By, Kelly Behr
Native Foods Cafe
This season everyone is in a giving mind set. It is such a happy time of year as you see the red kettles lining the streets, toys and food being collected in many buildings' lobbies and many offices gathering together to make donations to groups in need.
I appreciate this generous spirit so much. We also must remember our four legged friends during the holidays too, which fortunately for them, is a great time to find their forever homes. However, the dogs and cats left in the shelter could use your help too.
I think people also like to know that their money is being put to good use and, when it comes to animal shelters, I assure you it does. As a volunteer I see how dependent the shelter is on donations, they just wouldn’t be able to survive without them. It takes a lot to care for these animals while they are awaiting adoption. It goes beyond food and water. Some dogs and cats come in very sick, or had been in a fight, or neglected and these animals can require anything from antibiotics to complicated surgery procedures. Trust me, I have seen it all.
Aside from those drastic measures, these shelters become the animal's home. Shelter life is stressful, these dogs and cats might have come from homes where their owner has come across some circumstances where they can no longer take care of them. Suddenly they are in a kennel that is loud with a lot of other dogs or cats and are not acclimated. By offering them more comfortable environments with toys and blankets and having large outdoor play pins for them to run and exercise makes this easier. This helps the dog remain as happy and as healthy as possible. And you make this possible.
"See that toy? I am going to bring it to you and you are going to throw it, I am going to want to do this about 1000 times." – Buddy the pitbull mix
"Did you want to come see my club house? I know Fozzie the teddy bear is quite excited about being invited." – Raina the boxer mix
Shelters need blankets, bowls, litter boxes, travel kennels, dog toys, cat toys, newspaper, leashes, etc. They will usually post a wish list on their website so if you are unable to make a monetary donation but have things maybe your pet isn’t using anymore, a shelter will find a use for it, I promise. Most shelters have fostering programs as well and they like to give the foster parents everything they need to care for their animal while they are generously housing it. I had an influx of foster kitties for about 6 months and my shelter gave me everything I needed to raise them until they were old enough to be spay and adopted, I was only in charge of feeding and loving them.
"Umm, what's with all the feline friends suddenly, I am trying to nap." -Tink, my dog.
I also encourage people to visit their local shelter they may be donating to and see first hand where your money is going. Take a tour, ask questions, you will be amazed at how much work and love goes into maintaining a successful shelter and you will leave with a full heart, if not a furry critter….I’m kidding, kind of. (See all those kittens up there? Well, I am the proud owner of one of them now.)
Native Foods takes great pride in be able to make donations to animal rescue, welfare and shelters often. We pick one animal related organization on the Tuesday for Native Community Days every month in every market. So that is another way you can help your favorite animal organization is by signing them up on the website to be a part of Native Community Days.