Monday, June 6, 2011

Help Animals in Need -- They Need You!

The weakened economy, the unchecked pet population, the inability to care for one's animals due to illness... these are just a few of the factors affecting companion animals in our country today. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 3 to 4 million pets go into animal shelters across America every year, and less than half get new homes. The Doris Day Animal Foundation estimates millions of other pets are simply abandoned, left to fend on their own in apartments, houses, urban streets and country roads.

Animal shelters, Humane Societies, and pet rescue organizations throughout the United States are stressed to the max with abandoned, neglected, unwanted animals, as well as those pets whose owners can no longer care for them due to illness, death or economic conditions of the pet guardian. What can be done?

These organizations are doing their very best to place animals into new, loving homes. However, there are things we, the general public, can do as well, and not all those activities involves adopting an animal. Some of us cannot adopt, but there are many other things we can do to help animal welfare organizations care for and assist animals in need in our own community or region.

Chester, the dog pictured on the left, was a handsome Springer boy who went into rescue and needed a new home. I helped him get there simply by being part of the team which delivered him to his new home. I have been involved with transporting dogs for various groups as those organizations seek to get the pet to its new home, or as the organization brings it from a kill-shelter (or even an abused owner situation) into a rescue situation. I've transported primarily Springer Spaniels, but also other breeds, large and small -- all these creatures have touched my heart with their need for love and companionship! I enjoy helping an animal get out of a terrible condition/situation into a loving, caring environment. This takes a few hours of my time every few months, and yet I know how critical this transporting activity is for the animal's welfare. Many people across the United States help transport pets from one place to another; without these willing partners, rescue groups (and the animals themselves) could not be helped. Transporting is a volunteer job -- you pay your own gas and don't get reimbursed for your time. However, the knowledge that you've done a vital service and helped an animal in need -- WOW, WHAT A FEELING!

Volunteers are vital to rescue and other animal welfare organizations, and there are many ways a person can volunteer. Some of these endeavors take lots of time, others take only a few hours a week. Even if you don’t have innumerable time to volunteer, you can still be part of helping animals in need.

Here are some ways in which you can help your local animal shelter, Humane Society, or animal rescue organization:
Donate time to walk and play with dogs.

Donate time to brush and play with cats.

Serve as a foster parent, providing a temporary home to injured or orphaned animals, those awaiting a new home, or mothers with very young kittens or puppies.

Transport pets going into new homes.

Assist with fundraising and other special events.

Help landscape and/or clean the facility.

Donate products, such as pet food, toys, treats, laundry soap and cat litter.

Donate money.

Collect aluminum cans, take them to your local recycling center, and donate the money you receive from that aluminum to the animal organization in your area.

And, don't forget your own pets -- make sure they are spayed/neutered so they aren't adding to the pet overpopulation problem; insure their vaccinations are up-to-date to protect them and other animals in your neighborhood, and please put a collar with ID tag on your furry friends so they can get back home faster in case they become lost.

Visit with a representative from the animal welfare group you’re interested in helping and see what their needs are that volunteers can provide. If you don't know what organizations are in your area, visit, look up your state and city, and learn about the animal welfare organizations in your area. Then, contact them and let them know you'd like to help in some way and learn about the organization's needs. These groups rely on volunteers to help in many different ways. You will be amazed at the difference you can make in the lives of homeless pets in just a few hours a week or even a few hours each month as these animals await their loving, forever home!

Be part of the positive solution regarding the issue of pet overpopulation and pets in need by giving of yourself in some small, or big way!

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