Don't Give Up!
A few days ago I tweeted about how hard it is to watch someone give up.
That applies to shelter animals too.
Some give up right away - the very fact they've been taken from their home to the noisy, unfamiliar, very small spaces is too much.
They don't want to live anymore.
They stop eating, they stop drinking; they won't move. It's awful. It's heartbreaking. You feel completely helpless. Shelter staff do what they can but they are so understaffed and overworked at most shelters, they can't spend all their time with one animal.
It may seem like you can't make a difference, but you can. And you can change it even if you can't Foster. Here's a few suggestions:
Love, love, love
When a senior cat at my local shelter was at this stage, I bought a bunch of cans of wet food, and went every day on my lunch hour and sate with her and gave her a can of food (she wasn't eating the shelter dry food and was down to 3.5lbs and dehydrated).
Staff was beyond thrilled I had and took the time to do this; it was not a problem.
You can bring food, walk them, play with them, pet them, talk to them, read to them.
Your presence will make a difference.
They will always remember the comfort and love you gave.
Make a flyer about the animal - include what you've seen when you spent time with them then:
Post it in your neighborhood,
Post it at your Veterinarian's office
Post it at your groomer's office
Post it at your local pet supplies store
Post it at your local coffee shop
Post it on your supermarket bulletin board
Post it on your work's water cooler area
Don't forget to include the animal's shelter ID, and phone number.
Offer to meet people there to introduce them to the animal as the animal will be less frightened and more sociable with their new BFF (you) there.
Find a Foster
See if you can find a Foster for the animal while they wait for a forever home.
Time in a home, and notes from the Foster, can help get that animal adopted because there is more information about how they do in a real life environment; with kids, other people, cats, dogs, etc.
Some shelters use "overnights" for this purpose but 1 night is not always long enough to see their true personality come out.
Make It a Family Activity
Yes even an hour a day helps.
Yes even an hour once a week helps.
Yes anything helps.
How many hours did you spend binge watching a popular show this week instead of doing this? Or doing your chores, although this is way more rewarding, interesting, and fun than house cleaning and errands!
Make it a family event to go see the animal - what better way to teach your children compassion and the spirit of giving back? When you're old and peeing on yourself, you want them to find the time to see you instead of binge watching the Handmaid's Tale, right?
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