County animal shelters and private humane societies on the Central Coast help find new homes for countless pets every year.
However, other parts of California are struggling to care for all the dogs that end up in shelters. Consequently, hundreds are put down each year.
A woman in Creston is on a mission to stop that by rescuing dogs with more life to live.
Charlotte Meade has a soft spot for blind dogs.
“In fact, Liz from Modesto dog pound is an example of a blind dog who doesn’t miss a beat,” Meade said.
Meade doesn’t miss a beat either. With the help of volunteers, she’s caring for 36 senior and special needs dogs at Meade Canine Rescue in Creston.
“We’ve had as many as 90 [dogs], maybe 95,” she said. “California has enormous dog population problems.”
Every day, Meade receives messages from overcrowded shelters hoping she can take some of their dogs otherwise destined to be euthanized.
“We try to take the dogs with nowhere to go, with no help, you know, nobody who wants them,” Meade said.
However, when they get to Meade Canine Rescue, she says their health and happiness often improves dramatically.
“They stay here until they get adopted or as long as they live which is way longer than we ever expect.”
Meade says some of her oldest dogs are 17 or 18 years old. Had the dogs been stuck at the pound much longer, their lives could have been cut short.
Los Angeles City Animals Services had to put down over 1,400 dogs in the last year. According to the ASPCA, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized across the country each year. Fortunately, that number has dropped by more than a million in the last seven years, in part because of groups like Meade Canine Rescue.
“I’m figuring they didn’t have very good lives to begin with so we’re going to give them great endings,” Meade said.
When she rescues a dog, the first thing she checks is whether it’s been fixed.
“I do really highly recommend spaying and neutering and at any age,” she said.
Meade says having your dog spayed or neutered is the number one way pet owners can help manage California’s dog population.
Her other top tip is to prioritize your dog’s death health.
One of her most unique looking rescues is Snowflake. He doesn’t have a lower jaw because his mouth was completely rotten when Meade got him, but she says he’s much better off without it. Snowflake is one of many dogs at her shelter who have needed extensive dental care.
Of course, the hardest part of her job, and for any pet owner, is saying goodbye.
“I always say to people, if you think it’s the day, go to the vet and think about it. Take the dog home for a night and then go back,” Meade said. “I’ve seen too many people destroyed wondering if they did something too soon.”
Most of Meade’s dogs pass naturally, but she does turn to euthanasia is they are obviously uncomfortable.
Until then, these truly lucky dogs are living life to the fullest and could be the perfect addition to your family.
“If you can give that dog love for year, for three years, you’ll get so much back.”
Meade works closely with all our local shelters and encourages prospective pet owners help Clear The Shelters by adopting from Meade Canine Rescue or any of the following:
- San Luis Obispo County Animal Services – 885 Oklahoma Ave, San Luis Obispo
- Woods Humane Society – 875 Oklahoma Ave, San Luis Obispo
- Woods Humane Society North County – 2300 Ramona Rd, Atascadero
- Santa Maria Animal Shelter – 548 W. Foster Rd, Santa Maria
- Santa Maria Valley Humane Society – 1687 W. Stowell Rd, Santa Maria
- Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART) – 2638 Main St, Cambria
- Lompoc Animal Shelter – 1501 W. Central Ave, Lompoc
- Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society – 111 Commerce Dr, Buellton
- Santa Barbara Humane Society – 5399 Overpass Rd, Santa Barbara
- Santa Barbara Animal Shelter – 5473 Overpass Rd, Santa Barbara
- Dog Adoption & Welfare Group (DAWG) – 5480 Overpass Rd, Santa Barbara