I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter…the cast-offs of human society.
I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness, and betrayal. And I was angry.
“God,” I said, “this is terrible! Why don’t you do something?”
God was silent for a moment, and then He spoke softly,
“I have done something,” he replied. “I created you.”
~ Author Unknown
As many of you know I fostered a little rescue dog named Snowy for the past 3 weeks. It had been my intention to foster at some point in the future “when the time was right.” Well as these things happen, Snowy came into my life when I wasn’t yet ready for her. But as a homeless dog who would not thrive in a shelter environment, she needed someone to step up and give her the TLC until her new forever family came along.
I became a reluctant foster mom after a trip to my local rescue to provide healing to a dog not doing well with shelter life. Before I left I was asked if I would foster Snowy. I really didn’t want to, after all, I have a busy life. I have a schedule I’m trying to keep, a business I’m trying to build, sleep that needs to be had. I’m embarrassed to say my thinking, at first, was all about me. But when I learned Snowy’s story and looked into her eyes and saw that little bitty dog in need of love and care, how could I possibly say no?
Sadly, Snowy was part of the epidemic of homeless pets in our country and around the world. There are 8 million homeless animals entering shelters in the US each year. That does not include the stray and feral animals struggling to survive on the streets, possibly near where you live. There are more than a staggering 400 million homeless animals worldwide.
So with a problem this big how do we help? How do we feel like we are making a difference? I faced this question when I arrived in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to help the animal victims there. The makeshift shelter where I volunteered had more than 2000 dogs, cats and other displaced pets being taken care of. It was overwhelming. But as I went to work walking and feeding dogs, cleaning cages and just sitting and comforting those pets, I realized that the way we can make a difference is by helping the animal right in front of us, one animal at a time.
For one reason or another you may not be able to foster a pet. But you can help and your help can make a real difference for a homeless dog, cat or other animal in need.
To help you find a way to contribute here is the next installment of the “100 Ways to Help Rescue Animals” that asks would you:
26. Donate flea products (Advantage, Frontline Plus etc.)?
27. Donate Heartworm medication?
28. Donate a canine fIrst aid kit?
29. Provide a shoulder to cry on when the rescue person is overwhelmed?
30. Pay the boarding fees to board a dog for a week? Two weeks?
31. Be an interim foster to give a regular foster a break for a few hours or days?
32. Clip coupons for dog food or treats?
33. Bake some homemade doggie biscuits?
34. Make purchases through IGIVE via the rescue’s website so they can earn commissions?
35. Host rescue photos with an information link on your website?
36. Donate time to take good photos of foster dogs for adoption flyers, etc.?
37. Conduct a home visit or accompany a rescue person on the home visit?
38. Go with rescue person to the vet to help if there is more than one dog?
39. Have a yard sale and donate the money to rescue?
40. Be a volunteer to do rescue in your area?
41. Take advantage of a promotion on the web or store offering a free ID tag and instead of getting it for your own dog, have the tag inscribed with your Club’s name and phone to contact?
42. Talk to all your friends about adopting and fostering rescue dogs?
43. Donate vet services such as a spay or neuter each year or some vaccinations?
44. Interview vets to encourage them to offer discounts to rescues?
45. Write a column for your local newspaper or club newsletter on dogs on dogs currently looking for homes or ways to help rescue?
46. Take photos of dogs available for adoption for use by a local rescue?
47. Maintain web sites listing/showing dogs available?
48. Help organize and run fundraising events?
49. Help maintain the paperwork files associated with each dog or enter the information into a database?
50. Tattoo a rescued dog?
“We must do that which we think we cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
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Please don’t wait for someday to make a difference. For many, someday never comes.
How will you help an animal in need today?
For the animals,