Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Support Pakistan

When  Haiti experienced an earthquake, there were telethons, collections,  front page headlines, radio djs talking about it, massive cell phone  donations, and more to help the victims.

Now  there’s massive flooding in Pakistan, causing more damage than “the  2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti  earthquake combined” (  ) and the first I heard about it was when my sister mentioned that she  needed to stay late at work because of the flooding. At my confused look  she clarified “in Pakistan.” My sister genuinely saves lives for a  living and does tend to be more up-to-the-minute with foreign issues  than I am, but it seemed wrong that I hadn’t heard something earlier via  Twitter, the radio, or just office talk. But I hadn’t. I still don’t  hear much about it. Weeks later, as the floods are getting worse and  more people are suffering, I see the occasional tweet from a charity  group or Foreign Policy and an email from WSPA asking for donations. I  did hear about it in the sermon at the new parish I tried this past  weekend. There doesn’t seem to be a giant push to help though. People  don’t seem to care. There are no calls for a massive telethon like for  Haiti or a charity concert like for Tennessee. That seems wrong.

Foreign  Policy has a great article on why people aren’t giving to help Pakistan  flood victims. The article is great, the comments made me cry at how  inhumane people can be. They gave me an idea though. If people really  are going to be racist jerks, refusing to help the poor of a country  because they dislike the country’s elites, well what about the animals.  Those animals have no political agenda. They understand less about the  word Jihad than the average American (whose understanding seems to be  pretty limited from what I can tell). They’re suffering, too. WSPA is  doing its best to help them. explains why helping animals matters even if you’re not prejudiced against the people.

I  have a monthly budget for donations to help me deal with constantly  feeling like I should be giving more (and then seeing my credit card  bill and realizing nothing got saved for next month). August went to  help in Pakistan. September’s probably will as well.

If  you don’t have a monthly charity budget or have maxed yours out for the  month (it is the end of the month), please consider giving up today’s  coffee or muffin and donating at least that much to one of the many  organizations helping people and animals in Pakistan. How we take care  of each other matters.

WSPA: Update on a small success in Pakistan
IFAW’s blog about their work in Pakistan with a donation link:
IRC: Report on their work in Pakistan

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Puppies aren't products

The focus of Best Friend's "Puppies Aren't Products" campaign isn't giving puppies as gifts (it's the awful practice of puppy mills) but the sentiment still applies.

I've been asked multiple times by different people for advice on buying a cat or dog as a gift for someone. I always tell them not to do so. If you want to buy a gift for someone who loves animals, maybe ask to help pay for their adoption fee on the animal they pick out themselves, but don't go buying them a cat or a dog as a gift. Period. They Should Not Be Gifts.

I know that we see images of the kitten or the puppy with the big red bow at Christmas. I know that it seems sweet. But think about it for a minute. Would you ever give someone a child as a gift? A pet means years of responsibility, vet bills, and more. Yes, there are great aspects about pet ownership, but there are a lot of responsibilities as well. When you give someone a pet, you're taking away a chance for them to really think whether they're up for all the work involve--teaching kids how to behave toward the animal, handling allergies, buying appropriate food, training the animal, caring for him/her, etc. It's easy for people to forget all that when handed a cute puppy with a bow around his neck.

Plus, it diminishes the value of that animal. Animals, even pure-bred animals, are unique and have their own personalities. While a great deal of that personality is based on nurture, it's no more immune to nature than my or my sister's very different personalities.  We're great people, both of us, but many who would happily deal with her for 10 years might not want to deal with my quirks for that time period and vice versa. When you give an animal as a gift you remove the opportunity for the new pet parent to really look and find an animal with whom the bond and can get along.

Why this topic now, in the middle of my family vacation at the beach where I've been mostly offline? Because a friend of a friend is looking to rehome a dog she was given as a gift. . I'm not going to get into the reasons for the rehoming here because I'm standing by my belief that it will do no good for me to judge and the girl is trying to find a new home for the puppy which is responsible. The dog is pure-bred so I first suggested contacting the breeder because most reputable, good breeders will take back their dog  However, the girl apparently can't do that because the breeder is across the country where the mom lives and she can't get back across the country to return the dog. I don't think people consider that outcome when they give animals. Apparently the dog is sweet and cute and I'm sure she'll find a new home soon--cute, pure-bred puppies with papers don't lack homes long.  I'm just frustrated by the situation.

Don't give animals as gifts. Don't accept an animal as a gift if you aren't 100% prepared to commit to that animal for the span of his or her life. If you really want to give someone a gift and they want a pet--make a donation to a shelter in their name and sponsor one of the animals there.  It costs about the same and it'll help save a life instead of putting one potentially at risk.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Crossing my fingers

Keen met his applicant yesterday. And ate from her hand!  It took him months to eat off of my hand. He also purred when she held him. I think it was true love.

Now I'm just waiting for the shelter to process the application and paperwork. I'm crossing my fingers that she'll get approved quickly so he can go home before Virginia Beach.

He's such a special cat. I want him to have his forever home.