I just helped my daughter, Siobhann, write her letter to Santa. Other than asking for clothes that would fit me because "she has gotten fat," her letter was rather moving. Particularly the last item on her list...
"Please bring all the stray dogs and cats lots of good homes, families that love them and lots and lots and lots of food," she wrote. It was straight from the heart. Because of her heartfelt plea, I've compiled a short list of ways you can make Siobhann's Christmas wish come true.
1. Adopt a pet from your local animal shelter, humane society or animal control agency. Many of these pets are reasonably priced. They are usually already altered (spayed for females and neutered for males). Sometimes, they are even up-to-date on their vaccinations. Rarely these pets have not gone through some sort of personality testing to make sure they are adoptable. Go in and let a pet pick you out. They know if they will like you and your family. Ask a lot of questions to make sure you get the best pet for your family and your family's lifestyle.
2. Donate money to you local "helpers of animals." Any amount will be fine. Drop some loose change in the canisters. That will do a world of good. Monetary gifts are usually tax deductible. Ask at the front desk if you are unsure.
3. Donate items to the animal shelter. What to give? Pet food, cat litter, blankets, towels, wash cloths, and cleaning supplies like bleach. Leashes, small litter boxes (even cardboard flats), pet toys, collars and pet carriers are always appreciated. Think about what your pet uses every day and donate accordingly.
4. Volunteer at you local animal shelter. Just a few hours a week will help ease the workload of those who care for the animals. Offer to walk dogs, wash bowls scoop poop. Not your cup of tea? Play with the pets there. They call it "socialization," but we know better. This is great for puppies and kittens; you'll enjoy it as well. Ever sit in the middle of a litter of puppies or kittens? If that isn't fun, I don't know what is. Maybe allergies keep you from dealing directly with the animals, so volunteer to lick stamps, put up posters and signs or answer the phones. If you are familiar with a computer, offer to help with their website or blog. Get creative and help the animals in need and those who help them. Get your kids involved. There is a lot they can do to help as well.
5. Take a stray to your local animal shelter. It will be better than them living on the streets. They will be warm and have enough food. They will receive the necessary medical treatment or their suffering will be ended in a humane manner. They will be evaluated to see if they are suitable for adoption and every effort possible will be made for them to go to a good home.
It is pretty simple to help animals in your area. It will make you feel good. And, the animals. It isn't expensive to help - a lot of the time it is free. I know it will make my Siobhann happy to know someone cared enough to do a little something for the countless animals she prays for.