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Bulldog Spotlight: Shannon Allen and Dogs Deserve Better

April 22, 2011

Shannon Allen has a lot of guts.   She is the national rescue coordinator for Dogs Deserve Better (DDB) and  a resident of Giles County, Virginia. For those unfamiliar with the area, Giles County is a place with an ignorant mindset (my words, not hers) regarding dog ownership.  Leaving your pet  tied to the end of a chain, day after day is apparently perfectly acceptable here.    Sometimes the dogs have food and water, and sometimes they don’t.   Some have more room to move around then others.  One thing they lack in common is human interaction.

These poor animals are  often covered with ticks and fleas; some wind up laying in their own waste while confined to 5×5 foot cells.   I think the more politically correct description for the chain-link enclosures is ‘kennels’ but my blog readers should know by now I call ’em like I see ’em.

Why keep the animal at all?  I have no idea.  Perhaps many of them are meant to warn of intruders, or act as some sort of  ‘hillbilly alarm system.’

I first met Mrs. Allen around two years ago.  She was speaking to reporters about Dogs Deserve Better, and had just become the New River Valley chapter representative.   I wished her the best, but a cynical voice in the back of my head told me: “She won’t last six months.”

I was wrong.   Apparently Bulldogs come in different shapes, sizes, and approaches.  

It’s nice to be wrong sometimes.

 Despite hate mail… threats…  and a lack of cooperation from the Giles County sheriff’s department (some being fraternal members of  ‘Tie Dogs Outside’)…

 Shannon Allen keeps up the pressure.   She’s in it for the long haul.

 I agree with Shannon, things need to change.   Meanwhile, the sheer size of the problem of  tethered and neglected  dogs within Giles county is overwhelming.  She can’t possibly expect to help them all.    So why does she refuse to quit?

It’s the starfish story, taking place right here in Giles County….

“…And when  I saw her doing this I said to her, ‘Why are you doing that? You can only save a few…. what difference does it make?’

And she looked at me and she said, ‘To that one, it makes a difference….. to that one, it makes a difference….’

Shannon Allen and DDB continue to do what they do,  because to each dog they manage to save, it makes a difference.

How about an assist?


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