Watch Tip: Give to Local Animal Welfare Groups

Posted on December 17th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoGive to your local, independent animal rescues and shelters today, if you want to support the daily work of re-homing abandoned and neglected animals. The big national organizations do not support daily operations in your area. They don’t buy kibble for your local strays. They just look like they do.


When you look into the sweet, earnest faces of a rescue cat or dog, imagine seeing a large choir of human faces surrounding them. Slow your thoughts and see these people come into focus. They are young and old; they are brown- and olive- and white-skinned; they are poor and prosperous; and they are passionate. They share the same goal: save this one you see in front of you right now.

Imagine the rescuer, the foster family, many transporters, walkers and cuddlers, caregivers, veterinary staff that discount for rescue animals. These are the volunteers and low-paid staffers who have already given of themselves to bring this cherished animal to this adoption web site or this event or facility. These unheralded local heroes are critically important to the life of this one furry face looking up at you. They saved this one. Can’t you see them?

You must understand that it has been a devastating couple of years for this choir of rescuers. The harsh economy caused millions more animals to be abandoned or neglected. Rescues and shelters are swelled over-full of hopeful animals; they are forced to say “no” to needy dogs and cats much more often—which is a painful moment each time. The economy caused potential adopters to hesitate and turn away. It caused caring donors to close their checkbooks with a whispered “I’m sorry, I can’t right now.” Some rescues and shelters talk about closing their doors and some have already closed.

The large national organizations did not open any overflow facilities during this economic downturn. They did not divert their substantial income streams to benefit the daily operations of openly-struggling local rescues and shelters. With eloquent fundraising letters, pretty calendars, and heart-rending pictures of sick or injured animals in cages, they talk about their work. Much of their work is extremely helpful—grants for spay-neuter efforts, special teams for rescuing animals in disasters, educational materials, influencing legislation to protect animals. But they never send any checks to your local groups to buy food or pay for routine vet care or support daily caregiver payrolls.

If your local group is named “humane society” or “SPCA” take note: these are just common names that everyone uses, like Kleenex. Some groups are actually changing their names, a big long-term project, because they believe donations will go up, no longer appearing to be supported by a wealthy national organization.

These are desperate times for local, independent animal welfare groups. Can you help your local groups this year? Will you?

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