By Jim Tedford, Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives and Alliances
The holiday season is a great time to celebrate all that is great in our lives. Although we often take “the basics” for granted -- things like a roof over our heads, a warm bed, plenty of good food and people who love us -- the sense of security is one of the most valuable asset in our lives. While most of us have plenty, there are way too many people and animals who don’t have any of the trappings that offer security and comfort.
I am fortunate to share my home and my heart with four adopted dogs. I always find it a bit amusing when I hear pet owners talk about “rescuing” their pets from shelters or rescue groups. The truth is, when I consider my dogs, I feel more like the one who got rescued! Each one of them brought something special to my life, and they enhance it every single day. I suppose it is fair to say that we got lucky and found each other.
If dogs could talk, mine would probably all share their stories of how they were separated from their “other” families, stayed in limbo for a period of time and were ultimately adopted by folks who love them deeply. Instead, they express their messages in a language only a true pet lover could understand...a language of unconditional love. Unconditional love is easier to find than you might think! All you have to do is visit your local animal shelter and you are sure to find that special "someone”.
Adopt a pet this holiday season and you will never be alone. If your local shelter doesn’t have the right pet for you, visit again and again as the population is always changing. Or visit one of the large match-making websites like Petfinder.com or Petango.com and search organizations throughout your region. If you do decide to adopt a new best friend during the holiday season, be sure to take precautions as some holiday decorations and plants can be dangerous if ingested. Don’t offer human treats to pets and make sure your new friend doesn’t get lost in the holiday shuffle!
Even if you aren’t in a position to adopt a pet at this time, there are plenty of things you can do to help. How about committing some time to volunteer once a week at your local animal shelter? They can always use help with cleaning, feeding, dog walking, lawn maintenance, paperwork, adoption follow-up calls, adoptions, gift shop work and countless other tasks. You will receive a huge return on your investment of time! Or donate money or supplies to the shelter. Cash is always in demand and even old towels and blankets are very useful! Make sure your donation meets the shelter’s needs.
Some shelters have great relationships with pet food companies and get all their food donated, so a 50-pound bag of kibble might be of little use. Check the shelter’s website or give them a call to find out what would really come in handy. You can even LIKE our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to make a difference. For every new follower and page like through the month of December, PetSafe will donate a toy to a dog in a shelter. We have 15,000 to give, and are excited to be able to do this for dogs across the country
From the PetSafe family to yours, here’s wishing you the happiest, healthiest (and hairiest!) holiday season ever!