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Recycling Homeless Dogs.

Conspicuous consumption. Instant gratification. Easily disposable.
Society’s habits have caused an over-abundance of homeless dogs in shelters, rescue groups and foster homes. Today is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, and leading up to this day we’ve been provided with what seems like an over-abundance of media tips on how to be more green – by recycling, re-purposing or re-focusing our lifestyles.

Well, if you can stand one more, here’s another tip from The New Barker: if you’re thinking about bringing a puppy into your home, consider this: adopt a recycled dog.

What is a recycled dog? Dogs, who for one reason or another, had previous lives with a human being or family. Through no fault of their own, they now find themselves homeless, in a shelter – hopeful the one they love will return. For those of you reading this, you already know what will happen to these creatures if homes cannot be found for them. In fact, you may have already rescued a shelter dog by adopting one. Can you find room in your home for one more?

The Florida State Fairgrounds will be the site of the Tampa Pet Adoption Expo this Saturday, April 24 between 10a and 4p (www.tampapets.org/expo.php). You will be able to see hundreds of puppies and dogs of all breeds and sizes available for adoption. There will be the Heinz 57 breed and senior dogs available as well. These dogs have been vet checked; they will be current on their vaccinations; they will have already been personality tested.

The work that the shelters and rescue groups do up to the point of adoption means that the dogs can be better matched with their new families. You’ll be apprised of the dog’s personality traits, the needs and care required. You will probably know more about what to expect from your newly recycled dog than the pure-bred puppy you might be considering buying from the puppy store.

Tampa Pets is a partnership between the ASPCA, Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County Animal Services and more than 50 rescue groups. Formed three years ago, the partnership had a goal to reduce Hillsborough County’s euthanasia rate by 50% by the end of 2012. Their efforts have been so effective that they are on target to meet that goal by the end of 2010.

So this weekend in honor of Earth Day, you can help save Mother Earth, one homeless dog at a time. Adopt a recycled dog.

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