Everyone has heard of The Humane Society, The World Wildlife Fund, and PETA (whether or not you agree with their tactics). Here are stories and links to some organizations and individuals whom you probably would never otherwise hear about. Their dedicated work and their loving hearts have saved the lives of thousands of lost, sick, abandoned, abused, and traumatized animals.
1. Canines for Service was established in 1996 in Wilmington, North Carolina, to train and provide service dogs to disabled military veterans. The program has expanded to include the training of the trainers: It teaches military prisoners how to foster and train rescue dogs for mobility, TBI and PTSD. Other wonderful aspects of training and volunteer service include: certifying over 400 therapy dogs since 2002 and providing literacy mentors for Canines for Literacy. Canines for Service volunteers provide over 2500 hours of service annually in their communities.
2. American Veterinary Medical Assistance Team. The same disasters that affect humans impact our pets, livestock and wildlife. Whether it is hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, hazmat spills, or acts of terrorism, whatever harms us will also harm the creatures around us. Local veterinary volunteers are trained in disaster and emergency preparedness to assist in rescue and recovery efforts, as well as in securing the livestock in our food chain against outbreaks of disease following disruption of care.
3. Sandy Kraykowski is a private citizen in Bergen County, New Jersey. She is also my sister-in-law (full disclosure) and devotes herself to fostering rescue puppies; to rehabilitating them to the point to which they are adoptable into their “forever” homes. She provides the care, medical treatment, love, and training that they need to recover from whatever misery sent them to her in the first place. She works with Pet ResQ and Pilots ‘n’ Paws.
4. Animal Rescue Flights (ARF) is an organization of private pilots (Pilots ‘n’ Paws is an online meeting place or clearinghouse) and other volunteers who provide transportation and other resources for removing animals from overcrowded shelters, where they face certain death, to other parts of the country for fosterage and adoption. They charge no fees of any kind for their flights and/or services.
5. Mary Lewis is also a private citizen, and one of my oldest friends. She lives on a farm in Missouri, with her husband, the usual farm livestock, and an ever-fluctuating number of dogs who have wandered into their lives because they were abandoned by their owners. I chose Mary to represent all the good people in the world who take in the animals others throw away – without fuss, without formality, and with kindness and love in their souls. In Mary’s own words: “There is such a growing need to help these wonderful strays. Since we’ve been on the farm we’ve been graced with so many of them … I’m half tempted to contact Cesar Milan for help. Our first was the sweetest, kindest love, that we named Cricket … She, I think, was dumped … We had her 2 years before she passed. Someone first shot her…evil people, yet she lived through that and then the next year, she got poisoned by someone. So, so sad…Then, we got Charlie, the Basset Hound, Millie the Treeing Walker Coon Hound, Lilly … an old dog with a 6 month puppy … then, of course, Ray the Stray …”
Photo Credit: tintedglass