Behind This Heart Wrenching Picture Is a Major Issue Rescue Organizations Face

A Houston nonprofit posted a heartbreaking image of a stray dog cuddling a stuffed animal, shining a light on an issue many rescue organizations face.

Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project couldn’t rescue the dog. The picture is from a few months ago and the black pit bull mix still lives on the street. The reason? He is too healthy.

“The sad truth is, there are not enough foster homes to place these dogs into. This dog is in relatively good condition and sadly, when people see a dog in this shape they are less likely to step up to foster. So what we do is mostly post the dogs that are in worse shape and need immediate medical attention,” volunteer Yvette writes on Facebook, noting in a later post that the dog does belonged at one time to a neighbor but escaped.

Related: Puerto Rico’s ‘Dead Dog Beach’ Is Becoming ‘Dead Dog Island’

Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward is just like the thousands of rescues in our country: understaffed and low on cash.

“It is the hardest thing in the world for us to leave dogs like his behind so please don’t judge us,” Yvette writes. “We are a small group of volunteers who are just trying to do the very best we can with what we have.”

With what resources they have, they do their best. If the nonprofit can’t find a foster, volunteers will peruse the street twice a week and spend hours feeding the dogs. It is typical to see between 40 and 60 dogs each time, and it is impossible to find fosters for all dogs. And with that they must choose carefully what dogs to take in, and what dogs need to fend for themselves.

The organization, like others, also focuses much of their efforts on education. Yvette tells This Dog’s Life that Houston’s Fifth Ward, located about two miles northeast of downtown, is one of the worst areas in the city when it comes to strays. Many residents refuse to fix their dogs, as they fear it will alter their personality, possibly making their guard dogs less aggressive.  Others are unaware of what it takes to care for a pet and will not receive the proper vet care. The result is backyard breeders, with dogs having multiple litters year after year.

For the dogs like the one on the street, consider helping them out by opening your house to fostering. If interested, contact Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project. 

Related: Letter to Former Owner Thanks Him for ‘Raising Such an Awesome Meatball of a Dog’

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