Thursday, October 15, 2009
University of Utah Research Dogs
It is only within the last few months that I learned about the University of Utah's research on dogs. When I say research on dogs, I don't mean veterinary studies...I mean medical research being conducted on dogs taken from the shelter- dogs that were going to be euthanized. These studies have been going on for many, many years, and span a variety of areas including pain studies, anesthesia studies, lung studies, and much more. Some of the dogs are control dogs, and therefore are not subjected to the "real" drugs or experiments, however many are given various drugs, procedures, etc, that some might equivocate with torture, depending on your point of view.
Many of the dogs are 'released' from the studies and are then placed up for adoption, facilitated by one very dedicated volunteer, Linda Schmidt. Linda has been helping retired research dogs find their homes since the mid 90's. Her dedication is unwavering- she has built a very nice volunteer network, and people meet daily at 5 pm to walk the dogs and give them a half hour reprieve from their kennels. She tirelessly advocates and tries to find foster and adoptive homes for dogs that have been released and has helped some 600 animals over the years have a second chance. Linda does not work for the research lab, she happens to be a scientist in her own right in a different lab. She does not conduct any testing on the animals. She is truly their angel, helping them find light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
In her words, however, many are not released- meaning, these dogs will be killed either as part of the study, or following the studies completion, never having the chance to find happiness in a loving home.
I will tell you, when I walked into the building, my chest felt an intense pressure, I could hardly breathe...I though I might pass out. The air was so thin- knowing what these dogs have endured and still seeing how hopeful they are just rips my heart out of my chest.
If any dear readers can open thier hearts and homes to a retired research dog, please, please contact Linda and she can direct you.
Please also come to a fundraiser November 12 in the Eccles Genetics center on the U of U campus, an early holiday bake and craft sale, where you can meet many of the adoptable animals. After the fundrasier, the dogs' fate is unknown.
UPDATE: Jasper, the handsome black lab/pitty mix at the top has gone into a JACKPOT of a foster home with Agnes and Brandon, who love him and have spoiled him already! Let's see if we can get a few more of these great dogs out of the kennel into foster care or adoptive homes!
Linda's email is: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact her if you'd like to foster, adopt, or volunteer to walk the dogs.
To see more photos of Jasper with his new foster mom and dad, copy and paste this link into your browser: http://picasaweb.google.com/woofslc/BrandonAgnesAndJasper#