Five Ways to Help End the Pet Abandonment Crisis

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 16:21 by Dr. Jane

Dr Jane Bicks As uncertainty about the economy lingers, the pace of pet abandonment is on the rise. Largely attributable to the collapse of the housing market in 2007, the effects of which continue to ripple through our economy, nearly every state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of homeless animals. During this short time frame, tens of thousands of companion animals have been surrendered to rescue organizations, or worse, simply abandoned, left to fend for themselves.

You’ve probably read some of the heartrending stories: dogs left behind, locked in foreclosed homes; a box of kittens dumped in a community park; and families facing homelessness themselves surrendering to a shelter all of their pets in a moment of heartbreak. The problem is so severe that some shelters have exhausted their resources and are forced to refuse new intakes.

As a society of pet lovers, this represents an unprecedented situation in most of our lifetimes. Now, more than ever, homeless pets need our help.

Many of us want to provide assistance, but don’t know the best way to make a difference. Fortunately, there are five ways to reach out and make a difference to pets in need.

Pets in shelter

1. Volunteer at a shelter
Brimming with new admittances, many shelters urgently need “boots on the ground”. Volunteers are needed to walk dogs, play with kittens and greet potential adopters, as well as handle routine feeding and cleaning tasks. In some cases, you may be able to offer assistance based upon your unique skillset. If you have a knack for organization, your talents could help streamline anything from file systems to fundraising appeals. Even if you only volunteer for only a couple of hours per week, you will still be providing invaluable help.

2. Donate money
Unfortunately, growing shelter populations are not the only crisis shelters and animal rescues are experiencing. Organizations of all sizes are struggling with finances, as personal and corporate donations have dropped off a cliff. As you might expect, this lack of funding affects every aspect of a shelter’s operations, including staffing, facility maintenance, veterinary care, food and medical supplies. Any amount you can spare will be welcomed by your local shelters. Don’t fall prey to the misconception that small donations don’t make a difference. Even $5 or $10 can provide several meals for a pet in need.

3. Donate goods
If you prefer to donate physical items rather than cash, please consider donating items like food, treats, blankets or toys. In most cases, these items are sorely needed and gratefully accepted at most animal rescue organizations. Be sure to contact your local shelter to learn their specific needs prior to deciding what you’ll give. If you can’t afford to give new items, consider doing some “Fall cleaning” … because old towels dry just as well as new ones! Just like with financial donations, the gift of goods is tax deductible; just be sure to confirm that the organization you choose has non-profit status.

4. Foster a homeless pet
Fostering a pet is a great option if you’re not ready to commit to a long-term relationship with a companion animal. As a temporary adopter, you will not only provide a loving and healthy environment for a pet in need, but you will also free up valuable space and resources at rescue facilities. Be aware that many of these animals are coming from difficult circumstances and may require a good deal of patience and understanding on your part. To get more information, speak with your local rescues, veterinary schools or humane societies about foster programs in your area.

5. Adopt a pet
Lastly, the boldest and most dramatic step you can take also offers the greatest rewards. Perhaps the best way to combat pet homelessness is by opening your home to an abandoned pup or kitty. Many shelters maintain an online presence where you can review photos and descriptions of the companion animals that are available for adoption.

Even if they receive outstanding care during their stay, shelter animals experience high levels of stress, which can lead to minor illnesses (like colds). With time, love and good nutrition, these conditions usually quickly abate. If you adopt, remember to be realistic about your expectations with the pet and invest time early on acclimating your new family member to their new environment.

If you have ever considered adopting a companion animal in need, the time to act is now.

If your circumstances prevent you from taking part in any of these solutions, please keep in mind that simply by purchasing Life’s Abundance products you’ll be making a positive difference. Every order that you place results in a contribution to our foundation, which in turn awards financial grants to small rescues across the country.

No matter how you choose to help during this crisis, you will have my eternal thanks, and the thanks of the entire Life’s Abundance staff. Together, we truly can make our world a better place.

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September 22. 2010 05:35

serene chan

i totally agree with this article! i'm a cat lover n i own a cat~ i already rare my cat for 4 year from a kitten to an adult cat! i train my cat listen to our language too! however, when i saw those abandon cats,i will feel sad for them. i wish to be volunteer, but i dunno where to find the contact of them..

