Animals and pets serve as essential parts of our lives. They are our friends. They protect us; they help people with physical and mental limitations. But, most importantly, they provide unconditional love.
Operation Santa Paws reminds us that we need to return that love and remember them at this most special time of year!
The History of Operation Santa Paws
Every year, many animals, through abuse and neglect, wind up abandoned in shelters and animal rescues everywhere. Unfortunately, they are often given as birthday or Christmas gifts and left as the shine wears off as the newest puppy or kitten grows.
According to the ASPCA, 3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats will enter animal shelters in the United States annually, and there are not enough resources to support them. This is where Operation Santa Paws comes in.
Organized by Justin Rudd in 2001, it was initially put together in Long Beach, California, to help support their local shelters and rescue animals. As part of the Haute Dogs Organization (pronounced “Hot Dogs”), the idea was to encourage the public to participate by donating new toys, treats, food, or money to their local shelters to support the animals and the rescue workers, and countless volunteers.
Since then, Justin and Haute Dogs have spread the word of Operation Santa Paws getting stores and individuals all around the US to participate in this humanitarian effort. Many organizations and businesses will hold fundraising events where people can volunteer or attend meet & greet events with adoptable pets from a shelter or rescue center.
How Can You Help?
Despite the eye-watering statistics, many options exist to help support animals in shelters and the workers who look after them.
- Donate– Shelters across the US will hold annual toys, food, and blanket drives. Going to your local big box store and buying some dry/canned dog or cat food will go a long way. Have some blankets that have wear and tear? Donate them to a local shelter and give much-needed comfort to a dog or cat in need. Are you a pet owner? Does your dog or cat have toys they no longer play with? Give them to a shelter to create joy for the animals in need. Contact your local shelter to find out what supplies they need most this time of year.
- Volunteer– During the holiday season, animal shelters sadly become full. Volunteering at a shelter can be as valuable as offering toys, pet food, or treats. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know the animals better and make a difference to them, not during the holidays but all year round. Check with your local shelters to see how you can volunteer.
- Thank a Shelter Worker– Without the support of those individuals who dedicate themselves to these animals’ welfare, there’d be nowhere for them to go. So when you stop by with a donation of supplies for the furry residents of your local shelter, don’t forget to bring down some tokens of thanks for these hard-working people. From candy to handwritten letters of gratitude, a little appreciation will mean the world to them.
Adopt A Shelter Pet
This step is not for everyone, but those who feel they would make good animal parents might take this time of year to consider adopting a pet that needs a home. Pet ownership can undoubtedly be rewarding, but it comes with many added responsibilities. Consider these questions when thinking about adopting a pet.
- How Much Time Do I Have for a Pet? People who work 60-70 hours a week or are gone for 12-hour shifts at a time may not have the time to give to a pet. But families with members with lots of time to devote to walking, playing with, and training a cat or dog should consider it.
- Can I Afford a Pet? Even though they’re small, some pets require a significant financial commitment. From food and vet bills to obedience school and kenneling while on vacation, pets can cost several hundred dollars yearly, or sometimes more. Check out our blogs, The Cost of Dog Ownership and The Cost of Cat Ownership, for some tips that may be helpful in your decision-making.
- What Pet Is Best for My Lifestyle? Generally, dogs need more attention and affection than cats. They need to be walked and cleaned up after, while cats can use a litter box and don’t need the same exercise. Knowing your lifestyle, for instance, as a homebody or a traveler, helps to make a better match with a pet.
Education is vital. Tell your family, friends, and co-workers about the statistics you learned today and how they can help animals in need.
If someone in your life is talking about getting a pet as a gift for the holiday season, send them this blog and make sure they understand the responsibility of having a pet. Pets are a lifetime commitment.
The Rescue Dogs of Cash Factory USA
Did you know our office is dog friendly? Every Friday, employees can bring their best friend to work. Many of the pups that come into our office are rescue dogs themselves.
Gnasher– rescued from a park in East Los Angeles, CA, when he was one year old. He’s now 12 and spoiled rotten. His favorite treat is scrambled eggs with a little bit of cheese.
Nip-Her- abandoned at a veterinary clinic in Tacoma, WA, at 6 months old. She is now 10 and is the queen of her household. Her favorite treat is sausage.
Scrappy– rescued from a kill shelter in Las Vegas, NV, after being neglected and abused. He was nursed back to health and just turned 6 this October. He now lives with a loving family, and his favorite treat is chicken.
Contact your local shelter to see how you can help animals in need this holiday season.
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