Friday, September 15, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Research

I gotta say that I was not too excited when I read this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt: research and write about a topic. This is what I do at my job, and as DJ said when discussing the topic, "This seems too much like work!"

But, it ended up being interesting (and, of course, no one is making me do the prompt! I decided to research dog pounds because that's the setting of the story I'm working on. I've been to Boston's MSPCA, but that's pretty much my only experience. My Chloe dog was adopted through Adoptalab, a great organization that ships labs from the south (where they are crazy over-bred and likely to be put in kill shelters if they're not bought) to homes around the country. So, here's what I learned:
  • In kill shelters, the only acceptable method of euthanasia is intravenous injection of a barbiturate solution by a veterinarian or a properly trained and certified technician. Not acceptable are: high altitude decompression chambers, electrocution, carbon monoxide (except under highly controlled conditions), strychnine poisoning, shooting, and intra-cardiac injections of alert animals. It boggles my mind that someone could think electrocuting a dog to death would be an OK thing to do.
  • "Humane society" and "SPCA" are generic terms for organizations that work to protect animals. The names don't mean the shelter is affiliated with anyone or accredited. Each shelter is independently operated, which means that the MSPCA in Boston can be totally different than the MSPCA in Newton.
  • Dogs often don't have water in their crates because they get knocked over so often. They also don't have food available all the time, just 2x a day.
  • 6-8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, only half are adopted. The other half are killed. (According to the Humane Society of the US)
  • 25% of dogs in shelters are purebreeds (same source)
  • There are between 4,000 and 6,000 shelters in the US (same source)
  • A fertile dog can produce 2 litters a year, each yielding 6-10 puppies. In 6 years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs!!! (same source)
  • Black dogs are the least likely to be adopted and most often killed. Experts guess this is because they don't photograph as nicely as lighter dogs, they "look scarier," and they have negative/spooky connotations. Winston Churchill called his depression a black dog, for example. And the phantom dog in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of Baskervilles was black. Some people also have this odd idea that black dogs are more aggressive.
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18 comments:

Autrice DelDrago said...

^5. Wonderful research, and for a good cause!

chiefbiscuit said...

That is so interesting! Thank you for all your hard work. The most interesting facts for me were the last two.

GoGo said...

Thanks for the interesting facts. I am currently doing an internship as a Veterinary Social Worker assisting folks going through grief and crisis b/c of medical decisions with their animals. So, I found this research helpful.

I personally favor black dogs.

Ally Bean said...

This is a fascinating post about a topic I knew nothing about. Thanks for putting it together.

Michelle said...

My vet recently shared a similar stat about cats.

I have a black dog. I think the stats are right, people are instantly scared of her, even though she is a real sweetie. I'll have to make sure that if I ever get another dog, that she or she is black!

paris parfait said...

I like black dogs. Interesting piece - I learned some new things.

commongal said...

I have been a rescuer in another life and my two cats are rescues from a few blocks away. I am glad you did this research. There are a number of no-kill shelters out there and that keeps me sane when I think of some of the horrible realities of our system. I believe everyone should adopt a pet, as our duty to the animals, generally. I can no longer rescue because I have my handsfull with the twins and my own illness, but I support rescuers whenever I can.

swampgrrl said...

hey bug....
thank you for posting this.
it is extremely important.
i rarely have the stomach to look
at this stuff, but i was able to reach the end of yours. and found myself loving your
courage.
cheers!
swampgrrl

wendylou who? said...

One of my dogs is a rescue dog..and yep..he's black. They were going to shoot him in the field..cause he wouldn't hunt..(and kill). He is the sweetest dog we've ever had.

Bug said...

Thanks for all your comments! And a bigger thank you to all of you who have adopted animals (black or another color!).

TI said...

I learned a lot from your post. Made me want to go out and adopt an animal (I had an adopted cat -- white -- that I had to give away because of husband's allergies -- trust me, it was a tough call!).

Tammy said...

I have a black lab that is 17 and pray he will remain with us for awhile longer. Adoptalab sounds great and I will look into it :) Great google!

DonPare said...

Anyone who doesn't like black dogs hasn't met Chloe... :)

Interesting facts - nice research!

Mardougrrl said...

Hmmm...so much I didn't know! This post is a public service...thank you. :)

Bug said...

TI, you're funny: it was a tough decision--ha! And Tammy, that's so great your dog has lived such a long life. I hope mine does too! And Don, yes, how could you not love black dogs after hanging out with Chloe??

Kim G. said...

So interesting and good for you - double dipping. :) I also did research that I needed to do anyway. We just became proud adoptive parents of a lovebird so I spent my evening googling on the care of these creatures and wound up with a Sunday Scribbling as well.

Verity said...

Wow, thanks for this. It kind of opens people's eyes to things we don't normally want to see.

Anonymous said...

Lots of interesting tidbits. Thanks for finding them for us!

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