Charity Spotlight is a new monthly feature on twenty(or)something wherein a selected charity or non-profit organization is highlighted to bring awareness to its cause. The name of the charity and a quick-link to donation information is provided via the Hello Bar at the top of the website throughout the month, with a full-profile of the organization and/or testament to the cause being featured in its own post on the first of every month.
I may not be able to be the change I wish I could be, yet…but it’s my greatest hope that I can make a difference by building awareness with the currency I have readily available right now: Words. Knowledge. Passion.
How will you create change?
Love a dog, I’ve written time and again, and you’ll experience love in one of the purest forms.
Love a dog, and you’ll be loved that much more in return.
Love a dog and you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll find peace, you’ll find joy.
Love a dog…Just love a dog.
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He’s there with a wagging tail as I walk through the front door after a rough day at work; he’s kissing away tears as I sob through heartache, curling up next to me at night to remind me that he’s here — he’s here and he needs me just as much as I need him.
He happily digs at the dirt in the yard, chases after the cat trying to entice him to play, and throws a pull toy in the air to remind me it’s his time and not bedtime.
There are times I think I wouldn’t understand the pure joy and beauty of love if it weren’t for them.
And every day, I think my home wouldn’t be a home without him here, my heart wouldn’t be as full without him to fill it up.
I don’t know where I would be without Riley. I could say that I saved him when I adopted him from the Humane League of Lancaster County, when I took him outside to play on one of my volunteer days, immediately knowing that I loved this dog, that he would be coming home with me, that he would be a part of my life…
But, truth be told…
They have a way of making you feel alive, as if you’re living for a purpose, and that purpose is simply to love them back. They are the best friend that you never forget, the family you can’t live without, the very essence of what love and forever means…
Just looking for a forever home. Just looking for their home.
Just waiting for you.
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Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was the first humane organization in North America and has been a voice for injured, abused, and homeless animals for 145 years. The ASPCA is the leading provider of animal welfare and includes programs such as: animal behavior, poison-control, legislative research and services to protect animals under law, counseling services for bereaved pet-parents, anti-animal cruelty and humane education, and shelter outreach.
According to their website, the ASPCA “is the first humane organization to be granted legal authority to investigate and make arrests for crimes against animals. [This] organization provides local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals and serving victims of animal cruelty.”
Just the Facts: Animal Shelters
(source: Humane Society of the United States)
- There are an estimated 6 – 8 million dogs and cats entering United States animal shelters each year, with half of those being euthanized due to lack of space and financial resources.
- Less than 2 percent of lost cats and 15-20 % of lost dogs are returned to their owners and homes, with micro-chips and tags being credited for their identification.
- Nearly 25% of the dogs who enter local shelters are purebred.
- Ten percent of the animals received at shelters are spayed or neutered, and it’s estimated that 75% of all owned pets are neutered.
- Every five in ten dogs and every seven in ten cats are euthanized because of over-crowding in shelters, as there is no one to adopt them.
Just the Facts: Animal Cruelty
- It’s estimated that 4 million dogs are bred in puppy mills across the United States each year, with Lancaster County having the highest concentration of puppy mills in the nation (Living in Lancaster? Join United Against Puppy Mills in the fight against puppy mills).
- There are approximately 900 – 2000 cases of animal hoarding each year with a quarter-million animals being affected and neglected, wherein the owners are unable to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, shelter, sanitation, and veterinary care for their pets. (Learn more about animal hoarding here.)
- Dating back to the 1750s, dog-fighting has recently reached the mainstream media with high-profile cases; however, while the number of people involved can’t be determined for its underground nature, it’s estimated that this number reaches into the ten of thousands, with that many more animals being killed for senseless “sport.” (Read more about the fight against dog fighting here.)
- Equine and farm animals, animals in the entertainment industry, and exotic pets are others who have faced cruelty at the hands of humans — find the facts here.
The first step is awareness and education, but that is never enough when it comes to protecting these animals who are naturally ingrained to protect, love, and trust us, just as we should consider ourselves blessed enough to have them to protect and love in return.
I’m highlighting the ASPCA this month — as I have and will continue to advocate for all animal welfare causes — because this is the one that stirs my soul, the one that sheds tears, the one that turns those tears into fuel for a fire that any innocence can be so mistreated…
…and that this mistreatment can possibly come from our hand.
How You Can Help
As a society, we tend to look the other way, turning the channel or closing newspaper and pleading willful ignorance, lamenting and sympathizing after the fact, wherein compassion follows the crime rather than working to prevent it.
Action can happen now.
Visit ASPCA.org or the Humane League of the United States (HSUS.org) to find further information on how to help shelter animals or fight animal cruelty on a national level. If you so choose, donations are accepted for these non-profit (501(c)3) organizations directly through their websites or, for the ASPCA, via the widget on this site’s sidebar.
Your local SPCA or humane league always welcomes volunteers to help with fundraising, legislation, community development and awareness, and direct animal care.
Start a donation drive for your local organizations at work or school: gifts-in-kind (anything from food and treats to toys to blankets, sheets, and old towels) can provide the animals with that little piece of comfort as they wait for their forever family.
And when you’re ready for that forever friend to come home to you, consider adopting from your local shelter.
Educate yourself. Help raise awareness in your community.
Take a stand. Be their voice.
“Shelter dogs aren’t broken — they’ve simply experienced more life. If they were human, we would call them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell, stories to write, the ones dealt a bad hand and responded with courage. Do not pity a shelter dog.
– Pedigree Adoption Drive –
Disclaimer: I am not professionally affiliated with the ASPCA, HSUS, HLLC, or Pedigree.