By Dr. Marty Becker
January 22, 2010
I think it happens to every pet lover sometimes. We go somewhere — a friend’s house, vacation, the park — and we see animals who could use our help. Maybe it’s homeless cats behind a mall, or a dog whose owner can’t afford his medical care.
Most recently for me, it was the people and animals I met at Orange County Animal Care Services while I was in Orlando for the North American Veterinary Conference and filming a series of videos and public service announcements.
This shelter, which is run by the county, adopts out over 5,000 pets a year. Last year, they saved more than 8,200. Their community gives more than 15,000 hours of volunteer help.
The people who work there are incredibly dedicated, and they’re doing the best they can to save and help as many animals as they can. They see everything… pets whose owners have to give them up to the massive foreclosure crisis that’s crushing Florida. Dogs and cats who are heartworm positive, whose owners have died, cats who won’t use the litter box. And reason or no reason, they take in the pets and treat them with love, respect, and wonderful care, all in a clean, bright, odor free facility.
I was impressed. I was thankful for the people who work there. I was hopeful for the pets that want a home. And I was concerned when I saw dogs without enough places to lie down, like these two Italian greyhounds sharing one bed in a run with a pit bull mix.
The folks at OCACS aren’t happy about the lack of beds, either. They’ve got a donation drive going on to try to get beds donated to the shelter, to keep the dogs and cats off the hard ground and cats off cage floors. So far they’ve only received 10, and they need over 150.
I’d like to see if we can help them with that.
By next Friday, January 29, I challenge my Pet Connection readers and my friends, followers, family and fans — real life and social media alike — to dig deep and help the animals of the OCAS get those beds, which cost between $56 and $67.
Just go to their Web site, read about the “Warm nose, cold toes” program, and give some love to the homeless animals of Orange County, Florida.
I know there are worthy shelters and needy animals everywhere, and if you’d rather give to help the dogs and cats in your own backyard, I certainly understand. I support local efforts to help pets, too, and I’ll continue to do so.
But sometimes a special group of people and animals just touches your heart, and that’s what’s happened here for me. So in addition to buying several beds for them, I’ve also donated some materials to help them raise money and increase adoption rates.
And I’m asking you to help, too. Let’s get these dogs and cats up off the hard floors.
Photos courtesy of my iPhone, taken at OCACS.