Getting the word out about the Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project in Houston, Texas, had been difficult. Then, a volunteer took a photo that went viral and brought much-needed attention to a serious problem.
Like many other rescue volunteers, Yvette Holzbach dedicates her own time and money to the Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project. The Project's purpose is to rescue and rehome as many stray dogs as possible. When Holzbach makes her rounds through the neighborhoods surrounding Houston, she leaves food out for the stray dogs. One day, she found a homeless dog asleep, curled up around a stuffed-animal toy.
“When I first saw this dog lying on this tattered and torn soft toy, my first reaction was, ‘Oh, how cute is that,’” Holzbach said. “But then reality really sunk in once I started taking the picture. Here is a stray dog taking comfort in a worn-out, discarded toy. How many of the dogs that we see are also thrown out on the street once they have served their purpose?”
Looking back on the photo, Holzbach remarked, “I took this picture a few months back. To be honest, today is the first time I have gone back to look at the picture. It was truly one of the saddest sights I have seen in the 5th Ward.”
Sadly, the rescue team wasn't able to bring the sleeping dog to the center because their truck was full of dogs they'd already picked up that day. When they went back for him the next day, he was gone. They have yet to find him, but the search continues.
The sleeping dog's photo is of vital importance because of the bigger problem he represents: dogs abandoned by owners, and dogs who are feral and out on the streets.
Holzbach says, “A solution needs to be found, and the best way that any of you can begin to help is by fostering. We are in desperate need of dedicated fosters so we can get dogs like this off the street. No dog should have to live like this. If there is anyone who does not quite understand what we are faced with, we welcome you to do a ride-along with us. You will be astounded at how many homeless dogs there are.”
Many rescue groups like the Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward Project are trying to get these dogs off the streets and into loving homes. Please help by spreading the word, donating some supplies or time, and sharing this story with your family and friends on Facebook.