Protecting, caring for pets is precisely what friends are for

There are many reasons to spay or neuter dogs and cats; one of the most important is to put a screeching halt to the number of animals that are unloved, neglected, abandoned, abused and surrendered.

 

Over the years — during which we have not just been talking about this, but actually doing more about this — the number of dogs and cats surrendered and ultimately euthanized in Richmond County and nationwide has decreased significantly, and I truly believe that this is due to more accessible spay and neuter.

But there is still a great deal of work yet to be done.

Animal cruelty, neglect and abuse nearly always lead to violent acts toward humans. This is well-documented.

If we make more of an effort to teach children at a young age to be kind and respectful of animals, caring for them in a responsible way, they will grow to be kind and compassionate adults. I look forward to the day when I don’t see photos of abused animals all over Facebook.

Seniors, especially those living alone, benefit greatly from the companionship of a senior cat or dog, sharing their couch, giving them a reason to get up and go each day.

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When a pet is adopted into a family, much thought should be given about whether this companion will be a good fit for the lifetime of the pet. For example, is this a very active youngster or a couch potato senior dog or cat?

Is this a breed that will require professional grooming? Better suited to wide open spaces, or adaptable to small spaces? Will people be home much to care for the pet? If there are children in the family, are they supervised and taught kind and responsible behavior toward animals?

Many pets are surrendered when people find they did not consider these and other circumstances, and find that Fido or Felix “just doesn’t fit in anymore.”

Pets that are turned outdoors without being sterilized are driven to find mates and will fight over mates and territories, and ultimately live much shorter, more difficult lives because of this. Litter after litter leaves a female dog or cat in poor health, and subject to many types of diseases, including cancer.

The same is true of male dogs and cats, which suffer more injuries from fighting.

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Financial difficulties do arise even when they were not an issue previously. Sometimes people need help with the expenses of spay, neuter, vaccines, regular check-ups and emergency veterinarian costs. When adopting or rescuing an animal, it is wise to consider these expenses, as will surely come up. It’s always prudent to set aside a small amount of money on a regular basis for human emergencies, and it’s the same for pets.

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There are scores of veterinarians in our communities giving kind and compassionate care to our pets. And there are low-cost clinics that can offer spay, neuter and vaccine services at a discounted rate.

Discounted vaccines and microchips are offered by Richmond and Columbia County Animal Services on a regular basis. There are insurance policies for pets to help cover these expenses, and there are nonprofits that try to help people with these expenses as well.

That’s What Friends Are For Inc. is one such nonprofit that works to raise funds to help people with veterinarian expenses for the animals they love. We hold fundraising drives and events, network with rescue groups and individuals, and have been doing so since 2008.

In fact, from 2008 through 2016, thanks to your help, we raised over $472,000. This is awesome in my book!

Nearly every dime goes to animal care; very little is spent on fees and such, as we try to get everything donated. No salaries are paid; all work is done by volunteers who simply love animals and want to help.

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The more we do, the more we are asked to do, and we are again asking our community to help us continue our lifesaving programs.

If you wonder what you can do, know that all donations, small or large, are greatly appreciated, and are tax deductible. There have been cars donated for us to sell or raffle off. We have even received donations set aside in the wills of people, leaving a legacy of love for animals. We have benefitted from gifts in honor of the memory of loved ones, humans and pets.

The people that own and/or operate local businesses have sponsored our work with their generosity. Bake sales and rummage sales have been held for our benefit. Ideas for support are boundless.

Thank you, in advance, for your support of animal rescue work and our lifesaving programs. If you would like to make a monetary donation, you can send checks to That’s What Friends Are For, P.O. Box 9490, Augusta, GA 30906, or use PayPal on our website, www.ThatsWhatFriendsAreFor.org.

And that is truly what friends are for.

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The writer is founder of That’s What Friends Are For.

 

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