I attended the 2019 Animal Care Expo in New Orleans. 2,800 attendees, 4 days of break-out sessions and town hall meetings. Vendors - - lots of vendors. It’s always a chance to share with people, meet new people, new vendors and leave exhausted.
One day, I sat at a table for lunch with a young woman from Sri Lanka. She had traveled two days to get there. The challenges she mentioned seemed almost insurmountable to me. Their population is rapidly growing and the predominant religion, with this growth, does not believe in dogs and cats as pets. As a result, the homeless dog/cat population is exploding.
Then, on Easter morning, I saw the news feed of the horrific bombings in Sri Lanka and wondered if she made it home safely and if her family was safe. In a flash, everything changed in Sri Lanka – for the residents, the animals, the ex-pats and tourists. As they rebuild and heal, I’m sure animals will suffer. It is beyond sad.
Somehow, thinking of that young woman who wants to change the landscape for homeless dogs and cats in her country, our challenges are significant – but not at the level she faces. Most people in the US love animals and have pets. Our greatest challenge is educating pet owners on why it makes sense to “fix” your pets.
We’re making progress…..we have a long way to go…but we do not face an insurmountable hurdle regarding dogs and cats as pets.