Happy and healthy New Year to you all, and of course to all of your pets!
I thought we’d start 2008 on a charitable note as typically at this time of year animal charities need all the help they can get, when unwanted four-legged presents are tragically abandoned.
We’re all familiar with the big national animal charities and organizations; with their big marketing budgets, shiny purpose-built offices and impressive TV campaigns. But please also spare a thought for the smaller local ones, such as Sussex Pet Rescue and Cat Welfare Sussex, who don’t get left massive legacies and really do rely on kindness, generosity and voluntary help.
But whatever size of animal charity they all do a truly amazing job, and this month, they’ll once again be under tremendous pressure. Because the annual pilgrimage of the selfish greedy ‘owner’ who goes and dumps their unwanted puppy or kitten will be well underway by now.
Confused fluffy leftovers from the festive season, presents given by thoughtless people to reluctant recipients, who have already decided that a pet was a bad idea in the long-run. It’s a sad scene, not only here but all over the world; and we can only be grateful to all those rescue centres willing to take them in and find new and better homes for them.
It is the old, old story of the responsible resolving the chaos created by the irresponsible, with the poor pet as the ‘pig’ in the middle. These marvelous charities are snowed-under with calls and visits. ‘We never wanted the pet in the first place’ and ‘the pet did not turn out as we had hoped’ are common excuses. The list is endless and the charities have heard them all before. The real truth is that they never considered the implications of pet ownership and are now not willing to adjust.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Rarely, someone will ask ‘What can I do to help?’, but it’s not enough. These animal charities desperately need our help, and you as an animal lover can really be of great service to pets which have been abandoned. The charities don’t run on fresh air. They need our support and our money, always spending what they have wisely.
Charities are also crying out for responsible dog walkers, cleaners, blankets, food and fund-raisers; and with the unbelievable identity-muddling ‘Rent-a-Pet’ craze recently hitting our shores, please consider the free alternative: If you’re in a situation for whatever reason where you can’t own full-time a pet of your own, then helping at a rescue centre is a wonderful way of enjoying animals without the permanent commitment. Who knows, if your situation did change, you may well me walking the same dog in 2009 and beyond, as your own loving pet?
Have a wonderful 2008 – You and your pets.
For more information about local animal charities, please contact Sussex Pet Rescue on 01273 553735 or visit www.sussexpetrescue.org.uk; or Cat Welfare Sussex on 01273 423861, or visit www.catwelfaresussex.com.