Economy: Up To 1M Pets Displaced & How To Help

by Mary Haight on February 24, 2009

Emma, at the Seattle Animal Shelter
Image via Wikipedia

Ed Sayres, CEO of the ASPCA discussed the state of the economy and its potential effect on pets lives in a recent national alert.  He went on to say that animal shelters and rescues across the nation are going to be seeing an increase in intakes and a corresponding decrease in donations.

This is already happening.  Adoptions have decreased in areas, although no statistics are available at this time, donations are down, and pets in need of expensive medical treatments are up significantly by all reports.  So here are some ways to help without breaking your own bank.

If you have time, please consider donating it, playing with cats or walking dogs.  If you have old towels or blankets you are going to toss, please donate them instead.  Shelters always need towels.  If you are going to add to your pet family, adopt rather than purchase.

Donations are needed, but you need not rely only on your own resources. Many shelters are involved in community events like Marathons or Walkathons, where you can raise funds at your workplace or in your circle of friends and relatives to back a runner or walker.

If you have a blog, social network, or website you can raise funds through those channels, alerting the shelter as to what you are doing and asking for the logo and link to their donation page.  All donations online are secure and private.  Shelters can provide you with a background paragraph, you can follow that up with the story of why you are working to gather support for them, set a time limit, and with the link and notification to your network, you are off to the races. 

Every little bit helps! Remember to report how much was raised during the campaign as well as at the end and thank everyone who contributed with a final paragraph on your site.  The organization should have a list of everyone who donated from the donation service they use–check with them that they receive this information so they can sent appropriate receipts to all donors.

If you need to relinquish a dog or cat, don’t wait until the last minute to try to find a home.  If you are moving, start two months in advance of that date. Canvass your friends, family, and colleagues before you call a shelter.

If you do not get an immediate commitment  from anyone, call several shelters, tell them what you have done, why you need to give up your pet, and what your time constraints are.  Find your vet records or a get a copy from your vet’s office.  Write up a couple of paragraphs about your pet, their quirks, fears, and favorite games and toys. Determine what might be available  where should you not find a home through your network.

Never put an ad in the paper or on Craigslist for “free to good home.”  Dealers who sell to research facilities and dog fighters looking for bait dogs pose as human beings looking for a pets.

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