How many times do you hear someone say, “Oh, that’s so sad”? Or, “That’s horrible!”, or “Makes me sick!” or even “I hate people!”? How many times have you uttered something similar yourself? Probably quite a bit. What did you do after you were horrified, after you remarked?
Sad truth is, most people do nothing. They’ll talk about it, comment on and share horror stories through their social media feeds and emails – and that’s about it. What does this accomplish? Awareness is a good thing – a great thing – but the animals in this world deserve more than just lip-service. They deserve action. Saying we don’t like what their lives are like, or even declaring that people are to blame, doesn’t change one thing about those precious lives.
There are so many things that you can DO to make a difference in this world – and specifically for animals – there just isn’t any excuse to do nothing. Whether you’ve got 15 minutes or 15 hours a week, you can help change the lives of animals, and begin to make the difference that will end the horror stories we rile so vehemently against.
Feel you can’t do so, with so many animals and so many causes to rail against? Keep in mind; if you so much as make life a little better for one animal – well, just imagine you’re that animal. You count, you matter, you can help.
On a broad scope, there are petitions you can sign. Yes, your signature is just one more name on that list – but it counts as one more, and imagine if everyone felt their one signature didn’t matter. Letters, phone calls or emails to legislators are noticed. When a flood of these are directed at the very people who hold in their hands the power to enact change or to reverse decisions – those legislators cannot ignore it. The more, the merrier. There is power in numbers.
To locate the numbers and basic information about your representatives, ASPCA provides an easy format. If you haven’t yet, “like” Care2 on Facebook, check out their website , as well as Change.org, and get updates from them on topics you’re interested in. Learn the do’s and don’ts of grassroots lobbying.
And take it a step further; alert the media to the issue and the number of people interested on the subject. Media has it’s way of influence! The recent outrage over Patrick the Dog has everyone on their toes, spurring national debate and future changes in laws. If you check the article, you’ll see this movement was begun by one woman, Rachel Wolf.
Speaking of legislators, do you know where yours stand on animal issues? Whether those in Congress or those in your local town hall – it’s important to back the ones who will fight for animal welfare. Going to the polls on election day unaware of the candidates’ positions can be disastrous.
And once they’re in office? Hold their feet to the fire. Insist they follow through on their positions and campaign pledges. You hold the ultimate power in your hands with your vote.
On a local level, the options for helping animals are endless. If you’re short on time, but have a dollar or two to spare – donate. Donations to local shelters, rescues, animal welfare groups add up. Never think “only a dollar” – it’s amazing how many animals can be fed if only 50 people donate a dollar!
Clean out your cabinets and closets – rescue organizations are always looking for donations of gently used linens, cleaning supplies, food that perhaps your Fido won’t eat – but they have one that will. Waste not, want not.
There are food pantries near you; although they may be well-stocked with food and necessities for people in need, chances are they don’t have anything for the pets of those people. When people are financially strapped, they generally do one of two things – either they don’t get the nutrition they need because they share their food with their pets, or they feel forced to relinquish the animals to a shelter.
Becoming weak during a stressful time or adding to the pet homeless population doesn’t help anyone, perhaps least of all the animals. So, consider donating pet food and pet supplies to your local food pantry.
In our area, there are a few churches that run pantries of one size or another. Our township gratefully accepts help for pets in need. My dear friend, who I wrote about in Only One, began a program for collecting food for less-fortunate pets with our local rescue group – and continues to this day to add extra to her shopping cart, then delivers that to the local pantry herself. She says it makes her feel good to know she’s doing something positive for pets in need; imagine how great the owners of those pets feel, knowing they now have pet food?
Also, last year a couple founded an organization specifically designed for pets in need (low-income, elderly, disabled owners) – Bruno’s Pro Bone O Pet Pantry; operating through a couple of Petco stores in the area, they gladly accept donations, and work to distribute them to those in need. Don’t have something like this in your area? Consider starting one.
One of my all-time favorite organizations is Pets of the Homeless; they have devised a way for homeless to include their pets inside shelters at night, so that both can sleep more comfortably and safer. They also collect donations, and are always looking for more businesses to function as donation/drop-off points.
If you are in a rural area, or a farming state, the stakes are high for agri-business to trod over the humane treatment of animals. If you live along the coast, sea life is threatened by corporations determined to make a buck – whether it be off the creatures themselves or on oil that threatens the sea life. You have a direct say in what happens in your backyard; it is your neighborhood, you are personally affected. Speak up! Enlist help of large animal rights organizations in your fight. Not doing anything will only encourage the bad guys.
|our two current fosters|
As for time, it doesn’t take much to make a huge difference. Local animal rescue groups are desperate for help. Whether you offer your time to directly care for the animals, or offer your expertise in a professional area, you are making a difference. All it takes is a simple phone call or check online with the website, you can get an idea of what is needed. If it’s not clear, ask. Chances are, they could use whatever services you’re offering.
|Candy and Gumdrop|
As a single mother of four, with work and household all added into the mix, until recently I volunteered with Almost Home Foundation at least 15 hours a week to help rescued pets get homes. Working on their care in the shelter and attending adoption shows doesn’t even include whatever time I spent with fostering in my own home. If I can do it – you certainly can!
It’s a matter of priorities; if you believe the animals are important, you will spend the time. Heck, watch one less TV show a week, give that time to animals at a shelter near your home! And if you have children – incorporate them in with your work. They will be better for it. And you’ll love doing it. After six years, I still do!
Finally, why crucify the human race? Saying, “I hate people”, or the like, certainly doesn’t change a thing. And it’s people you need, to work together to bring about better lives for the animals we share this earth with. Most people, quite frankly, feel exactly as you do – they just sit quietly, unnoticed. So, before you condemn the human race, instead – send out a call to action, involve people, positively.
I truly believe that if we all work together, to reduce the number of homeless pets and encourage the humane treatment of animals by humans, miraculous achievements can be made. This world can be a beautiful place, where we live in harmony with Mother Nature’s creatures, in peace.
Just please don’t only give lip-service. DO something about it. Whatever your cause.
Never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Be the Change for Animals!