Working Together

When it comes to the topic of animal rescue and re-homing, there are probably as many views on how to accomplish it as there are groups and shelters dedicated to that cause. Often times there are disagreements and sadly finger-pointing as to whom is doing the better job. Yet, everyone has, or should have, the same goal—to find new, hopefully forever, homes for animals that for whatever reason, and usually no fault of their own, are homeless. As a new year begins, I can’t help but wonder how much easier would be the task, and perhaps how many more animals would find new homes, if everyone worked together.

As one who tries to donate fairly often to the various groups by dropping off supplies in the donation bins, I have to say that it’s sometimes difficult to decide which is the more worthy recipient that month. When faced with six or seven bins, who needs the cans of cat food more? Who needs the cleaning supplies? It’s hard to know because most every rescue group or shelter faces the same challenges: the need to provide food, medical care, and housing for the animals, and raising the funds to do so. People are always very generous around the holidays, and it was good to see how many contributed to the Animal Control shelter’s needs at Christmas. Their duties are different from those of other rescue groups, and still the animals there need the same things as any others.

Becoming creative in how to keep the bills paid while promoting the animals themselves is a challenge, too, because people become bored if they see the same old same old, and so congratulations to everyone who works so tirelessly to come up with new ways to support the animals. I am wondering what it would be like to have several groups join together and brainstorm about new programs? Ways to promote spaying and neutering, ways to teach responsible pet ownership, and ways to keep pets in their homes when difficulties arise. Perhaps philosophies on pet rescue are different, but I have to think the desire to help the animals is pretty much the same. How much more could be accomplished if people with the same goals worked together to accomplish them?

I am not affiliated with any particular rescue group or shelter, but when our kids were young they volunteered and then worked at the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan. It was a great learning experience for them and us. If you have kids who love animals, perhaps they might want to look into the volunteer program at the shelter or any of the rescue groups. It’s a great way for them to learn skills in caring for animals as well as working well with people.

In the interest of supporting all rescue groups and shelters equally, I am always happy to announce any fund raisers, news, or activities here in the Pet Corner. If your group has something coming up, please email me at, and I’ll do my best to promote it. The column usually appears the third Saturday of the month, so keep that in mind when sending any information.

As winter finally settles in, please remember to make sure your pets are safe and warm, especially those that are normally kept outside. Dry shelter and bedding as well as fresh water are always a must, and when the temperatures dip into those single digits, dogs and cats, no matter how hardy, should be brought inside. They might think they want to be outside, but they’ll thank you for sparing them a night out in the cold.







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5 Comments on “Working Together”

  1. This is a really thought provoking writing. You are right that the ultimate goal is to place pets in good forever homes. Though having worked for a nonprofit I know sometimes the my mission is better than yours can get in the way. i.e. can a no kill shelter work with one who does not hold that same value. It gets frustrating sometimes because we all complain about the way they behave in Washington and sometimes we behave the same way. I know a friend who volunteered thousands of hours each year at a shelter and finally threw up her hands and said this isn’t working for me and moved over to the state-wide spay neuter efforts. She wanted to be an advocate for the animals passionately but in the end had to realign her energies.

  2. Thank you for your comment. This was a particularly difficult piece to write but it’s something I’ve felt for some time now. My hope is that it might start discussions at least, on how to solve so many ongoing problems with homeless pets.

  3. margohoornstra Says:

    Always tough, Lucy when there is plenty of need to go around. We’ve provided a temporary home for some animals and rescued many others. The animals themselves are so loving and appreciative. That part does my heart good. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Melissa Keir Says:

    It is so important for the rescue groups and different organizations to have what they need to do the job that must be done. I’d love to help out at the local Animal shelter… how do you go about signing up for that?

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