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Puppies and Kittens Are Cute, But the Problem of Pet Overpopulation Isn’t

One of Living Love Animal Rescue’s ‘Plus 10’ puppies slows down for just a moment, but then it was back to wrestling with its mates. Living Love rescued the 10 puppies after a woman contacted the organization and didn’t know what to do with the Labrador-mix pups. Living Love officials say this highlights the need for pet owners to get their dogs and cats spayed or neutered. Go to livingloveanimalrescue.org for more information. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

MARBLE FALLS — They are 10 little tumbling balls of fur, full of energy and pulling on the shoelaces of anyone who climbs into their pen. The Labrador retriever mix puppies generate laughter and smiles from everyone playing with them or just watching.

“They are so sweet,” said Claire Edwards, founder of Living Love Animal Rescue in Marble Falls. “And look at them. They’re just so loving.”

The cuteness, though, covers up a problem plaguing the Highland Lakes and the rest of the country: Pet overpopulation due to people not spaying or neutering their dogs and cats.

Edwards believes it’s time to change that, starting with not just those who don’t get their pets fixed, but also with pet owners who do.

Living Love Animal Rescue wasn’t looking to take in the “Plus 10,” as the puppies are called. It more than doubles the shelter’s canine numbers, which carries over to increased food, supply, and veterinary care costs.

Shoelaces are fair game when you step in among Living Love Animal Rescue’s ‘Plus 10,’ a litter of puppies the shelter took into its care in July. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The call came in late July. A woman told Living Love Animal Rescue shelter manager Rosalie Brosh that her dog had recently given birth to 14 puppies. She told Brosh she had know idea what to do and there was no way she could afford to take care of all of them.

Brosh, knowing 14 was way beyond what Living Love could take in, offered to pick up two of the puppies and get the mother dog spayed.

Brosh and Living Love volunteer Kelley Whited went to the woman’s house and found the situation bleaker than they had expected as sores and fleas covered the pups.

Instead of 14, Brosh and Whited found 10 as one had gone missing, two had been adopted, and the woman’s son kept one.

Brosh and Whited only came for two.

“But they looked at each other,” Edwards said. “We could really only take two, but (Brosh and Whited) just couldn’t leave the others, so they rescued all 10.”

As cute as they are, by taking in the 10 puppies, Edwards said it puts a strain on Living Love’s resources. All puppies at Living Love receive a vet check and shots followed by spaying or neutering when they reach the proper age. On top of that, there’s the additional food expense.

“I’m sure we’ll be able to adopt them out when they’re ready,” Edwards said and then paused. “But it won’t end then. There will be more unwanted puppies and dogs. We have to do something.”

The “we” Edwards is referring to isn’t just Living Love and other pet rescues. She’s including everyone, even responsible pet owners.

“There’s a huge problem with homeless or unwanted pets in this area,” Edwards said. “People aren’t even aware of it. Even pet owners.

“It’s not enough anymore just to get your pet spayed or neutered,” she added. “We all have to do more.”

That more can be as simple as making donations to groups that promote spaying and neutering such as Marble Falls Pet PALS (petpalsmarblefalls.org), which provides low-cost spay/neuter services, or Living Love Animal Rescue, which works to find homes for dogs and cats.

Volunteering with such organizations is another way. People can help at the shelter as well as serve in outreach roles, taking the message of the importance of spaying and neutering into the community.

The Plus 10 are lucky. Many dogs and cats, Edwards pointed out, end up living on the street or in the wild.

“I’m just asking the community to help where they can,” Edwards said.

People can send donations for these puppies’ care to Living Love Animal Rescue, Plus 10 Puppies Fund, P.O. Box 1266, Marble Falls, TX 78654. Another way to support Living Love is by visiting the Living Love Animal Rescue Thrift Store, 905 Third St. in Marble Falls. The store is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Go to livingloveanimalrescue.org for more information.

daniel@thepicayuen.com

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