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There are hundreds of millions of unwanted and abandoned animals in the world, who are without food, shelter or families. Often, these animals are abused or killed. It’s such a high amount that it’s impossible to make any kind of progress, but we can help these animals find permanent homes and also help reduce pet overpopulation. Here’s what you can do right now.

1. Spay and neuter - One unfixed female and her offspring can lead to 67,000 dogs in just six years. Spaying or neutering will eliminate unneeded and unwanted litters, and also helps with their health and behavior. There are many spay and neuter myths, but they are just that. Myths. Male dogs will not become fat and lazy. It is not a punishment and it will not hurt their spirit. They will however be less aggressive or pee inside. It helps eliminates testicular and ovarian cancer, and in the case of female dogs to have uterine or breast cancer.

2. Don’t buy, Rescue - Shelters are full of unwanted but awesome dogs looking for loving homes, they are available at a low cost, and that usually includes spaying or neutering and vaccination. Rescue dogs are usually more genetically diverse than purebreds. This means they are far less likely to suffer from inherited conditions than their individual breeds are prone to. A purebred German shepherd, for example, is likely to develop hip dysplasia at some point. A mixed breed GSD is far less likely to have that problem.

3. Volunteer at a shelter - This is a great way to help out while working on your own dog skills in the process. That’s exactly how I got started. If you don’t have a dog yet, volunteering lets you see the various behaviors of dogs, and get to learn how to understand their energy and body language. This way you’ll be better able to make the right choice when the time comes for you to adopt your own dog. If you do have dogs, it’s an opportunity to practice the skills you’ll need to train or rehabilitate your own dogs. Finally, you’ll get to work with dogs. Is there anything better?

4. Keep your pet from becoming a stray - Get your pet’s micro-chipped. It’s a safe, painless way to give them identification that can’t be lost or stolen. Also make sure they have collars with secure ID tags that show your name and phone number. Make sure your home or yard is escape-proof. Look for signs of digging near walls or fences, or scratching and chewing on gates. Keep an eye on your dog when they are in the yard alone. Always have recent photographs of your dog. Include face and profile, as well as pictures of distinguishing markings.

5. Be the best pack leader you can be - Most dogs end up in shelters because of behavioral issues that humans didn’t bother to resolve, and that were most likely created by those humans in the first place. When you adopt a dog, you are making a promise to them: “I am committed to taking care of you for the rest of your life.” That commitment has no conditions. It does not mean “unless I get married” or “until you chew on my favorite shoes” or “as long as you don’t bite anybody.” If your dog has behavioral problems, it’s up to you to fix them. That’s what a Pack Leader does. Your job is to provide protection and direction. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a dog trainer or dog behaviorist to help. Your dog will reflect your energy, and do what you’re telling him to do, whether you’re aware of what you’re saying or not. Become aware, and save a life.

No dog anywhere should be abandoned or abused, ever. Luckily, each and every one of us has the ability and the power to do our small part to prevent that, one simple step can cause tremendous ripples.

If you have a problem, need some guidance / direction, consider hiring a professional to help.

As always, remember: BP4 – Be: Patient, Positive, Peaceful & Persistent / 201-937-6123 / Little Falls, New Jersey, 07424

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