I find myself trapped in an existential pit.
In thinking of the gargantuan efforts to increase pet adoptions, reduce the national euthanasia rates, and dig out of the seemingly inexhaustible supply of animals - the question dawns on me. Am I spending my time finding homes for pets who actually have homes but are lost, or homes for the truly homeless pets? I fear it is the former. This is particularly true with cats as they are deliberately allowed outside to roam, for some misguided purpose, with no collars (lest they hang themselves) and no way to find their humans should they stray. I then must use our resources to find a cat who already has a home, a new one, perhaps at the expense of a cat who never had one. Instead of giving every animal an opportunity for a family, we are giving some multiple tries, and others, no chance at all.
Imagine if humans accepted the responsibilities commensurate with adopting a pet i.e. to safeguard, meet their needs and to love them for their entire lives. Imagine if humans placed sufficient identification on their pets to maximize chances of reunion after accidental separation or disaster. Then imagine if all the funds, food, medicine and cage space were freed up for those pets who truly needed a home rather than for those just needing a different home with a more committed owner/guardian. This effort alone would result in a substantial decrease in the number of animals in shelters, the amount of euthanasia and would propel us forward in our resolve to end the pet overpopulation crisis. As an ancillary benefit, we would learn to value the pets we have, thereby reducing the market for unscrupulous breeders. Only then would we begin to live an ethic that treats companion animals like family members rather than like disposable commodities or Doritos.
It would certainly help hoist me out of my existential pit.