Voice for the Animals
by Delisa Renideo

(First article)

“The greatness of a nation
can be judged by the way
its animals are treated.”

I am very happy to be starting a new column where we give voice to our dearly loved but often misunderstood and mistreated animal companions. Every two weeks this column will give expression to the needs of animals whose voices are usually not heard. I will also share heartwarming stories about the love, compassion, and loyalty shown by animals to each other and to humans. My hope in writing this column is for us, as a community, to become more aware of what each of us can do to improve the lives of these wonderful beings who share our homes and lives.

We are a community that loves animals. A visit to anyone’s home is likely to include a greeting from a dog, cat, or another animal. For many of us, our animal companions are treasured members of the family. They are the world’s best greeters, meeting us at the door full of wags and wiggles. They are great playmates, chasing a ball, a string, or each other. They are joyful hiking companions, snugglers on our laps, nonjudgmental listeners as we pour out our problems and frustrations, and always affirming friends. In their minds, we have no bad hair days and they love us just the way we are.

But there is another story. . . a very sad story which is less visible but which lurks like a shadow in our community. In 2002, 1161 dogs and cats were euthanized (humanely killed) by the Borough Animal Care and Regulation Shelter. During the first 3 months of 2003, we have already killed 238 animals at the Shelter, 104 dogs and 134 cats. There are other dogs living out lonely lives on the end of a short chain, ignored and forgotten. Other animals are dumped out of cars on country roads, left to fend for themselves in the wild, which they are not equipped to do. After we humans have domesticated animals, they are our responsibility because they can no longer take care of themselves in the wild.

This is a problem which is bigger than any one of us, but it is not bigger than all of us! We, as a community, can decide to turn this around. By working together, we can become a community which gives respect, love and care to these wonderful beings who want only to love us.

There are many groups and individuals in our community who are already working actively to solve this problem. And there are many more of us who would help if we only knew what to do. This column will be a place for you to learn who is doing what and how you can help. It will also provide education about the needs of our animal companions, and how our community can work together to make life better for everyone.

I am a member of Rays of Hope, a local non-profit organization committed to compassionate and sustainable living. We have created a website called AdoptAFriend.net . You can find animals to adopt from the Borough Shelter or from various foster homes. You can also list lost and found animals on this website. If you are providing services for animals and are not already listed on this site, please contact us so we can include you! For lost and found animals, please call Gale Landingham 841-0502 or email: catndog@mtaonline.net

We are also looking for volunteers to help in any capacity: walking dogs, grooming, phone work, website work, making blankets, or brainstorming. Call and be part of the team! 841-0502.

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