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Rescuing a Pet

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A major crisis exists for animals across the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the virus, non-emergency surgeries were suspended around the country. Animal shelters and veterinary clinics have tremendous backlogs of spay/neuter surgeries needed by shelter pets, community cats and owned animals. 

The Humane Society of the United States is the largest animal protection organization in the nation. They like to say they fight the “big fights” to end the suffering for all animals. Some of their programs are to stop puppy mills and factory farms; to end animal cosmetic testing, trophy hunting and the fur trade; and to care for animals in crisis. 

The Humane Society has launched a #SpayTogether initiative with over 25 other national organizations to fund the procedures needed by 50,000 animals. The initiative will provide the funds and services needed to help local shelters clear their backlogs and get back on their feet. The initiative is concentrating on the eight states most affected through veterinary shortages and/or large numbers of unaltered animals: Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, California, Texas, Nevada, Florida and Oklahoma. 

The Best Friends network of animal shelters is leading the movement to stop the killing of shelter pets. Founded in 1984, Best Friends Animal Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose goal is to end the euthanasia of all shelter dogs and cats by 2025. Their national network consists of 2,000 public and private animal shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations and other animal welfare groups in all 50 states working collaboratively and in partnership.  

At the heart of the movement is their sanctuary, where at any given time around 1,600 animals are receiving medical treatment in addition to receiving the love and care they need to help them overcome their past experiences. Most of the animals at the sanctuary are adopted by forever families, and those who aren’t spend the remainder of their days in relative luxury at the sanctuary, which consists of approximately 3,700 acres owned by the society and 17,000 acres leased from the federal and state governments. Each year, nearly 30,000 people visit the sanctuary to tour the largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals in the United States.

Best Friends could not do their work without the collaboration of local humane societies. For many animals, Best Friends is the last resort since local humane societies often do not have the facilities to rehabilitate rescued animals. While mostly dogs and cats are served by Best Friends, they also care for rabbits, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys, parrots and wildlife. Guests are always welcome at the Sanctuary, but the staff recommends that you sign up for a volunteer shift. During the coronavirus epidemic, there are new guidelines that may change unexpectedly. Check first.

Hope for Paws is another 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue organization. Located in the Los Angeles area, they rescue mainly dogs and cats. They are and have become well known for their YouTube rescue videos. 

Hope for Paws has four main programs that serve as the focus of their work. First is Animal Rescue. Though they are located in Los Angeles, they travel around the world to assist other rescue teams when necessary. They find partner shelters and provide all veterinary needs before transferring the animals to their adoption partners. Their second program is Veterinary Care. All animals are evaluated and given general veterinary care, but sometimes surgery and long-term care may be required, which Hope for Paws provides. Animal Shelters/Adoption Centers is the third cornerstone of their mission. Hope for Paws works with 35 other organizations to accept homeless and abandoned animals after rescues. They also give grants to these centers when the animals require extended care. Finally, Hope for Paws provides funds for spay and neuter clinics in Southern California to reduce the overpopulation problem in this area. They also fund a spay and neuter program in Mexico, where a huge overpopulation problem of animals spreads across the border. 

As important as the national organizations are, it is often the local humane societies that are most familiar and do the grunt work. They typically hold adoption events in parks, in partnership with local pet stores and at local events. Shelter animals come in all shapes and sizes and are an excellent way to eliminate puppy mills and kitten mills. 

Since animals improve our lives through psychological, emotional and physical means, plan your next adoption through a local humane society. Everyone loves a fur ball and this is the place to get an adorable one. Having a new companion in their life can help ease loneliness and can give a sense of purpose and fulfillment that comes from taking care of a pet. Plus, each rescue helps reduce the overpopulation of companion animals.

Sources: bestfriends.org, hopeforpaws.org and humanesociety.org.