7.07.2012

Heartbreaking.

I came across this article of photographer Tou Chih-kang, who for the past two years has been making portaits of dogs in shelters all around northern Taiwan. His are no ordinary portraits. He goes to a shelter, scans the manifesto of dogs set to be euthanized that day, and then takes portraits of those dogs for his photography expositions all over Taiwan.
His work is best resumed by this:
"I believe something should not be told but should be felt, and I hope these images will arouse the viewers to contemplate and feel for these unfortunate lives, and understand the inhumanity we the society are putting them through."

There is a very, very large dog and cat overpopulation problem worldwide in this time; a lot of articles, newspaper stories and tv programs have been devoted to this topic and its' possible solutions. Government-run shelters do what they can; low budgets and overcrowding lead them to have to euthanize close to 200 dogs daily, in larger shelters this number can be significantly higher. Here in Puerto Rico the dog overpopulation problem was the subject of "100,000", an Emmy award-winning documentary by Juan Agustín Márquez. César Millán, the Dog Whisperer, has written many articles on his website about spaying and neutering pets to prolong their life and control animal populations. Why, after all this press, do people still continue to not take conscience? I have been asking myself this more frequently since we adopted Pepe, the most adorable dog in the world and Ouna's Closet mascot. He has brought us countless hours of joy since we adopted him from the streets of Cayey, Puerto Rico 5 months ago. He was just 3 months old when we found him.
We decided to neuter him when he was old enough; his time has come and he'll get his operation next week. There are a myriad of benefits to getting your dogs fixed: they live longer (3 to 4 years average) because they're not exposed to testicular cancer (fairly common cause of death), they do not run off on you because they want to "hump" and their disposition is usually calmer and cheerier than dogs who aren't fixed. Well, I have had mixed reviews to our announcement of Pepe's operation: everybody goes "bendito!!" "pobrecito!!" and some even are "poor little guy, he'll lose his manhood". Manhood? It's a dog, for pete's sake! I mean, he is part of our family, our baby and all, but seriously. Come on. It's the responsible thing to do. As parents we teach our children to have safe sex and use protection to avoid unwanted pregnancies. As pet owners we must also be responsible and spay and neuter our pets to avoid your pet having litters that you don't want, or having your pet run away from you because of it's urges. And besides, the operations are so cheap ($35. to $79. in most vets) and are ambulatory: your pet goes in the morning and you can pick them up in the afternoon.
Isn't he adorable? And doesn't the taiwanese puppy in the second photo look like it could be his brother/sister? This is why this issue is heartbreaking. Because people need to understand that by spaying/neutering your pet you are not taking away their manhood/femininity. You are actually being a responsible person and not contributing to the pet overpopulation that currently exists.

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