WHENEVER I walk up to the doors of my local animal shelter to make a food donation, tears begin welling up in my eyes and a big lump forms in my throat.
I know what I am going to see when I go in: frantic, desperate faces seeking attention, leadership, love . . . a forever home. I imagine the sense of abandonment they felt when their humans let them down and dumped them off at the shelter. My heart breaks for them.
I'm not sure if it's courage, fear or indifference one has as they drop their pet off at a shelter. Whatever it may be, it's what's inside the heart of the staff at the local shelter and those of private rescue groups that matter.
Often the surrendered dog is despondent, afraid, confused, and in some cases, aggressive, due to their circumstances. The rescue staff help these dogs overcome the stressful situation of being abandoned by their pack.
It is still an unfortunate circumstance that shelters and rescue groups are needed to help take in unwanted, abandoned and abused pets.
We all wish for a time when they weren't needed any longer but I sometimes wonder what would happen if all shelters and rescue groups just disappeared overnight.
Would this trigger a sudden sense of responsibility in those dog owners lacking it, now that they know there was no longer a "backup plan" if Fido didn't work out?
The fact of the matter is municipal shelters and private rescue groups are still needed.
We are all familiar with our local animal shelters.
If you have never adopted from one you may be making donations of food to them to show your support for the work that they do. If you don't show your appreciation by making some donation, then get off your duff and do it!
Even though they may be funded by local government budgets they still are in need of support, be it food or financial.
Private rescues are another form of pet adoption and they fill a huge void in the adoption of recycled dogs.
They have the ability to foster, train, screen potential owners and rehome dogs in forever homes with a very big success rate, due to their smaller and more personal approach to rescuing and rehoming dogs.
Being private organizations they are usually self-funded, with budgets provided from what is left of an average take-home paycheque once bills have been paid. They subsidize their funds with things like photos of Santa during Christmas, bake sales at local pet stores and adoption fees to name a few.
If these private rescues did not exist, local shelters would be overloaded with pets and I'm sure routine euthanasia of surrendered pets would be reinstated. Supporting them, even if you never plan on using them, is essential. Their work is directly responsible for saving the lives of many unwanted pets.
At times it can be a bit more challenging to adopt from a private rescue but you have to remember that they have a huge emotional attachment to the rescued dogs. Just remember that they are all trying to do the best job they can in an area of animal care that can be terribly heart wrenching.
In recognition of their efforts pet stores such as Bosleys often take donations of food, toys, dog beds etc. to be donated to private rescues. They also take financial donations by allowing customers to purchase "paws" of monetary value.
This month in particular is Pet Appreciation Month at Bosleys. You can donate at the store or online with food, toys or cash and the proceeds will go to local rescues.
Even if you never plan on using the services of a shelter or private rescue organization - in the form of adopting a dog - it is in every dog's best interest to show support by making a donation to help them continue the muchneeded service they provide.