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8/19/2019
Dog house

Failure isn’t bad when it turns out to be helpful.

Ketchikan’s streets no longer belong to the dogs. At one point in the distant past, that seemed to be the case. If a dog wasn’t spotted in a street — occasionally as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle — evidence that it had been there or on a sidewalk showed up frequently, and sometimes on the soles of shoes.

Since then the community has stepped up in terms of dog control, largely due to Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s Animal Protection.

That’s not to say credit is singly assigned. The Ketchikan Humane Society, along with local veterinary clinics — Island to Island and Stonetree — as well as a community of other dog lovers, has taken on the care and wellbeing of the Ketchikan and surrounding area dog population with enthusiasm.

A testament to that love is the Ketchikan Dog Park, which is being built on four and a half acres off of Revilla Highway.

Dogs receive all the care they could hope for here, and, if one isn’t, a new living situation is found for it.

Both the Humane Society and Animal Protection work toward ensuring that dogs — and cats — are in safe homes, with an emphasis on homes.

Sometimes that requires temporary housing in foster situations. Some folks take to that and others fail, meaning they foster a dog until it wiggles its way into their hearts and becomes a permanent part of the family.

It’s a helpful failure to say the least.

All of the adoptions aren’t local, either. Not only military members stationed overseas but Ketchikan’s world travelers have been known to make the acquaintance of a dog living on the streets in another state or country, and hurdled untold obstacles to bring them home.

That’s a true measure of the relationship between dogs and the people with whom they’ve become attached.

Even with all of the happy endings such as those, millions of dogs in the United States — not to mention around the world — are euthanized every year. They don’t find a home.

All of this is mentioned to call attention to International Homeless Animals Day — today, Aug. 19.

Undeniably, Ketchikan is doing well by the dogs — and cats — in its care.