Every day I read, see, hear about horrible things happening to animals. Every day I read, see, hear about wonderful things happening to animals. When will the good outweigh the bad? When will people finally understand that cruelty to animals kills the human spirit? When will the good guys, the animal lovers, the activists outnumber the bad guys? It will be when every single one of us gets off our collective asses and does something! Monetary donations to your favorite animal charity are great. That money is necessary. But what else can you do? Here are a few ideas. Make a difference. Do it today.
- Report animal cruelty of any kind to animal control, the police, rescue groups, the media, government officials - anyone and everyone you can think of. Do you know about a dog fighting ring? Learn what to do about it here. Does someone in your neighborhood chain their dog outside? This is your link. No longer can we set idly by and expect others to do what is right. Each of us must get involved.
- Foster a cat or a dog. As the U.S. economy tanked, family pets got dumped by the 1000s. Rescue groups are running out of space and resources. Foster families are a critical part of saving these animals' lives. Call a local rescue group today. Save a life. Be one of the good guys.
- Educate yourself and others. What programs exist in your community to assist pet owners? A great example? The Richmond SPCA is all about helping people keep their pets and keeping those pets healthy.
- Adopt a rescue dog or cat rather than buying from a breeder.
- Spay and neuter your animals. There are way more dogs and cats than there are loving homes. Be part of the solution not part of the problem.
- Volunteer! Give a bit of your time to animals. Volunteer at a shelter, transport animals for a rescue group, or create a fundraiser for a local animal welfare group. Do you absolutely adore one particular dog breed? Find your closest breed-specific rescue group and offer your time and talent to them.
- Think creatively. Help the animals in any way your can.
- Be a hero.
Here are four of my heroes followed by a tribute to one dog ... and all dogs:
EPITAPH TO A DOG
Near this spot Are deposited the Remains
Of one Who Possessed Beauty
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man
Without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning flattery
If inscribed over Human Ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the
Memory of "Boatswain," a Dog
Who was born at Newfoundland,
And died at Newstead Abbey
Nov. 18, 1808.