Many people wish to help animals in shelters but are unable to foster or adopt. I recently learned of a wonderful way for concerned animal lovers to directly help shelter animals waiting to be adopted. The program, sponsored by pet-bed maker Kuranda, lets you order a bed at a special discount to be shipped directly to the shelter of your choice.
While we often focus our energies on getting animals out of shelters, we can forget that the conditions of their stay may be even more important to them. An animal that has been kept warm, clean, dry and comfortable is happier and so more likely to come to the front of a cage, wag his tail and greet an interested adopter.
Furthermore, one of the things we appreciate most about our companion animals is how they live in the present moment -- something many of us spend our lives trying to achieve. That said, making the present as comfortable as possible for shelter animals may be among the greatest gifts we can give them.
Municipal shelters are typically underfunded, their staff are overworked, and the simple things that might provide comfort to the animals in residence often go by the wayside. While shelters receive donations of blankets and towels, these items get wet, soiled and chewed up by bored, stressed animals with no other way to entertain themselves. As a result, they are frequently removed or not distributed at all, leaving shelter animals to pass their days on cold cement floors that get wet, freeze or breed germs. Add to this that many shelters, regardless of climate, house animals outdoors and you get the sad uncomfortable picture.
No matter how much hope an animal maintains, these factors break the spirit and can result in the kinds of behavioral and health factors that might deter an adopter or speed up a shelter's assessment that an animal is no longer adoptable. Many animals come in to the shelters pregnant and then are forced to birth and care for their neonates in such conditions.
Another sad reality is that despite all of our efforts to get these deserving souls into loving homes, 4 to 5 million are killed each year when not adopted. So for these animals, their time at the shelter is their last. And while securing a loving home is ideal, offering them what comfort we can is truly sacred -- an act of compassion I encourage us all to participate in if possible.
I was so excited about this program that I called Kuranda directly. I spoke to Beth who agreed to make a Kuranda bed donation to a shelter of Martha's choice on behalf of all of you Daily Waggers! Yay!
Needless to say, you DW'ers inspire me and others to help our fellow critters each and every day!
Dr. Pia Salk