I started reading New Tricks by Charles Seibert in today’s NYT magazine and had to stop because I began crying. The article is about how one shelter in Austin and how they are trying to find ways to judge animal personality and temperament. Unfortunately, it is a kill shelter, but it does sound as though they do their best to make sure dogs are given at least a fighting chance at making it into the adoption side of the house.

So the photo of one dog being euthanized was where I first broke down and then when I read these sobering statistics I lost it as well:

According to Stephen Zawistowski, executive vice president for national programs for the ASPCA, about four million dogs enter shelters nationwide each year. Some two million of them end up being euthanized, about 5,000 dogs each day, one every 16 seconds.

And this one:

Mollaghan created a four-page form for dog relinquishers. The reasons they list for surrender reflect a dizzying range, from the serious (lifestyle issues like a move or loss of job, or dog aggression) to the supercilious (people going on vacation). Mollaghan told me one person reported that her pet was “boring.” Another family said they had bought new furniture that their dog’s coat didn’t quite match.

However, the article ended on a happy note: reporter meets dog, falls in love, and brings dog back home with him. Couldn’t be better.

The accompanying slide show is a must see.

p.s. Stop puppy mills!

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