By Roz Rogoff
Time for gifts and gifts of timeUploaded: Dec 3, 2010
It's the giving season again. Typically "giving" means giving stuff. Sometimes "stuff" includes animals, not stuffed animals, but cute little dogs and kittens. Many times animals given as gifts on Christmas wind up in shelters a few months later when they are not as cute or easy to handle.
Suppose you were taken away and put into a prison cell and told you would be put to death in two weeks if someone didn't bail you out. You didn't commit any crime. You just were not wanted anymore. The people you lived with were moving, or having a baby, or started sneezing, and you were blamed for it or got in their way.
That's what happens to cats and dogs who are surrendered to animal shelters. They haven't done anything wrong except not be wanted anymore. That shouldn't be a crime punishable by imprisonment and death.
Suppose you don't like being caged up, with strange noises and smells and strange people grabbing at you. Suppose you defended yourself by barking, growling, hissing, or scratching. Oh no, that's even worse. Now you are on death row for sure.
This story is all too common for unwanted cats and dogs. Thousands are put to death every year because they are unwanted or frightened. Does anyone care about them? Yes, there are animal rescue groups that want to help, but there are too few of us to help as much as needed.
I've been fostering cats for the last five years. I'm a foster with Safe-Cat Foundation in San Ramon. Safe-Cat rescues cats, and occasionally dogs and pot-bellied pigs, from shelters in California, but mainly from the Contra Costa County shelter in Martinez.
We need volunteers who are willing to do whatever is needed at the time. We need fosters to take care of cats until they can be adopted. If you can't foster, maybe you could help out with adoptions. If you can't stay at a pet store for a couple of hours on a weekend, maybe you could taxi cats to and from an adoption event or to the vet to be spayed and neutered. We need volunteers to spend a little time helping people help animals.
Instead of giving your children toys or other material goods this holiday season, give your children good examples of service to animals that need your help. OK people need help too, and there are organizations that provide all kinds of important services to people, but this column is for the cats.
Safe-Cat holds adoptions on weekends at PetSmart and Petco in Dublin. Our Safe-Cat president developed an allergy to dogs. She cannot do the PetSmart adoptions because they are right next to the dog groomer. She needs someone to help with adoptions at PetSmart because she can't be there for any length of time.
You don't have to pledge a lot of time, but if you have any spare time, especially on weekends, please consider giving some of that time to help animals who need it or to someone else you could spend that time on.
Not everyone has money to spend, but most of us have time that could be put to good use. So now is the time to give the gift of time to people or pets or whoever or whatever needs it the most.
If anyone reading this wants to help, click here for our Safe-Cat Volunteer webpage.
Give the gift of yourself to animals this season. Your life will be richer for it.