Working at an animal shelter is an amazing experience. But, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t come with its share of emotional highs and lows. On the one hand, I see families being made whole when they adopt a new pet or find their missing animal. I can’t even describe the feeling I get when I see an animal we cared for leaving the shelter with their new family. Knowing that the pet will be loved makes everything that shelter workers do each day worth it. On the other side of the coin, I see neglect, irresponsibility, abuse and homelessness resulting in suffering and tears. Sometimes they are my tears, but, other times, it’s the tears of the person turning in their beloved friend because they no longer can care for them.
As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but think about all of the animals that have touched my life and maybe touched yours as well. No matter what unspeakable horrors they may have suffered before arriving at the shelter, I know that our efforts positively changed their lives. I would like to share with you just a few of the animals we helped this year:
- Miracle, the 4-month-old beagle mix puppy, who survived a hit and run car accident. Her badly broken leg required specialist surgery. In foster care she healed and was adopted into a loving home in February.
- Taft, the 30-pound stray tabby, who inaugurated the “Corpulent Cat Room,” a living space for larger-than-life felines in the shelter’s Neely Cat Center. He found a home after his new parent saw his picture online.
- Abby, the 3-month-old malnourished pit bull puppy, who came to the shelter weighing under 5 pounds. She was adopted into a loving family with canine siblings and is now close to normal weight for her age.
- Wonder, the emaciated 4-month-old husky pup left to starve in a back yard. The animal control officers rescued him, he was given food and love in a foster home, and was ultimately adopted.
- Tux, the lovable terrier mix, who ate the microphone live on air during a morning show promo. He found a new home at an adoption event.
- Edgar, the sweet 2-month-kitten with a congenital heart defect. Thanks to donations to the Miracle Fund, we performed surgery to help. We did all we could to save his life, but sadly he passed away.
- Larry, the friendly pigeon, who wanted nothing more than to sit on your shoulder. He was transferred to another group who specializes in birds.
- The four German shepherd puppies kept in a 4×4 concrete pen along with their mom rescued by the animal control officers. They have all found their forever homes.
- Joey, a sweet kitten with a broken leg, suspected of consuming meth at the hands of a human. He found a new family who has sent regular pictures and updates of him cuddling with his sister cat.
As we enter the New Year, I ask all of you to have a safety plan for you pets and to include them in any New Year’s resolutions. Here are a few things to consider as part of your New Year’s resolutions:
- Be responsible with your pet by spaying and neutering them, taking them for annual vaccinations and providing them with fresh food and water.
- Always keep your pets safe and indoors when possible. When they’re outside, make sure they have a warm, dry place to get out of the weather.
- Fix your fences. Don’t let your pet run loose. Always have them on a leash when outdoors.
- Always make sure your pet is wearing identification, and, if they become lost, visit your local animal shelter every day to try to find them.
- Don’t look the other way when you see a lost pet in the community. Try to find their home, bring them to the shelter, or call for help.
- When thinking about adding a new pet to your family, consider adopting from the animal shelter. You’ll save a life.
- Get involved by becoming a volunteer or donating. End-of-year donations are still accepted and are tax-deductible.
A Gandhi quote reads, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Join me in becoming that change for animals in our community. Happy New Year to all!