Thursday, September 10, 2009
By Linda Cole
Pet owners understand the cost associated with caring for their pet or pets. Food, vaccinations, flea control, toys, beds and medical assistance when needed – it all adds up far too quickly sometimes. Shelters deal with financial challenges every day. Regardless of whether our economy is up or down, abandoned and lost pets who have found their way to any shelter need the continued generosity of others for food, shelter and medical care. “No kill” shelters are located in most states, and costs can be staggering. Fortunately, pet food companies like CANIDAE donate food to shelters to help out. However, most shelters still rely on the generosity of individuals who can donate money to help pay for everyday expenses, medical treatments and medications for those animals who are sick.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in 1866 to fight for the rights of animals, both domesticated and wild. It is the oldest and first organization of its kind that gives animals a voice and has continued to fight for stricter laws against abuse and cruelty against all animals. They also share their resources with shelters throughout the United States.
We have a small local shelter that no longer accepts unwanted or stray pets simply because of a small yearly budget and not enough space. Our shelter helps local residents pay for spaying and neutering so money is extremely tight for them. They do receive donations of food, which is a big help, and they are passionate about promoting spaying and neutering to help reduce the number of kittens and puppies born that may become the next generation of homeless pets. Most no kill shelters and the ASPCA actively promote and educate the public on the importance of responsible pet ownership to help people understand why they should alter their pet. In order to help our shelter, which is at full capacity, a handful of us try to take in pets needing a home. Sometimes it's only for a short period until that pet can be placed in a new home, but usually we become their new caretakers. So I understand the cost associated with caring for multiple pets.
Money isn't the only way you can donate to the ASPCA or local shelters. You can help out by giving your local shelter time. You could be asked to help with office work, organize donation campaigns, groom pets, unload donations of pet food, exercise dogs, play with pets, clean cages or even be a foster parent for a pet needing some TLC after an illness or surgery. Time is just as important and appreciated as money if you can't make a cash donation. Shelters depend on volunteers to help stretch their yearly budgets.
The ASPCA is at the forefront in the fight against animal cruelty. Stricter laws imposed on those who are found guilty of being cruel to pets are largely due to the work done by the ASPCA and other organizations. Shutting down puppy mills is a never ending fight and the ASPCA is doing everything in their power to educate people on how to spot a puppy mill and help get them shut down.
Why donate to the ASPCA and local shelters? Because they need as much help as they can get to give lost or abandoned pets a temporary home until a responsible and loving home can be found. The work these organizations perform on a daily basis has saved the lives of countless pets and will continue to do so as long as we continue to support them in their passionate cause of saving as many lives as possible. Cats and dogs don't ask us for a lot. Yet they give us everything they have in the form of unconditional love. The least we can do for them is help out the organizations who have dedicated their lives to help unwanted and abandoned pets have a safe, warm home of their own, whether it be temporary or permanent.
Please donate what you can, whenever you can –money, your time or both if possible. The life that you save with a donation could be your own pet if he/she were to ever become lost. Visit the ASPCA website for more information or to make a donation.
Read more articles by Linda Cole