Life is not easy these days. I have been helping my niece lately get her life back together, and its taken a small toll financially. I've also had quite a few veterinary bills lately, yesterday alone was $240. Add that to one of my credit card balances, which the monthly payment would be enough to cover the minimum payment on a Mercedes. That’s just one credit card. Each week, if I want to continue trapping cats and getting them spayed and neutered, is $120. Its that amount at the clinic I use which I use because its convenient. And its location is necessary because of the vehicle used to transport them there. The vehicle is over 100,000 miles and now has a sensor going off, the ABS, along with squeaky brakes. This vehicle – the Catmobile – is on its last legs and I don’t want to drive it any farther than a five-mile radius of my home because if that goes, I am screwed, pardon my French. So, I am in a bad and sad position.
I look back on when I started this, and I am in no better shape than I was way back then – some 20 years ago. The cats keep coming, and my paycheck doesn’t get much better. Right now I have five cats in my ‘rescue’ (three adults, two baby kittens). They all need to find homes before I can rescue another. And there are some very desperate cats out there right now. They need to get off the street. One is on Melville, a beautiful red fluffy sweet cat that I have watched year after year go further downhill, but become much more friendlier and needy when I arrive. There is another that is on Short Street, the rat infested shelter that I recently rescued Buttons from. Her son Baby Buttons and Mr. Whiskers #2 are still there also.
I drive to the first spot at 4 am. every day with a heavy heart, and by 5:15, an hour and fifteen minutes later, I drive home with a heavier heart. When I pull into my street, I wipe it all out of my mind. I have to. But then I get the calls from well-meaning people who tell me about this cat or that cat and I just want to crawl into a hole and bury myself.
I guess my point is – I need help. Whether its help with monetary donations, or food donations, or just spreading the word for me to get the cats off the street, and out of my house, and into other homes, whether they are temporary or permanent homes, it will help. I need people to foster, I need people to say, give me your most needy on the street right now. Open up your heart and home for one of these sweet angels.
For most people concerned about animal welfare, adopting pets from an animal shelter or rescue organization is unquestionably the right thing to do – both for the pets brought into loving homes as well as to create more room and resources for animals left behind.
But when you drive by a family-filled pet store selling dogs or cats as if they were toasters, or learn about horrific puppy mills still profiting from cruelty, you begin to realize the adoption message is still not getting out strongly or widely enough.
Many people who purchase pets may feel a certain breed best fits their family needs, or subscribe to misinformation about shelters and shelter animals. But if these pet lovers were given an opportunity to learn the full range of adoption benefits – including decreasing the homeless animal population, creating more space at shelters and rescue organizations, and reducing demand that supports puppy mills – it might be enough to change their minds, save more lives, and transform their communities and community shelters.
With that in mind, I encourage anyone who’s ever rescued an animal to reach out to a potential pet owner – it could be a neighbor, a colleague, or even a family member – and make the case for adoption. Here are some key points to share.
You’re Saving More Than One Life
Of the approximately 7.6 million companion animals entering animal shelters nationwide every year, approximately 2.7 million are euthanized. Adoption not only moves an animal from vulnerability to safety, but creates space at the shelter, and moves more resources and attention to the remaining animals. Across the country, many shelters are crowded, challenged, and stretched for resources, so every free cage, every available supply, and every extra moment of care makes a difference.
You’ll Make a Match
Rescues and shelters are invested in the well-being of its animals, and many are committed to creating matches that take animal temperament, home environments, and special needs into account. At a pet store – as with any for-profit business – the prime objective is earning financial profit from the production and sale of their “merchandise,” not serving the best interest of pets, owners, or communities.
You’ll Find a Great Pet
Few people need to be sold on the value of having pets, but myths about rescue or shelter pets persist. The truth is this: the only difference between homeless animals and other animals is that the first group doesn’t have homes. No matter where they live, where they come from, or where you find them, every cat OR dog – even dogs within a specific breed – are individual animals, with individual personalities and dispositions.
You’re Fighting Puppy Mills
Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills, and everyone should know what happens there. Puppies born in puppy mills are usually removed from their mothers at six weeks of age, denying them critical socialization with their mothers and litter mates. The mothers, meanwhile, have little to no recovery time between bearing litters.
Breeding dogs typically spend their entire lives in tiny, wire-bottom cages barely bigger than the dogs themselves. They often do not receive adequate veterinary care or socialization. When these dogs can no longer produce puppies or when their breed becomes unpopular, they’re often abandoned, shot, or sometimes starved to death.
Because puppy mill operators sometimes fail to remove sick dogs from their breeding pools, puppies from puppy mills can also have congenital and hereditary conditions including epilepsy, heart disease, kidney disease, and musculoskeletal problems like hip dysplasia. Purchasing anything at a pet store that sells animals – even pet supplies – keeps this deplorable industry in business. And lets not forget the breeders. Please go to your local rescue or shelter to see if they have what you are looking for. And remember, puppies grow and so do kittens. We must end this cycle.
You’re Sending a Message
When you proudly tell others you chose to rescue an animal, you’re sending a message that individuals can take effective action to save lives, fight cruelty, and end suffering. The movement starts with one, but can expand to a family, then to a community, then to many communities.
We need to spread the word of the idea that animals deserve our love, our homes, and – just as importantly – our protection. Please share that message with potential pet owners you know. They may be just one suggestion away from knowing how vitally important adoption truly is.
Have a great day!