Although I've been an animal lover and animal advocate all my life, Duke pulled at my heart like no other. He was big, as in 160 pounds big, he was clumsy, he was slobbery, he was messy, he was almost completely blind, and he was pure love.
I remember reading his story about how a Colorado farmer had said he would shoot him in the head if someone didn’t come get him immediately. I guess Duke had been chasing his chickens. It’s believed Duke had been beaten to such extremes he was completely blind in his left eye.
We had recently lost our tri-pod Golden Retriever, so adopting another dog wasn’t in our immediate plans. It was a Friday night and we arrived at the adoption event Duke was scheduled to be present at. The event was being held at a cute little art gallery in downtown Denver — we were living there at the time — and the weather was perfect.
I remember walking into the gallery and immediately being greeted by all the dogs who were up for adoption, but me, I was looking for Duke. Then suddenly I saw the biggest dog I had ever seen, with the most amazingly sad face, walking up the middle of the room towards me. Something happened at that very moment, something amazing.
When people ask “what is Urban Underdogs?” our go to phrase has become “We help animals on the front end” What this means is we help the humans of companion animals, who are having financial difficulties, by providing them with dog and cat food, in the hopes of keeping their furry friends out of the shelter system.
According to the ASPCA, 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters each year. 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. Of these approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year.
According to the Pets for Life program sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States there are 23 million pets living in poverty in the United States.
During our field work we hear comments such as:
“People shouldn't have pets if they can't afford them” or “Its not fair for the dog/cat to live that way”
To have the love and companionship of a pet should be for everyone.