Dog Week back in 1928, he said that it wasn’t established to bring more dogs into the world, but to encourage people to be more responsible dog owners.  Thanks to all for sharing the link for this post on Facebook.  Please continue to do so. 

Earlier this month, I wrote a post about the Covers for Critters program organized by Willie Wonka and Brenda Yohman Frick.  Today, I once again present the highly informed  “WW” for an insightful look at the nation’s pet overpopulation problem and workable solutionsWillie Wonka goes under an alias preferring to work efficiently and quietly without drawing attention from the causes he supports.  Here is Part One of the interview.  In a related post the health and behavioral benefits of Spay and Neutering will be discussed.

Please tell us a little about your name, Willie Wonka. Willie was my canine soul mate. WW crossed the bridge in Jan. of 2010. He is one of many rescues and shelter dogs I have had, and certainly the most special. I do all my work for the animals, in his name and to honor a great dog and best friend.   

Tell us a little about your background.  I lived in several states in various parts of the USA. I’ve raised a family, had several cats and dogs in my life.  I lived in Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. for many years before moving to North Carolina 4 years ago. Here, I witnessed the terrible condition of the state’s “shelter” system and made it my mission to bring about change. That was when I started using Facebook exclusively working for the animals  

What are the causes you currently support?” Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love, a non-profit organization started last October in North Carolina, sums up my efforts to facilitate shelter reform, reduce the homeless pet population, and make lives better for the homeless animals in our shelter system now. I am VP of ‘Project Pets -SNL” and we have partnered with some great organizations, like the Humane Alliance in Asheville, to make our efforts more efficient and affordable. In addition to the sponsoring of programs like “Spay & Neuter Gaston County”, we have also been able to work to help animals in bad situations “get fixed” making it easier for them to go to their new homes.  “The Shelter Revolution ” on Facebook and www.ShelterRevolution.Org is also very dear to my heart. It is the solution to our failing shelter system.  

How and when did you become involved in these causes? I had been trying to rescue animals from shelters, and help others do the same, and then vet them, foster them and re-home them.  Over time, I realized  that we can only save a tiny percentage of these poor animals. There are better ways of reducing homeless companion animals. Spay + Neuter is a major part of every plan to stop this killing in County shelters. One other part of our thinking is to replace shelters with true Adoption Centers. These Adoption Centers would allow communal living and encourage the animals to be socialized and happy. They can wait for their new furever homes without living in little cages.  No healthy animals needs to die. We already know that does not work. We’ve been killing millions of animals every year for over a hundred years and it has not worked.  I support the Shelter Revolution , and the rehab programs that are shared on www.ShelterRevolution.org.

Do you think pet overpopulation is worse in some areas of the nation? If so, what are the factors influencing this? I know the problem of homeless pets is worse in some area than others. I have lived in Texas and saw packs of wild dogs running free near El Paso and in the Southeast, where the animal welfare laws are not enforced, or do not exist. Alot more time and tax money is spent in the West and Northeast parts of the this county.   There are also generally more active local populations supporting the various animal causes.  We know that income is a big factor. Over 70 % of all pets in families with household incomes over $75,000 a year are fixed. Over 70% of pets in families under $35,000 are not.  Income, education and availability are key variables.

Tell us about a seminar you recently attended and what you learned there and how you hope to use this experience? The SNIP conference in Asheville was a real eye opener for me and for Jo Burchfield, the President of Project Pets. We spent 3 three full days in classes, taught by experts, with hundreds of other non profits and rescuers who need to learn more about Spay and Neuter.   The ASPCA, PetSmart Charities and the Humane Alliance of Asheville all have a large presence. We learned a lot and it opened our eyes to the size of this problem. We are committed to doing what we can to change this terrible situation.

 Why is there so much divisiveness among animal advocates and rescuers? Simple, it’s old fashioned ego, Lisa. Everyone wants “credit.” Well, not everyone, but many. It is a stumbling block I see over and over again.

I see that you have set up a Chip-In application on your Facebook page for a local shelter.  How can Chip-Ins help, does it make  a difference, no matter how small?  Legitimate Chip Ins allow the money to go directly to where it is needed, in any amounts those people can afford. Many are contributions of $5 and $10, but they all add up. The problem is that some very evil people are using the animals to raise money for themselves.  People should always be sure who they are donating to and how those dollars will be used.

 Do you think that your work can really help change the way homeless/shelter pets fare in this nation? Read the starfish story. I read it everyday. I make a difference to the ones that I can. I do know that I have made a difference already. I know I can do much more if I work smarter and harder.  

The Starfish Story: short version

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stopping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean. “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” he asks. “Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”  The young man said, “But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it!  You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”  The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and throw it into the sea.  “It made a difference to that one.”

I am not calling WW an old man, but I know he definitely identifies with the one in this story…We need our rescuers who work so hard everyday trying to save endangered homeless animals.  But wouldn’t it be nice to not have to work so hard and to see a better future?

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