All About Pets: A New Year’s Resolution – helping innocent hearts

By Alyssa Landau, Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Photos by Alyssa Landau


I was talking to a friend recently about shelter animals and how most don’t even get a chance to get adopted into their forever home. We agreed that the ASPCA commercial that really brings it home is the one filled with animals wasting away in cages and looking utterly distressed with the song In the Arms of an Angel!

I often find myself turning away, muting the button, and even changing the channel because I cannot handle the idea of innocent animals being killed. It’s not because they are vicious but because there are simply not enough people that adopt.

Instead of turning away from the commercial and essentially the truth of what happens to these innocent animals, why not watch the commercial and look up the hard facts of what can really happen in the life of a shelter animal. For example, did you know that once an animal enters the shelter and the facility is already maxed out, they only have 72 hours before they are euthanized?

There are about 6 to 8 million dogs and cats each year that enter a shelter. There are a variety of reasons why these animals end up in the shelter. I can’t tell you how many times I see a shelter cat or dog’s story information sheet state that the owner relinquished it. They just couldn’t care for the animal for one reason or another.

It is heartbreaking to uncover the ugly truth that out of the 6 to 8 million dogs and cats a year, 3 to 4 million are euthanized. Now, they are not killed because of their temperament or age, not out of pity, but because there is simply not enough room inside the shelters to hold these innocent dogs and cats. Normal and healthy animals are being euthanized because people are not altering their pets or taking the time to become educated about their animals before they adopt.

I know, you are wondering why I am writing such a sad story, especially around Christmas. I would be shocked as well; but I wanted to make it my New Year resolution to help you be aware of such a dire problem that is living right under our noses. I wanted to make you aware because you can do something about this and make a difference in a shelter pet’s life!

As my own, personal New Year Resolution, I am going to volunteer at a rescue. You can volunteer at a shelter or, if shelters sound too scary or heartbreaking to you, you can volunteer at a rescue. There are so many rescues around our area (not just for cats and dogs either)!

The idea is that if even one person goes out of their way to volunteer as one of their New Year Resolutions, it could make such a difference in an animal’s life. Even if volunteering is not possible, you can always go down to a shelter or find a rescue inside your local pet stores and buy them a bag of food.

Believe me, it will make the lives of the rescuers' and animals' load a little lighter for the New Year. Every little bit, whether it is donating your time, food or perhaps even a $2 toy, means the world to animals in need.

Another way you can come together to help is to spay and neuter your pets. Not only does this limit over-population, it will give homeless dogs and cats a chance to find their forever homes. Families or individuals seeking a pet should try going to a local shelter, even if you want a purebred. Twenty-five percent of shelter dogs are purebred!

Animals, as a whole, are beautiful creatures with innocent hearts. A simple loving hug to your own animal can reflect the love you feel for them. So, show some love this New Year and join me as a volunteer at shelters and rescues. Whether you join me in my efforts to ease the burden of rescuers, or help an animal in need, I hope you have a happy New Year!