Yes, I’m talking about animals again. I can’t help myself, as you may have figured out by now. But this week I really can’t help it. Tuesday was Spay Day USA (also known as World Spay Day) which is a holiday of sorts in the animal rescue community. Established in 1994 by the advocacy group Doris Day Animal League, Spay Day USA’s purpose was to bring attention to the pet overpopulation problem.*
This year, a community cat in my neighborhood was neutered on World Spay Day. It was a nice way to acknowledge the day. The Count has been living in the backyard shed, off and on, since last fall. It became apparent recently, when he was out carousing during all of these major snowstorms, that he had no home (or if he did, his people weren’t caring for him). So now he’s fixed, thanks to Animal Rescue Fund’s generosity, and he’ll go to a good home soon. And another one will be off the streets.
Well, great, you’re probably thinking. Good for The Count. Or maybe you’re thinking, this is worth a whole blog post?
It is. Because despite World Spay Day and other spay/neuter efforts, despite the best work of so many dedicated rescuers in shelters across the country, despite the homes filled to the brim with fosters and rescue pets, 2.7 million healthy animals are euthanized at shelters in the U.S. every year. That’s one cat or dog every 10 seconds, according to the Humane Society.
Sad. Sobering. Especially when I think about Shaggy, rescued from death row with 24 hours to live – an extra 24 hours a shelter worker miraculously gave her. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be here today. I can’t imagine life without that face.
It’s sad, and it’s horrible, but worst of all, it’s preventable. This problem is all of ours, and we can all be part of a solution.
How? Here are a few ways you can help:
- Adopt, don’t shop. Adopt a shelter pet next time you’re thinking of adding to your family. Look for shelters or organizations that have an “open admission” policy. Since those shelters have to take any animal that’s surrendered to them, they’re more likely to euthanize for space.
- Fix a feral – or call someone who can. If your neighborhood has a feral cat colony, there are a lot of resources available to help. Alley Cat Allies has great information on Trap-Neuter-Return on their site. And even if you don’t have the faintest idea how to set a trap or find a program to get a feral cat fixed, they can help you find a local resource.
- Make a donation. Find a rescue group, local or national, that resonates with you and support them. You don’t have to donate big bucks. Any amount makes a difference.
- Volunteer. Shelters and rescue groups are always in need of animal people to help their organizations. There are so many ways to help, like being part of a transport, or fostering an animal in need, or cleaning cages or walking dogs once a week.
- And of course, if you have a pet, make sure he/she is spayed or neutered!
The sheer number of animals in need can be daunting. Believe me, I know. And no one can do everything. But everyone can do something. Baby steps.
Readers, do you have an animal rescue story to share?
*Doris Day Animal League in 2006 merged with the Humane Society of the United States, and World Spay Day was established.