By Anna Tabet |

I used to wake up every weekend at 7 a.m. in elementary school to watch “Dogs 101”. I could easily say that this habit ended when I turned 10, but the truth is I did this for longer than I’d like to admit. I acknowledge how embarrassing this routine of mine was, but I bring it up in order to illustrate just how far back my love and passion for animals, specifically dogs, goes.

My love for dogs and my innate sensitivity to basically everything in the world made my research into animal homelessness incredibly difficult. However, the pain I felt didn’t make me shy away from the issue— it made me want to take action.

“Only one out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.”

I know it’s difficult to comprehend this statistic when nearly everyone you know owns a dog. But overbreeding is a reality in nearly every community— it’s just not talked about. Overbreeding and abandonment of dogs by unsuitable owners both lead to a damagingly high population in shelters. Because of this, many shelters resort to killing animals in order to maintain the living conditions in their facility.

Nationwide, about 2.7 million shelter animals are killed every year. 1.4 million of those are dogs. And 40 percent of the dogs killed are Pit Bulls.

All over the world, the Pit Bull breed is being feared and abused because of their history of dog fighting. What people don’t understand, however, is that no dog chose to be placed in a dog fighting environment. No dog chose to hurt and kill another dog. No dog chose a life where they couldn’t just be a dog. So why are we punishing them for choices that are far beyond their control?

The documentary “The Champions”, now available on Netflix, beautifully illustrates the recovery process of Pit Bulls rescued from a dog fighting environment. It shows that even the dogs who unwilling committed awful acts were able to be fun-loving and care-free after being given a safe home that provided them with a second chance at life.

I wish more dogs had as happy of an ending as those in the documentary, but as previously mentioned, that’s just not always the case. I also wish I had as much influence as Sarah McLachlan in the ASPCA commercials but I have to come to reality at some point.

I could wish a lot of things that could magically fix this situation, but instead I choose to work and educate others. So, here’s a handy list of simple ways you could make a difference:

  • Do some of your own research about Pit Bulls and share your findings with others.
  • Look up no-kill shelters/animal rescues in your area and if you have the time, consider fostering or volunteering for them. Here are two wonderful shelters/rescues in Waco: Humane Society of Central Texas and Fuzzy Friends Rescue
  • If you don’t have much time but would still like to help, donations are a great option. Monetary donations are vital in providing animals in shelters with a safe and comforting environment. You can also donate food, toys and a plethora of other items that maintain the physical and mental health of the animals.
  • If someone you know is thinking of adopting an animal, advise them to look into the wonderful shelters near them. By doing this, not only will they bring home an adorable addition to their family, but they will also be saving the life of a deserving animal.
  • If you feel like you’re missing something in your life and have the time, responsibility and space for a new pet: ADOPT! Caring and loving for a pet can be one of the most fulfilling tasks you can do in life. Plus, who wouldn’t want a furry friend that loves and appreciates them?

It doesn’t take much to change an animal’s life. If completing one of the five items listed above means maybe never having to watch another devastating ASPCA commercial, then I’d do it in a heartbeat. And I hope you will too.