The Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia are now closed and what an amazing time it was for all the athletes, coaches, and every country that came together in peace and intense competition. Gold medals, along with silver and bronze, were given to the top athletes in the world at the twenty third Olympic Games. Like any event of this magnitude there are spectacular achievements right along with devastating failures with everything in between. These games also brought to light a failure that so many people seemed to think was unique to Sochi and to Russia whereas it is something that is just as much a problem in our own country.
It has been well documented by the media that the Russian government has rounded up, and killed, thousands of stray dogs in and around Sochi. If you do a Google search “stray dogs in Sochi” you will find over five hundred thousand results most of which refer to the practice of rounding the animals up and destroying them, or stories about the kind souls who are rescuing them. It is not clear if the animals have been shot or poisoned nor is it clear what has been done with the carcasses, but what is certain is a resounding outrage from animal lovers all over the world. These are the ones who are taking the matter into their own hands and smuggling the animals out of the area, or, in the case of billionaire Oleg Deripaska who has opened a shelter to hold some of the animals awaiting a home.
In the United States, newspapers and online media have reported widely on this issue bringing new light to a long practice of euthanizing the world’s unwanted, abandoned animals. The Humane Society of the United States takes in about 6-8 million dogs and cats each year and of these about 2.7 million are euthanized. The staggering number of animals is a result of nature’s demand to reproduce and human nature to save them. Spaying and neutering our pets is a first line defense to reduce the number of animals that find themselves under death’s needle.
Silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, and others, brought a great deal of attention to the plight of the animals in Sochi and, in turn, brought much needed light to the situation here in the US. The American Humane Association established “Bring Home the Mutts with Medals!” to not only raise awareness to American animals , but to also raise funds for those pups left in Sochi.
“American Humane Association is working with several philanthropists to arrange boots on the ground as soon as possible to help with transport back to the United States. Won’t you help by becoming a travel companion to one of these dogs and supporting our effort?
But you don’t have to be a gold-medal winner or have a rink-side seat in Sochi to be a hero and finish first in the eyes of a helpless creature…. there are plenty of adorable, adoptable animals in the shelters right in your hometown waiting to be rescued by someone with a heart of gold.
Remember, you can’t spell “gold” without the letters d-o-g!”
Green is the new gold for all of these cuddly creatures and by making donations, adopting your own furry friend, or volunteering you too can be a part of a golden opportunity to eradicate this harsh, but necessary practice. The world comes together at the Olympic Games to honor their top athletes and now that the flame has been extinguished we each must continue to hold a bright light over all the four legged creatures that need a home each and every day.