This is a guest column submitted through a project at Kumpf Middle School.

Imagine yourself without a home, family, and forever either in a cage or on the streets. You probably feel lifeless or meaningless. This is how poor abandoned dogs and cats feel—forever trapped in a cage and without a family. Did you know that every year, about 6.5 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters?  And of those, 6.5 million are euthanized? Most of the time these animals are euthanized for no good reason. There are ways that you can help change this.

There are two types of shelters. The no-kill shelters and the traditional shelters. First, I’m going to talk about no-kill shelters. While no-kill shelters seem like a great option. There can be more to the story. No-kill shelters reject animals if they don’t have enough room and just throw them back on the street. These animals might not have a home to go back to. So they are forced to find shelter on the streets. One day, you might find twenty dogs and cats just sleeping on your front lawn. If I were you, I definitely would not want that. No-kill shelters also don’t provide necessary services like neutering, shots, and other medical procedures. In my opinion, these animals have done nothing wrong to us so why should we make them suffer.  

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The other type of shelter is a traditional shelter. Traditional shelters will euthanize an animal if they are not adopted within a certain amount of time. Did you know that 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats are euthanized after entering a shelter? I hope other people feel the way I do, that just because no one adopts a pet, it doesn’t mean you have to kill it. That’s like drying up the ocean if no one swims in it. Some  traditional shelters turn away animals if the animal has poor health.

I know all of this is horrible which is why I’m going to tell you a possible solution. I think that there should be one type of shelter that accepts all types of animals. But if the animal is too sick, they are sent to, what they would consider, an animal retirement home that takes care of old,sick, and injured animals. The animals would stay in the shelter until they are old and no one wants them. After, they would be sent to the retirement home where animals would be fully taken care of. If I were a dog, I think I would want a retirement home that has people doing everything for me. Wouldn’t you? People would still be able to go to the animal retirement home to adopt or just play with the dogs and cats. The only way the animals would die is when they die of old age or of an incurable disease. This is a dream of mine, and I will work to make it a reality. For now, I’m starting to consider ways we could fundraise for such a shelter. I’m also thinking about possible locations.

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