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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Gone to the dogs

Jesus Barrera

Communication junior Shawn Strunk walks his 5-month-old Siberian husky named Selah on Monday morning near the Arizona State Museum. Strunk said he likes to walk his dog in the mornings along the UA Mall.

National Lost Dog Awareness Day is being celebrated today with the purpose of celebrating the reunion of pet owners and their dogs, as well as bringing attention to lost dogs and the care they receive. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ website, every year, approximately 3.9 million dogs are taken into animal shelters nationwide and 1.2 million dogs are euthanized, 1.4 million dogs are adopted and only 542,000 dogs return to their owners.  

From 2013 to 2014, the No Kill Pima County shelter alone received 10,500 strays, according to Marcie Velen. 

This figure does not include strays that were received by the Humane Society or dogs that were never brought into a shelter. 

The Pima Animal Care Center, according to Justin Gallick, took in 15,887 dogs — 8,369 of them were strays — in 2014. Out of these 15,887 dogs, 1,657 were found by their rightful owners. 

Yadira Villarreal, a film and television sophomore, is the owner of Mia, a terrier mix who was born a few months ago.

“I am pretty sure I talk to my dog more than I should,” Villarreal said. “She starts crying when she thinks I’ve gone to sleep without her. … It’s amazing how much you can learn about a dog in just a month. I immediately fell in love with Mia. … I’ve been a dog person my whole life. … Luckily, I’ve never lost a dog, but I imagine I would be devastated.”

Mia is Villarreal’s first puppy that she has taken full responsibility for on her own. She said if Mia went missing, she would be restless until she found her. 

“Any day that raises awareness about taking better care of your dog is worth it to me,” Villarreal said. “I believe it’s unfair of some owners to not take responsibility. … For example, you’ll see dogs tied to trees, … isolated.”  

Although Villarreal said she has had several dogs, she has never lost a pet.

“I do know what it is like to have a dog pass away, and I can imagine that losing a dog … would feel the same way,” she added.

Breyden Main, a deaf studies freshman, is the owner of five dogs, but personally favors Spira, a Rottweiler who has been with him for quite some time now.

“I lost her one time when she decided to go chase javelinas,” Main said, recounting an experience he had with Spira. “It was really scary; … I literally ran around the whole yard and into all of the bushes. … I was freaked out for a good half hour until she came back.”

According to Elizabeth Ceballos, an anthropology sophomore, National Lost Dog Awareness Day can be very helpful because people don’t always know what to do in case their dog gets lost or they find a lost dog. She hopes that this increase in awareness can lead to less lost dogs in shelters and pounds. 

“It’s very sad … when dogs get euthanized because animal centers can’t find homes for them, but these shelters are working within their limits and can get full easily,” Ceballos said. “I think the only way to stop animal centers from euthanizing dogs is to get people to volunteer at shelters and adopt their pets from there.”

Ceballos, who has lost a dog in the past, added that she was afraid of what would happen to her pet and that, unfortunately, she was never able to find him again.

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