Why do I inconvenience myself to help an animal in need? I’ve been known to be late for meetings, wading into the field alongside the road to call a skinny, scared dog to me and deliver him to the SPCA so that he can be helped, reunited with his owners or placed in a caring home. I’ve been known to humanely trap a feral cat, have her spade, release her, and provide ongoing food, water, and shelter to her. I’ve been known to adopt a rescue cat, a rescue dog. I’ve been known to telephone for help and wait by the side of an struggling, car-struck deer until animal control arrives to put it out of its misery. I’ve been known to contribute to neutering costs for people in financial hardship. Why, I’ve been asked, why?
The reason: because I feel deeply, can empathize with the feelings of others, and I care about the suffering and experience of individual animals. Of course animals can feel pain and fear. Of course they can suffer. I have a commitment to myself to do what I can to help, and it turns that with minimal effort, I can do a lot more than I originally thought I could. Doing so allows me to live in peaceful alignment with my values. Yes, it can be a nuisance at times, but it’s worth it. In the bigger picture, it doesn’t require that much of me, really, to help a creature to experience less pain, less hunger, less thirst, less bitter cold.
What if each of us committed to helping an animal in need? It’s so much easier to turn away, but that small sense of satisfaction that comes from bringing relief to another sentient being is a reward in and of itself. I am immensely grateful for the ability not to turn away.
Despite some of the strictest animal welfare laws in the world, thanks to its ancient spiritual philosophy of ahimsa (non-harming), India teems with animals on its streets, particularly dogs. With each litter born on the streets, canine overpopulation worsens, leading to malnutrition, untreated injuries, and the spread of disease, especially rabies.
Vishaka Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) works to reduce the overpopulation of street dogs. In cooperation with the local government, VSPCA vaccinates against rabies and spays or neuters loose dogs. VSPCA’s veterinarians use sterile techniques, pre- and post-operation pain control, and gas anesthesia when possible.
Unlike pet dogs which owners bring in and take home after the operation, street dogs need to be humanely caught and kept for several days while they heal from their surgery, then brought back to the same place for release. This is a very specific practice that has to be done absolutely right — dogs haphazardly released into the wrong neighborhood can be killed by other resident dogs.
VSPCA’s program is one of the most advanced in India, and sterilizes an average of 40 dogs a day when operated by four veterinarians. All these dogs are vaccinated against rabies, and their ears are notched for identification and protection.
VSPCA is a growing and struggling operation that also provides emergency animal care and shelter. No other similar services for injured street animals exist in the area.
You can help VSPCA in its vital work. This Gift That Gives More™ vaccinates and spays/neuters a street dog in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
From helping animals affected by disasters, providing care for starving street dogs in India and elsewhere, making strides for animals in laboratories, factory farms, puppy mills, and so much more, Humane Society International (HSI) is working to protect animals around the world. Please visit their site and consider a small holiday donation in honor of someone you love. Thank you. http://bit.ly/1g9QZhL
25 Actions to Help Animals and HSI
There are many ways to show that you care. Get involved, make a difference. Here are 25 ideas for ways you can help animals locally and around the world.
With so many widespread problems facing animals, it takes all of our collective efforts to confront cruelty and change things for the better.
Get involved in your community
- Write letters to the editor on animal protection issues and encourage radio and television talk shows to cover these topics (hsi.org is a great resource for information).
- Approach your place of worship about engaging in animal protection issues. See what the HSUS Faith Outreach team has been doing for ideas.
- Help feral cats in your neighborhood with the HSUS’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) resources.
- Ask your local restaurants and grocery stores to switch to cage-free eggs, and to protect seals by boycotting Canadian seafood.
- Take a stand against puppy mills and encourage local stores that sell live animals to stop. Ask pet stores to work with animal welfare organizations to promote animals available for adoption.
- Promote Meatless Mondays in your school, workplace cafeteria, or in your favorite restaurant. It’s a campaign that’s good for animals, the environment, and our health.
Help animals in your everyday life
- Be a responsible pet owner. Have your pet spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted births. Put a collar and visible identification on your dogs and cats and encourage others to do the same. And keep your cats safe indoors.
- Avoid supporting cruelty as “entertainment.” Do not attend bullfights, bull fiestas, or marine mammal shows.
- Add an HSI video to your website, blog, or social networking page.
- Educate yourself by signing up for email action alerts and news from HSI. Share emails with friends.
- Adopt a friend for life from a local animal shelter or foster an animal waiting for a permanent home. Search World Animal Net’s directory and choose “Pet Adoption” or “Foster Homes” under “Select Focus or Activity.” If you live in the U.S., search The Shelter Pet Project.
- “Like” HSI on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
- Eat with conscience. Practice the 3 Rs of eating. Reduce your consumption of meat and other animal-based foods, refine your diet by avoiding animal products derived from factory farming, and replace meat and other animal-based foods with vegetarian options.
- Pledge to be cruelty-free and only purchase cosmetics that are certified [PDF] to be non-animal-tested.
- Support compassion in fashion by consulting the Fur-Free Retailer program’s list of fur-free retailers, designers, and brands and The HSUS’s guide [PDF] to telling real fur from fake.
- Prepare a disaster kit for you and your animals.
- Make compassionate purchasing decisions while traveling and at home with the help of our Don’t Buy Wild guide.
- Ask restaurants that serve shark fin soup to stop by providing restaurant managers with our Consumer Cards.
- Make a personal annual gift to HSI or sign up for an automatic monthly pledge using your credit card.
- Share this list with family members and friends so they can learn how their actions can help animals, too.
Participate in trainings and events
Volunteer for animals
- Offer your time and skills to your local animal welfare/protection organization. A useful resource is the World Animal Net directory. Do make sure you are comfortable with the positions and actions of any group you volunteer for. You can also volunteer ”virtually” for groups anywhere in the world!!
- Some ways you may be able to help animal protection organizations: fundraise, manage their website or social media presence, design and produce flyers and/or advertisements, set up a community education booth [PDF], or take photographs of animals available for adoption.
Reach out to youth and schools
- Teach children and teens to respect animals with humane education activities and lesson plans. Lead Mission: Humane projects for students and animal clubs who want to help animals.
- Provide classrooms and youth clubs with our How to Avoid Dog Bites booklet [PDF]
- Give talks at local schools about factory farming and how students can help animals at every meal by avoiding factory farmed products, and by choosing cage-free eggs and plant-based foods. Encourage them to ask their cafeterias to go cage-free and to adopt Meatless Monday.
Information from http://www.hsi.org and letter from Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI Canada on My Life’s Work – Helping Animals
Photograph of Child with Dog courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and photographer Ashley Cox