Sheltering Our Pets

Customers looking at pets through the window.

Story by: CORDELIA ROMERO / Wayne Valley High School

Photo by: ALBERTO ROMERO / TUHS Press Staff

There are many problems that have been plaguing Philadelphia recently. Rape, abductions, and violence to name a few. But there is another problem that is taking over Philly’s streets, one that many people don’t seem to care about. These victims don’t have a voice to speak out with and with no one to turn to, they are left alone. They are the lost animals of Philadelphia.

According to the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT), more than 30,000 pets are put into their shelter alone, and one can only imagine the total number throughout the city. It’s practically an epidemic, but it’s an epidemic than we have control over. Although there are plenty of things that we can do to save these animals, volunteerism might be the best choice for the average person because it doesn’t always take money to help these shelters function.

If you have the money, donating is something you can do. Donating helps pay for food and toys for the animals, as well as funding for special events and veterinary care. Another thing that requires money is adoption. Adoption will help get animals out of the shelters and kennels and give them a good life with an owner that loves them. But before you adopt, you have to realize that taking care of an animal is a big commitment, so if you don’t have the time, maybe adoption isn’t right for you. You can also foster animals, giving them a home until they are fit to be adopted. Fostering is kind of like owning a pet for a short amount of time, from a few days to a few months. You still have to pay for food for the animal, and it takes time just like adoption, but it’s not a lifelong commitment.

If you don’t have the money, volunteerism is a wonderful option. It doesn’t cost anything and it helps out in a big way. But not all volunteering jobs take a lot of time, you can do as little as looking at the animals through the window, or you can even help clean out cages or walk dogs. Even going weekly to socialize the animals is helping out.

One woman who visits an animal shelter almost every week said, “We’re here all the time. It’s like a little zoo.”

A more serious volunteer is scheduled into the shelters agenda and helps out with the animals; cleans cages and litter boxes, helps socialize the animals, or even takes them to foster homes. Maybe, if you grow attached to the animals and the shelter, you might want to work there, just like Nataly, an employee at Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) who said she had always loved animals.

“I volunteered at the PSPCA for a month, and I fostered a Golden Retriever for eight months in college.” she said, “I volunteered at PAWS for a few months before I decided to work here.”

These animals need homes and people to care for them, but if no one does anything, they will be left to die. So donate if you can, if you can’t donate, then volunteer. Anything you do helps save these animals, no matter how small it may be.

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