serene chan

September 22. 2010 08:48

kristina hiatt

Thank you for this article about concern due to increasing homeless animals.  In our case, we cannot adopt because of our 20mth old and her safety concerns, and we already adopted puppy. Sugar does really well with our daughter Sophia as we got her as an 8wk old and they have grown up together.  Sugar is now 7mths and so sweet and smart.  I wish I could adopt them all that need love, food and a nice home.  Saddens me always.  We currently feed a homeless cat that loves milk and chicken!  She has obviously been in a car accident because her foot is severed and her right eye is smashed in.  Over the last few months she looks to be getting better.  I saw her limping across the street and so started feeding her about 500ft from our house. She now comes to the front door late at night and drinks from Sugars water bowl outside to let us know she is here.  Sugar barks at her, and she just sits there waiting for her meal.  I

kristina hiatt

September 22. 2010 11:32

Joanna Hagman

Thank you for all that you do to educate animal lovers and introduce us to the current needs of our furry friends.  The most I can do at this time is to feed our two feral cats, love our golden retriever, Emma, and purchase her food from Life's Abundance.  My prayers to up for these needy homeless animals and the organizations to work to make their lives better.
Joanna Hagman

Joanna Hagman

September 22. 2010 11:55

Diane

@ serene chan:

My little shih-tzu was from a reptuable breeder. After thinking about getting a little pal for him I realized from reading and seeing  abused animals I could make a difference. So I adopted a little pup which turned out to be a papillion a little 6 month old. He was so afraid and when I picked him up he just clung to me. I have now had Tommie 3 months and he is housebroke and a joy to have around. He is also great company for my other dog Victor. Tommie still has some fear in him but he is getting better.He sticks to me like velcro.
I will now in the future adopt to help and take care of unwanted animals who are so abused from people who are mean and nasty to them. I would like to put all those peole in a cage and let them have a taste on how they treated there pets.

Diane

September 22. 2010 13:30

Linda Desrosiers

I know about how people just drop off animals to fend for themselves. Three weeks ago I found (a male and a  female) puppies in my field next to my house that someone just threw away. They are so loving and you can tell they were abused badly by how they cowl when you go to pat them. I love them both dearly and am trying to get them spayed but its hard cause I am a senior living on limited income but I am going to keep on trying everywhere to get them spayed. I adore them. They are probably about 3 mos old and so cute. Its so wrong for people to do this to animals.Please try to find homes for your animals and not just drop them somewhere. Besides not being fed they could get killed by cars or other people who hurt animals for fun.

Linda Desrosiers

September 22. 2010 13:54

Shellie

This is a great article! However, I'm surprised you didn't spaying and neutering to prevent future homeless pets. Just my 2 cents.

Shellie

September 22. 2010 14:47

Diane

  Some people don't care about spaying/neutering there animals. They are just ignorant or just plain stupid in my opinion.
Both of my little boys are neutered. When I got my rescue pup that was the first thing I did was nueter him. And then there is the $$$
that people can't afford to have it done.I have seen here in Utah they have mobile vet clinics that don't charge that much to have your pet  checked and caught up on shots or spayed/neutering done.
I actually got my rescue from "Wasatch Animal Rescue" in Salt Lake City,Utah. They work with Petco and and bring the animals there foryou to see and pick up. I am pleased with Petco. There are so many rescue groups out there and there volunteers are so dedicated in there work to help these animals.

Diane

September 22. 2010 15:45

Melanie

That is great that you are helping that kitten.  But please give her water instead of milk.  Water is much better for her and milk can actually give her diarrhea.  Keep up the great work.

Melanie

September 22. 2010 16:07

Kandice

I agree whole heartedly with everything that she said. I volunteer with the humane society in my town and am there each and every week for a total of 6-7 hours a week. I am one of a handful of regular volunteers that shows up each week. So we operate on a skeleton crew most of the time. I participate and get involved in all fundraisers for the shelter to raise money for our animals but it has been a difficult 24 months due to the recession. Each year our shelter saves hundreds of animals and they are cared for until they get adopted we do not euthanize any animals unless they are ill with a disease that is one that cannot be treated however we have seen more than the usual amount of animals coming into the shelter that were found abandoned. Also many more people calling wanting us to have their pet as they have lost their home and have to move and cannot take their pets. It is a sad sad situation. These animals in shelters are the most wonderful animals you could be lucky to have. They are ever so grateful to whoever will love them and take them home, they just cannot be beat in my opinion. My husband and I have 5 recue kittys -- all adopted from the shelter. We could not ask for a better group of cats. We love them so much and they are terrific family members. I encourage all to adopt whenever they can. If you have adopted consider it again if your circumstances allow you to. There is no greater gift than the unconditional love that you receive from a rescued animal. Trust me I know. There is not a single cat at that shelter that I would not adopt. They are all wonderful and there are many hundreds of thousands of wonderful ones in shelters all over. The one near you will have loving pets that are just waiting for someone to love them and take them home. Do yourself a favor and find a shelter and adopt your next pet. Any of the suggestions in the article are the best things to help an animals rescue organization. All of these are ways that you can make a difference. The rewards you get back are surpassing. You can't go wrong when helping those who deserve it and those who appreciate it and trust me- rescue animals appreciate you. Adopt one for yourself and see. Love is waiting to be adopted.

