Pet Talk

13 years ago

    One of the many things I love about our community is our compassion for those less fortunate. There are many people who are true animal lovers who have either lost their jobs during this recession or are fortunate to have jobs but the wages haven’t kept up with inflation. There are those on fixed incomes and those whose rapidly expanding families just have more money going out than coming in. For all of these folks, the cost of pet food can be a tremendous burden and in the last two years animal shelters across the country have seen a significant increase in animals being surrendered because owners could no longer afford to keep them.
    We prefer to do everything we can to keep a healthy, well adjusted pet in his or her home, and to do everything we can to prevent the breakup of a family, because your pets are part of your family. We understand that better than anybody. One way we help is through our Pet Food Pantry at the animal shelter; however. Right now the pet food pantry is out of pet food! 
    If you have a heart for animals, there is more that you can do than just take in more critters, you can help critters who already have homes keep those homes. If you would like to contribute, you may drop off bags of cat or dog food to the animal shelter from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or drop off food at my office, Varney Agency, 9 Katahdin Lane (across from Tim Hortons) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  I know of so many people who need help in this way and they are always grateful to receive a little extra food, or a few treats, so that Rover or Sylvester can continue to enjoy  the love and companionship of their families.
    Another way you can help is to provide financial assistance to those who want to keep their pets, who want to spay or neuter, but can’t afford the cost of surgery. The state has a wonderful program called Help-Fix-Me but it runs out of money fast. Houlton Humane has a program where we will provide financial assistance for this surgery on a case-by-case basis, for anybody who qualifies for any other assistance program, Social Security, SSI, food stamps, etc. Again, this program is currently out of money.  This is good news in a way; it means that the program is doing its job. We have successfully assisted hundreds of people in having their animals altered and now we’re trying to replenish this fund. Some of the shelter employees are even selling “neuter bread” – homemade bread and goodies from their kitchens and kitchens of volunteers, with all the money going into the spay/neuter account to help fix animals in need. 
    Much of the neuter bread money is earmarked for shelter pets, so we can have them surgically altered prior to adoption, giving them an even greater opportunity of finding a good forever home. An unneutered  male cat that sprays is not as attractive to a potential adopter as a neutered male, so we are very proud of our employees for taking the initiative to put this program together. We’ll let you know when the next “neuter bread” sale will be held!  
    If you would like to support the pet food pantry or the spay/neuter financial assistance program, please drop a check in the mail, PO Box 548, and just put right on the check what the donation is for. The money will only be used for that program. Spay/neuter has a totally separate bank account and that money is not used for anything else.
    Any support of the Shelter is always appreciated. It’s been a difficult year for us financially, but we have been  blessed to have received two grants, one from the Sewall Foundation and one from the Aroostook Animal Welfare Awareness Group, which has helped with the  mountains of bills we had earlier this year.    
    Our next meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Shelter, if you would like to join us, offer some suggestions or input, find out what you can do to help, if you have an idea for a fundraiser, or a concern about anything at all in your neighborhood or in our shelter, please join us. Our doors are always open, you are part of our team.