Don't Just Stand There, Adopt Something!

Categories: Cover Story
stellakat.jpg
Photo by Andrea Grimes
Adoptions save lives at Dallas Animal Services. Stella the cat is living, purring proof.
Time after time, when I showed up at Dallas Animal Services over the course of the winter, Lieutenant Scott Walton would razz me about taking home a kitten. I'd outed myself as a cat person in our first interview, and this guy went for the hard sell every time after that. Didn't help that Jonnie England, whom I also interviewed for this week's cover story, was always at DAS volunteering when I'd stop by. She was relentless too.

Here, look at this cute kitten. There, look at that cute kitten. Sure, come inside the play rooms and let 'em cuddle up on you for an hour straight instead of heading back to the office to listen to Wilonsky drone on about wet-dry votes.

I didn't really get it. I was a reporter stopping by to write some pretty damning things about DAS. I wasn't there to get a pet. Why did they keep pushing me? Every time, it was a new kitten shoved in my face or in front of my camera. It became kind of stressful. Kind of annoying. Kind of off-putting.

And then I looked at the numbers. And I realized it wasn't about the hard sell. It was about saving lives. Immediately, urgently. DAS takes in eight or nine thousand cats a year, and three times that many dogs. Probably 80 or 90 percent of those animals will be euthanized. That is dozens of animals dead per day. Dozens. Dead. Each day. DAS simply cannot afford to house all of the animals they take in -- many of which are surrendered by owners who decide they can no longer take care of their pets. I've watched those surrenders. They are heartbreaking and infuriating.

But I've also watched the adoptions. That's what Lieutenant Walton calls the "rainbows" side of things at DAS. I've watched the walking in alone, the locking eyes with a furry, helpless friend, the walking out with a forever companion. When it happens, it is beautiful. But it does not happen often enough at DAS.

This is where you -- and I -- come in.

One day, I walked by a cage in the cat adoption room and saw a crisp, white kitten dotted with tabby spots and big, round yellow eyes. "Meer!" she said to me. "Ear! Ear!" And when I took her out to play, she climbed right up to my shoulder and hugged my neck. "Meer! Ear!"

I didn't have to think twice. I knew I had room in my home and my heart for another kitty. I snuck out of work the next day to take her home.

Her name is Stella -- following a theme, my other two cats are named Whiskey and Sake -- and she is a hateful little turdball, and I love her with every bit of my heart. She wakes me up at the crack of down with relentless cries of "MEEEEEEEEEEER!" She swipes my boyfriend's legs and chews fingers while we're asleep. She harasses my older cats. And she is the most glorious thing on earth. She makes me understand what people mean when people say they like their kids even though they vomit on everything and shit green pudding. And please, before you wad your drawers because I just compared human kids to a cat, know that comparing kids to a cat is the nicest possible compliment I could give them, because, my God, I love cats.

I love them so much I make videos of them doing adorable things and put them on the internet. Videos like this one, for example, featuring some of Stella's finer acrobatics:


If you have the time and resources to care for a pet, please consider going down to Dallas Animal Services and adopting one of the hundreds there that need a good home. Pet ownership can be time consuming and expensive -- as my electrical engineer friend noted, "Addition of cat (x) increases output of waste exponentially by a factor (n)." But, my God, when rewards come in purrs, you wish there was a bank you could put purrs in, because just collecting interest on those things would keep you in Snuggies for life. And y'all know how cat ladies go through Snuggies.

DAS adoption hours are 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

And if you've got more time than room for more pets, consider volunteering.
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13 comments
cp
cp

Andrea, just FYI... cats tend to do much better in even numbers.....

LeeDog
LeeDog

Watched my 9yo Greyhound be euthanized at our Vet's office 20 days after I sat at my father's beside in ICU and watched him take his last breath after a 7yr battle with lung cancer and its complications on Oct. 19. Felt a little weird, but Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and I went to operation kindness and adopted a great dog who had been given up twice. Can't save all of them, but when you lose the love of two, the next one gets your love double-time.

anon
anon

I hope those euthanized animals are used to feed something or someone. I'm not being crass nor trying to shock, I just hope they can be put to some use.

Jonnieengland
Jonnieengland

Thank you, Andrea! Despite lots of negative stuff, it's vitally important to remember that lives are at stake. Living, breathing beings who didn't ask to be born, didn't ask to be taken to the shelter--any shelter--and didn't ask to die before their time. We created the problems; we have the power to stop them. Adoption is one way, but we'll never be able to adopt them all. Even Andrea, with her huge heart, can't take them all! The answer is so simple: Spay and neuter. But in the meantime, visit Dallas Animal Services, or a shelter near you, and ADOPT! Don't buy, don't shop; adopt. Save a life. The rewards are limitless. And thanks again, Andrea. Stella, Whiskey and Sake are three lucky little cats!

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Andrea wrote an amazing piece this week. Im glad to see her mature in both her reporting style and subject matter, not to mention I actually had an emotional reaction as I read the story. In fact I'll be using this as a jump-off for my daily vlog today concerning animal adoption..Keep up the amazing work Ms. Grimes!

Rooster
Rooster

I'm a dog guy. I prefer my dependents with a lot less contempt for my existence.

Guest
Guest

We got one of our dogs from Dallas Animal Services (the other came from a Fort Worth shelter), and she's a great dog.

But the worst part of adopting her was walking through the shelter and seeing all the dogs in cages that we knew weren't going to make it because they simply didn't have the time for people to find them and knowing that even if I adopted all of them on the spot, there'd be a shelter full of great, loving dogs again in a matter of days.

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

Wilonsky drones? Schutze seems more the like the droning type, when not yelling out the window, 'Will you damn kids get off my homeless people!'. I thought Wilonsky would be curled in the corner arguing with the voices in his head over RAR format concert bootlegs from the 1970s or obsessively cleaning that shrine to Mark Davis he keeps on his desk. Never picked him to drone.

Jen
Jen

You are being crass. But putting that aside, their bodies are put in the landfill, which further adds to expense of dealing with so many unwanted animals. If people would be responsible and spay/neuter more, it wouldn't be an issue of such great tragedy and cost.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Actually, there is nothing little about 18-lb Whiskey.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I added that, actually -- Andrea had something far more diplomatic and boring: "opine." I never opine. I drone. Like a spy plane. But, really, it's more like a soothing rumble.

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

I suspect you co workers do not find the rumble soothing and would call it a fart.

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