Posts Tagged ‘Christmas pets’

Christmas Wish

We just got our 2011 Christmas present.  One hundred and two survivors of a horrific puppy mill in western Arkansas arrived at our shelter and Medical Center to begin their new lives of hope.  Boston terriers, dachshunds, Pomeranians, Westies, beagles, and others who have never known the feel of human kindness, affection, or compassion.  Only bars and filth, crowded cages and noise, hunger, loneliness and sickness. And even death, as a few unfortunate dogs were found dead on this property before the ASPCA came in and shut down the mill, ending the torment that has no business existing this or any other time of year.

But the holidays came a few days early for these dogs. And for us. Because taking in animals with “nowhere else to go” is our mission. And no creatures have fewer options than puppy mill survivors.  So we’re gearing up for their arrival by making room available “in the inn”—our shelter, clearing the deck on our current medical cases, getting ahead of current spays and neuters, and getting this week’s adopted animals home so we can  turn around their dens like a New York City hotel during the holidays.

“Shelters are dying out there,” Maureen, my shelter director, said to me as she soon as she got back from one of our local partner shelters. In spite of clearing the deck for these new arrivals, she had just picked up eight dogs and even more cats from a local partner shelter. And she has had dozens of calls from other shelters asking us to take “just one more dog.” So, when we open our doors to take in more than 100 dogs and puppies from Arkansas, what does that mean for our local partners? 

It’s really Sophie’s Choice. Truth is, no one has infinite room for all the homeless animals out there.  And choices do have to be made.  But to us, it’s never the dogs’ fault where they’re from. And the fact is, that there are too many animals where there aren’t enough adopters. My staff knows that we help our local partner shelters first. But sometimes, the call comes in from beyond the beltway and we have to say “yes.” Like this Arkansas puppy mill rescue.  And we’ll do everything in the world never  to say “no” to our local animals. 

My Christmas wish is for everyone who ever wanted a puppy or dog or kitten or cat, to go to their local shelter first.  And never, ever, go to the Internet. Because that is where the pipeline to the puppy mill begins. We have to stop the demand for these animals. And look to our local communities to responsibly end homelessness, abandonment and neglect. Because even when Christmas comes early, it’s still never early enough for so many who need it.

What to get the dog or cat who has everything

In this season of holiday giving, most everyone is sure to remember family members when making a shopping list for presents. And since most of our households include companion animals, who we consider family members in the fullest sense of the term, it has become commonplace to buy holiday gifts for dogs and cats. What should you get them?

People with pets probably know exactly what their animals would like in terms of a present. Most animals are extremely good at conveying this sort of information to anyone who is paying even a little bit of attention.  So you already know what your dog’s favorite treats are and what toys your cat would appreciate most of all.  But I’d like to make a suggestion.

In my estimation, the one thing that every cat or dog wants more than any other gift, the one thing that they can never seem to get enough of, the one thing for which there is absolutely no substitute is your time.

Our attention is, to our pets, the most valuable gift of all.  Perhaps you can give them a bit more of that over the holidays and into the year to come. Take an extra walk with your dog, spend a few minutes tossing a toy for your cat.  The gratitude you’ll receive will be nearly amazing. 

All of our animals, whether recently acquired or lifelong friends, whether young and rambunctious or old and sedate, will relish a few more moments of our time and attention above anything else we might give them. That’s what makes them family.

Happy holidays to you and your families from your friends at the Washington Animal Rescue League!