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In troubled times don't ignore pets

Re: Abandoned pets must be saved, letter, Dec. 7

In troubled times keep pets in mind

I read Marilyn Weaver's letter to the editor and have some suggestions for those folks who are experiencing financial difficulties and are finding it difficult to keep their pets. I also would like to add that I have the utmost respect for Marilyn Weaver, as she does whatever it takes to help animals, human and non-human.

1. First and foremost, if you do leave your home, do not leave your pets behind! This is inhumane and cruel. The animals cannot fend for themselves. It could be weeks before a lender assigns an agent to inspect the property. While our shelters are overwhelmed and many have waiting lists to take your pet, at least contact them. You can get on a waiting list if there are no other choices.

If you have a specific breed, there are many breed rescues. Check them out on the Internet. They may have foster families available to take your pet. Talk with your neighbors, friends and relatives. Perhaps someone can help out, if only temporarily.

2. If your mortgage is in default and you are worried about losing your home, contact your lender. Don't hide your head in the sand and wait until the last minute to make decisions. I can assure you that your lender does not want your house. Many lenders have put a moratorium on foreclosing and/or are offering loan modifications to help borrowers stay in their home.

3. Some shelters have food banks for folks in need. Also, many shelters and Animal Services offer low-cost vaccinations to insure the health of your furry friend.

4. Be careful not to advertise your pet as "free to good home." There are people out there who may take your pet for the wrong reasons.

5. Some rental communities do allow pets, but most charge a large nonrefundable deposit. Perhaps you could ask them to waive the fee or let you pay it over a period of time. It can't hurt and might help. If you live in a community that has restrictions about pets, talk to the directors. Now is the time to loosen hard and fast rules that don't allow pets in these communities. While I understand that some folks live in these communities because they don't allow pets, I wonder why. Many seniors could benefit from having a pet as a companion.

For those of you who are financially solvent:

1. Perhaps now is the time to consider adding a pet to your family. You could give the gift of love and add another companion to your home, not as a surprise but as a family endeavor. If you can't adopt, consider fostering an animal from a shelter. Some folks says they can't foster as they feel guilty to part with the animal, however, that is part of the glory of fostering. You give the animal love and affection and they eventually find a new forever home. What better gift can there be?

2. If you can't foster, volunteer. Many shelters need dog walkers or just folks to give some love to these animals. A little cuddling goes a long way. Their unconditional love responds to almost any interaction by a human who cares.

If you can't volunteer, donate. I know times are tough, but donations can be made not just in the form of money, but by going through your home. Shelters need blankets, towels, bleach, kitty litter, dog and cat food (some use particular brands) and other items that are inexpensive and very accessible.

If you are a 501(c) rescue organization, the Humane Society of the United States does have grants available for those rescues that are sheltering animals from foreclosed homes. Please take the time to check into it, as it may be worth your while.

Many of us are suffering from hard times right now, myself included. Sometimes I wonder how I will feed and care for my pets. However, they are my responsibility and a lifetime commitment. Somehow we need to struggle through these hard time without giving up our beloved pets.

Nancy Dively, Tarpon Springs

Re: Being bold about belief at Christmas, Jack Bray guest column, Dec. 17

Religious words not always best

Mr. Bray, I think you must give a little leniency to those of us who wish to communicate with our friends at this time of year in a secular fashion. It does not mean we disrespect the meaning or importance of Christmas, but rather that we have something to tell that is not necessarily biblical in nature.

How would it look if I sent a picture of a creche and beside it commented on my financial success on eBay? It would be something like the money lenders in the temple.

We all respect the nature of the holiday, but my annual Christmas poem reflects my activities during the past 12 months, which my 74-year-old peers seem to enjoy.

Ann Capshaw, Clearwater

Re: Hard times pack shelters, story, Dec. 7

Churches can ease the burden

I worked for the Haven of RCS, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, for about three years. While I was there, I saw women who repeatedly were going back to the same abuser. Quite honestly, a large percentage of the women I saw there were just as irresponsible as the men they were fleeing from.

You can't keep going back to shelters and using the increased pressure of the ailing economy as an excuse. You must take responsibility for your person and that of your children. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is not going to be a lot of help to you.

Enough said on that subject. My suggestion is that perhaps the churches making up Religious Community Services could ask their congregations if they would open their homes to some of these women and children who are victims of domestic violence. I realize there are risks involved, so a safety plan needs to be in place. More money to expand shelters is probably not available, but there surely are families who would be willing to get involved.

I may not have all the answers, but some consideration of this suggestion could be productive.

Jeff Shelton, Largo

>>your voice counts

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In troubled times don't ignore pets 12/23/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 10:21am]
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