In the season of giving, we remember family and friends, and are inspired to give to strangers. But sometimes, it’s the ones without voices we forget, at a time when their needs are greatest.
After all the gift wrap has been tossed away, and the last of the leftovers have been consumed, shelters are still taking care of those pets looking for a furever home. This is the perfect time, after the hustle and bustle is over, for you to consider adding one of these pets to your family, or to donate to their care, or both!
Whether it is a dog or a cat, or something a little smaller or more exotic, shelters generally have more selection but fewer customers in the cold weather months. Animals are still coming in, and with fewer going out, population pressure builds. Unfortunately, part of that pressure comes from animals that were given as gifts, and then surrendered by people who weren’t ready for that pet in their lives.
Most shelters charge a modest fee for adoption for the animals in their care, these fees help pay for the overheads incurred by the shelters. Notice the word “help”. Shelters, relying on volunteer labour, incur expenses for food, veterinary care, and supplies. Fundraising events and private donations are needed to make up the difference.
When people think of animal shelters, they generally think of dogs. Large mixed breed dogs, maybe from a northern reserve. Yes, these are a large part of the shelter community. But there are small dog rescues, and senior dog rescues, and ones that are breed specific (yes, there are purebred dogs that can be adopted). Then there are cats. Not just ferals (wild cats), but cats from all places, including purebred ones.
I’d like to take a moment in this column to mention that there are other animals out there for adoption. Groups like the Manitoba Ferret Association, of Jenn’s Furry Friends work with these animals, just to name a few. Groups like these will work with Animal Services or the Humane Society to help care for those animals a regular shelter isn’t really set up to handle. Most work through volunteers homes, without a permanent building, keeping overheads down so that they can care for as many animals as possible with limited resources. But even then, they rely on the kindne$$ of others.
MFA accepts surrendered animals, and rehomes ones that are suitable for that, and sponsors ferrets that are not adoptable for the rest of their lives in the shelter. Ferrets can be wonderful pets, but they can sometimes be too much for a person to handle, and thank goodness the MFA is there when that happens.
Jenn’s Furry Friends works with dogs and cats, but they also have a number of bunnies and guinea pigs. Finding homes for older critters can be a difficult task, as young ones are readily available, relatively cheap and don’t require a questionnaire to be filled out. But rescuing an animal means so much more, giving that animal the second chance at the life it deserves. Knowing that you have saved another living thing is its own reward, and makes pet ownership just that little bit more special.
Our pets love us unconditionally. Lets give a little of that back to those pets who have been forgotten at this time of the year where the theme of the holidays is unconditional love.