The Lancelot Challenge

LancelotUnited Hope for Animals volunteers who had the privilege of knowing and caring for Lancelot have been awed and humbled by the outpouring of interest, support, and generosity we have witnessed and received on Lancelot’s behalf. People from throughout the country, and throughout the world, rallied to help us care for this special boy, who had known too little kindness and love.

You sent him heartfelt well-wishes, blankets, toys, treats, and what money you could afford. While we are deeply saddened by his passing, Lancelot’s story has filled us with a renewed hope for a more just future. Though the sadness and suffering we confront with rescue work can sometimes seem vast and daunting, Lancelot has shown us that there is an Army of Angels, armed with compassion and generosity, waiting to meet it.

Rescuing Lancelot, and providing him with tenderness and care in the short time he was with us, was possible because of the contributions of many different people: the photographer who documented his condition, the veterinarian who stayed open late on a Saturday to receive him, the volunteers who drove him across Los Angeles to receive medical care, the foster people who opened their homes and hearts to Lancelot, the writers who gave him a voice by telling his story, and so many more. Each person involved, gave of themselves where and when they could in order to right the wrong they witnessed.

As special as Lancelot was, and as extreme the neglect he suffered, he was one of 350 homeless dogs waiting at the shelter on the day we found him. This particular shelter is just one of over a dozen Los Angeles- area shelters, which are regularly filled to capacity. Lancelot was one dog in one shelter in one city, and just one of the 5-7 million animals that find themselves discarded at shelters around the country every year.

These numbers are staggering, and the scale of the problem is far beyond what any individual can address. However, with many hands and hearts acting in synchrony, we can build a future governed by a more ethical relationship between people and animals, a future in which pets are no longer treated as disposable consumer goods, and the population of companion animals matches the number of available homes.   Over Memorial Day Weekend, United Hope for Animals volunteers gathered at the shelter and photographed and videotaped eighty (just a fraction of the shelter’s population) new homeless dogs and cats in Lancelot’s memory, and in the coming weeks we will be working to find each one foster and adoptive homes.

We invite you to join us and participate in The Lancelot Challenge: Do one thing to help one animal in your own community, in Lancelot’s honor.

What can you do?

  • Enrich your life by adopting a dog or cat from a shelter or a rescue group.
  • Foster a dog or cat from a shelter or a rescue group, and provide a homeless pet a safe place to crash. Donate money to your local shelter or rescue group.
  • Donate needed supplies to your local shelter or rescue group. Often needed items include blankets, leashes and collars, crates, and kitty litter, but ask your local shelter what they need most.
  • Clear out your clutter and hold a yard sale to benefit your local shelter or rescue group.
  • Indulge your sweet tooth and host a bake sale to benefit your local shelter or rescue group.
  • Volunteer with your local shelter or rescue group.
  • Talk to people about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.
  • Have your own dog or cat spayed or neutered.
  • Arrange to have an unaltered dog or cat spayed or neutered.
  • Create a poster or video to help educate people on how spaying and neutering their pets can prevent suffering and help end the crisis of pet overpopulation.
  • Invest time in teaching your dog to be a good citizen.
  • Volunteer side by side with your good citizen pooch in a nursing homes or hospital. Teach your children how to care for a pet. Join an animal welfare group at your school.
  • Gather some friends and start an animal welfare group at your school.
  • Prepare a presentation and talk to a classroom about how to care for a pet.
  • Educate yourself and become breed aware. Bully Breed dogs are often mislabeled and misunderstood.
  • Lancelot was probably a Dogo Argentino-Pit Bull mix, and was one of the sweetest dogs we have met. Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes often crave more loving human interaction than some other breeds, and they aren’t impervious to pain, hunger, and neglect.
  • Help spread breed awareness by talking with people about how loving and gentle Bully Breed dogs often are.

Contribute in a way that best fits your time, talents, and resources. If you aren’t in a position to foster and adopt, consider donating. If you aren’t in a position to donate money, consider donating your time by volunteering at your local shelter. Or tap into your creative side and help educate others on animal welfare issues, such as spaying and neutering.   Let us know what you do “In memory of Lancelot” here and on Lancelot’s Wall. This will be Lancelot’s legacy.