Kandice

September 22. 2010 19:39

JoAnne

Dr. Jane, thank you for addressing this topic as your suggestions will help the animals.  Sometimes people feel helpless and don't know what to do.  You have made some simple suggestions that will help.  Even making a $5 donation makes a different or dropping your change in the Shelter's jar in the grocery store.  It all adds up.  The Dr. Jane Foundation has saved so many lives with it's grants to the small shelters around the country and whenever you buy a product, adding the $1 adds up.
Thank you for all you are doing for the animals.

JoAnne

September 22. 2010 19:43

JoAnne

Since this article was about people abandoning their animals and not about pet overpopulation, I can see why spay/neuter was not included.

JoAnne

September 22. 2010 23:42

pat

I ALSO HELP OUT WHERE I LIVE IN NJ. AS YOU KNOW VERY EXPENSIVE LIVING HERE.MOST PEOPLE WOULD LOVE TPO NEUTER THEIR PETS BUT CAN'T AFFORD IT. I HAVE 8 IN A SMALL APT THAT I AM NOT SUPPOSE TO HAVE, I FEED ABOUT 25 FERAL CATS ADAY. I DO WHAT I CAN. I SEE FERAL GROUPS EVERY WHERE! PEOPLE LEAVING THEIR PETS BEHIND AND THINK THEY CAN MAKE IT ON THEIR OWN!THEY CAN'T. WE NEED MORE PORTABLE CLINICS SO PEOPLE CAN KEEP THEIR PETS AND ALSO GET THE ONES NEUTERED THAT ARE FERAL!!!!!!!

pat

September 23. 2010 10:52

Jacqueline



@ kristina hiatt:

That's great that your feeding the cat but I'm concerned about the cat's limping.  Is there a possibility that you can drop off the cat a vet clinic since its injured?  I can only suggest that you take the cat in order to prevent in further damage as it is limping.  I know it's difficult regarding finances since I too have been unemployed close to two years now and have 5 dogs myself, but I am able to still provide for their pet needs (i.e medical, food, shelter etc.)  Just concerned about the cat's broken paw like I said before.



Jacqueline

September 23. 2010 21:05

Linda Ashe

@ Linda Desrosiers:
there are many organizations like the SPCA, PETA and the Humane Society that either discount spay/neuter operations or can give you the names of vets who do.

Linda Ashe

September 24. 2010 12:53

Carol Sheets

@ Diane: Yes I agree to take care of the cats before unwanted wee ones are born.
My friend lives on a non-animal farm. People drop off cats she now has a count of 20+.I take my throw away food to help her feed many cats besides the cat food. I fed the cats when she was away- one small kitten has infected eyes- I took him to the vet & he gave him shots The Vet didn't charge me for the office call but now he now needs to be neutered and check to see if he can even see. I feel that he can find his way around in the barn with his friends there so I chose to leave him in his barn.  I lost my job so I do not have the $ for this but I just had to do something to help the poor little one. AND To see the look in the Ma Ma cat's eyes after she has had how many litters? PEOPLE GET WITH THIS AND HELP YOUR ANIMALS! SPRAY,NEUTER IS THE WAY TO GO  for all animals.
Carol

Carol Sheets

September 26. 2010 16:11

Linda

Dr. Jane,
I was delighted to discover your website for helping with pet nutrition problems and the natural solution to increasing their life span and other pet issues, such as abandonment. I will definitely let others know about your product and the good it does for our furry friends.
Linda Smile

Linda

October 1. 2010 20:13

Janet

Dr Jane, Thank you for this article and your great advice on how to help the abandoned animals.  I'm sure many people do not realize how bad the situation is, and what they can do to help.  Thanks again for all you do for our best friends!
Janet Roberts

Janet

October 16. 2010 05:28

Brenda

It is wonderful the work you do for homeless pets and the need is greater than ever to help because of the economy.  Luckily, living in South Carolina, the state is not only pet friendly, but there is great support here from the communities supporting the shelters.  Thank you and your staff for all your hard work and efforts on behalf of the many animals you continue to help.

Brenda

October 18. 2010 11:39

Dianna

Great Article. I am going to post on my FB page for all my Rescue and Adoption friends to see. Can you tell me how it compares in nutrients and price with EVO? dianna, director Save a Peke Tulsa

Dianna

June 2. 2012 22:47

alexsis

animal abandonment is so mean
did you know 5-7 million animals are abandoned

alexsis

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