By Katy Hansen
Bringing a pet home to your family can be one of the happiest days in your life. An animal companion, whether a dog a fish a cat or a rabbit can ring years of joy and become an integral part of the family. Over the past several months however, we have been hearing far too many stories about animals being surrendered by their owners in response to hard economic difficulties. The economic crisis of the past year has taken its toll on more than just people. Animal intake at local shelters has risen substantially as millions of laid off workers find themselves unable to care for their companion animals. Many pets that have lived their life in the company of a loving family now find themselves locked in small cages not knowing what will happen to them, not understanding why they aren’t at home sleeping by the window or wagging their tail from a nice belly rub.
Surrendering your pet to a shelter is not an easy decision to make and one that should not be entered into lightly. Oftentimes, crisis — whether financial or emotional — may cause us to make decisions in haste. Before you surrender your pet, please consider these five steps. Think of it as counting to 10 before you make a decision that will affect yourself and family for the rest of your life.
per the AAHA website on 5/4/2009:
Due to depleted funds from the increased number of pets helped this fiscal year, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Foundation is temporarily suspending grants from the AAHA Helping Pets Fund. The temporary suspension is effective immediately, but the Foundation expects to resume granting funds in July 2009.
This announcement is bittersweet, as the AAHA Foundation is proud to have helped so many through difficult times; however, requests have nearly tripled since November 2008. The increased demand resulted in the disbursement of available funds much more quickly than anticipated.
“By temporarily suspending the grants, we will help provide long term stability for the AAHA Helping Pets Fund,” says Dr. Kate Crumley, chair of the AAHA Foundation Board of Trustees. “We remain steadfast in our belief that thousands of pets will benefit in the future from this short term stoppage.”
Are you a skilled craftsman, artist or technical engineer? What about trading your services for the services of a veterinarian or dog walker? You may be surprised by how willing people are to barter for computer assistance, photography services and even web design. Perhaps you could offer to build an online presence for your favorite pet food store or veterinarian.
Don’t forget, you are not alone in facing this crisis. With 6 million unemployed and millions more facing other financial hardships, there are organizations that are set up to help you and your animals. I have included a list of the larger organizations that can offer help. Please exhaust this list before giving up on your beloved pet. Remember, recessions don’t last forever but a pet’s love always will.
Here is a list, by state, of agencies that will help you and your pets: www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/trouble_affording_your_pet.html
Maybe there is a foster shelter in your area or closeby. This list may not be complete, so check with area shelters and vets, too.
Here is another national organization that can be of help during foreclosures: ?www.nopawsleftbehind.org/paws/
If you have no other options, please consider surrendering your pet to a “no-kill” shelter. To find a list of no-kill shelters, please visit www.nokillnetwork.org/
reprinted from Global Alerts website.
Further things you can do:
Check for a pet food bank in your area. More and more of them are opening up across the US. While several websites are trying to compile a complete database of these, you might check with your local ASPCA or various rescue groups and the vets in your area.
Meals on Wheels has included pet assistance in some areas.
Another link about pet financial aid.
Good luck and stay strong. This too shall pass. Believe.