No More Homeless Pets by 2015

Homeless PetsGuest article written by Sari Reis, owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services, a San Diego dog walker and pet care company.

Three weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Best Friends’ Animal Society’s No More Homeless Pets National Conference in Las Vegas Nevada. Over 1150 participants attended sharing in the excitement and camaraderie. They came from all across the country representing shelters, rescues, animal control agencies, feral cat groups, low cost spay and neuter organizations, government agencies, and every other form of animal 501c (3) you can think of. The commonality of a passion for animals is what brought us all together and the shared belief that we could make No More Homeless Pets a reality by 2015, spurred us on.

The speakers were amazing. It was an honor to be in the same room as Richard Avanzino, the CEO for Maddy’s Fund, Karen Green, the senior director for the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, Betsy Banks Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com and Gregory Castle, one of the founders of Best Friends Sanctuary and its current CEO. And the list goes on. But the most awesome people there were the attendees; individuals like you and me who made a decision that what was happening to animals in their community was not okay with them. Instead of just verbalizing they decided to do something about it. And they took action. And then others came to join them and they put their voices together and started a movement.

One couple I met from the mid-west decided to reach out to the pets of the homeless in their community. They bring them food for their dogs once a week. They have been doing it religiously every week for months paying for the food from their own pockets while they wait for their non-profit status to be approved.

Another wonderful woman I met started a rescue for senior dogs so that they could spend their final golden years happily in a loving home …because every dog deserves a happy ending.

Emma Clifford founded Animal Balance, whose mission is to organize free, high volume, community-based sterilization programs to humanely reduce and manage cat and dog populations. She single-handedly took on the government in the Galapagos Islands, who were poisoning cats and dogs as a means of population control, and successfully converted them to a spay/neuter program. After that success she moved on to the Dominican Republic, American Samoa and the Independent State of Samoa. Cuba is next on her list. If that isn’t passion and Chutzpah, I don’t know what is!

Almost every person I sat next to during the workshops or luncheons had a rousing story to tell. But they were not only inspirational, they were empowering It was impossible not to get caught up in their passion and enthusiasm I came home determined to make a difference in the No More Homeless Pets by 2015 movement.

Getting to no-kill by 2015 is not only possible…it is probable! Will you watch it happen or be one of those who make it happen?

Ways to get involved:

  1. Volunteer at a local shelter, rescue group, low cost spay neuter clinic in your community. If there isn’t one, how about starting one?
  2. Encourage people who are interested in getting a pet to adopt from a shelter, rescue group or to go to petfinder.com
  3. Good breeders do not sell puppies to retail stores. Every puppy purchased in a store came from a puppy mill; maybe not directly but that’s where they come from. Start a protest group at your local pet stores that still sell puppies.
  4. Write letters to your local and state representatives to enact laws that promote kindness to animals and prosecute animal abusers.
  5. If you have a feral cat community start a TNR ( Trap Neuter Release) program and arrange for people to provide food and fresh water and if necessary temporary shelters for the cats.
  6. Volunteer to foster a cat, dog, puppy or kitten.
  7. Use every opportunity to educate the public that adopting an animal is for a lifetime!
  8. Support your local pet food banks by getting donations of food from other dog and cat lovers.

If none of these things appeal to you create your own idea for how to be part of this movement and go for it.

For more information or to share ideas contact: Sari Reis, Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services, www.missionvalleypetsitting.com.

Photo Flickr