Armchair Animal Activism (it works)- Part I

From the comfort of your living room, you can have an impact on humane treatment of animals.  This is part I in a series that provides ideas on how to do so.  Today’s topic is the hundreds of thousands of homeless, unspayed/unneutered dogs and cats in the South.

Several thousand rescue dogs are transported yearly from the South to the Northeast for adoption.  Why?  The cultural norm in many places of the South is not to spay and neuter, and in many places, not to inoculate pets against disease. There are millions of homeless dogs wandering around—and starving—in the South.  There are several thousands in high-kill shelters, because adoption is not a common practice either.

You can do something about it. Cultural norms are shifted over time through the steady application of change. For example, remember how we used to call humane organizations “pounds” and homeless pets “strays”? That gradual shift away from “pound” has had an impact on how people perceive humane organizations, and the introduction of the word “rescue” to adopted animals positions the rescuers to have the added benefit of feeling good about themselves.

But back to the Southern dogs. I was told by owner of Main Line Animal Rescue that the way to make an impact on treatment of dogs from the south is to write letters to the editors of the papers there. Below is a sample letter you can use or adjust as you see fit. Search this link ( http://www.50states.com/news/ ) to identify newspapers. Copy/tailor and email the letter to the editor—be sure to include your contact info, or the editors will not publish the letters.   Thank you!

your name
address
phone
email

date

Dear Editor,

I have a friend who had good fortune to adopt a sweet dog from Alabama via a Pennsylvania animal rescue. “Finn” is a hound mix and is doing well despite a rough beginning: unneutered, homeless, and unvaccinated, Finn contracted distemper, from which he has recovered, despite lingering gait issues.

I’ve learned that in areas, spaying/neutering, and vaccinating pets are not always common practice.  Yet pet overpopulation is rampant, and in many states hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are homeless and die slowly from starvation, disease, and injury. You can help prevent pet overpopulation and suffering.

Please consider the benefits of spaying and neutering—this prevents unwanted animals from being born, improves the animals’ disposition, and is not perceived as loss by the animals.  Here is a link: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/low-cost-spayneuter-programs where you can find low-cost clinics in your area.  Alternatively, please consider asking your local vets to provide this community service, for the good of the animals and the community (and good PR for the vet).

Respectfully,

[your name]

 

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Empath, Voyeur or Action? What Type of Advocate Are You?

DSC_0135 2by Gretchen Pachlhofer, co-founder of www.untoldanimalstories.org

Let’s face it.  If you are reading this blog, you are an animal advocate.  You love to read stories about animals and nature.  It touches that chord, deep inside you, the place that very few humans allow themselves to venture. It’s a special place deep within ourselves that we tuck tightly away for fear of our true feelings being exposed to those around us. That is the source of the feelings that allows us to honor animals.  Animals allow us to stop, and feel, and experience being in the present moment.

Empathy for animals is the key ingredient that allows us to take the first step in helping all creatures great and small. Whether it be a stray cat, a dog that has been dumped on the side of the road, or a bird that has fallen out of the nest, there is no way we can just turn away and ignore the situation.  If you choose to actually stop and do something to contribute to the given situation, you have just entered the world of being an Action Advocate. Congratulations!

Another choice is to be a Voyeur Advocate for animals. You read the blogs, you identify with the feelings that are unlocked inside as you immerse yourself in your own private reading experience. It make you feel good to read all the wonderful stories that others have chosen to share. Now, I’d like to just toss this out to you—what would happen if you made the choice to take the next step and actually DO SOMETHING to help animals? What would it feel like to actually BECOME an Action Advocate?

I want to share my recent story with y’all (yes, I am from Texas) and hopefully you can take the giant step forward and join me.

I recently relocated to a rural area of the Texas Hill Country.  I sold my business and now have a choice to continue to make a difference for animals.  I found a group of women who run a shelter located on a ranch in acute need of regular volunteers to help care for the dogs and cats in their facility. I chose to make a commitment to volunteer once a week for 3-4 hours.  Volunteering is such a rewarding experience and the animals give back ten times of the effort I give weekly.  I jokingly call it my “therapy time” but there is a lot of truth to that statement.

So all of you reading this, I want to throw something out to you.  Over the next couple of weeks, think of something you can DO for animals, then TAKE ACTION and do it. And then, if you feel inclined, chime in and tell us what you did.  This is not a contest.  The purpose is to create a community for Untold Animal Stories for all of us to share and become more interactive. Email us at untoldanimalstories@gmail.com