Monday, January 5, 2015

Brighter Tomorrows


Next week we begin a new year.  For many, the coming year brings the hope that its tomorrows will be better than those that have passed.  The coming year can offer a perceived opportunity to change certain facets of our lives.  A multitude of resolutions are created, or at least contemplated, that will provide us a means to improve at least one small portion of our existence.  If shelter animals could vocalize, I truly believe they also would say that they hope their tomorrows are better than the ones they have had.  Regrettably, they do not have the ability to improve their lives without our assistance.

Since the beginning of time man’s capability for cruelty has known no bounds.  Unfortunately, these past few weeks have displayed several examples of that inhumanity with regard to companion animals.  Discarded like garbage were pups and over-bred moms who could no longer make a quick dollar for their backyard breeder.  Surrendered to the shelter because they became too much trouble to deal with were elderly or sick dogs and cats who, for many years, were loyal and faithful companions.  When owners harvested illegal crops and vacated premises, the guard dogs that were abandoned wandered aimlessly until Animal Control intervened.  Lastly, chained animals endured days of deprivation of food, water and adequate shelter until a rescue from their plight occurred.

The animals that come into the shelter often have had exceedingly hard lives, and their stories, if they could actually speak, would bring tears to your eyes.  Yet, this past week there was also cause for celebration, because so many of these homeless animals arrived at the Tehama County Animal Care Center.  Undersized, understaffed and underfunded, this haven became the hope of a better tomorrow for all those that entered.

A committed staff, devoted volunteers and tireless rescue organizations worked diligently to find homes for those that were adoptable.  In addition, as the steady stream of pets arriving continued, these same people tried to find owners, provide medical care for the injured, and locate fosters to care for those too young or too ill.  In addition, they continued to ensure that those housed had not only all basic needs met, a clean environment in which to live, but perhaps most of all, that they were shown the affection and compassion few have ever experienced.

As a result of the diligent efforts of the people involved, another reason to celebrate materialized.  A wondrous event occurred at the Animal Care Center.  Adoptions, rescues, and return-to-original-owners this past week resulted in seventy-five (75) animals leaving the shelter.  Each one now has the distinct chance of a better tomorrow.  As a community, we should recognize this extraordinary accomplishment by these people.  

However, please remember many homeless animals will not be so lucky.  Their dream of a better tomorrow will never happen.  Cruelty and abuse will continue as long as there are those who are indifferent.  If we do nothing, we cannot pat ourselves on the back and proclaim, “We are not like those people.”  We become as guilty as the wrongdoers when our inaction and silence is tacit acceptance of the behaviors we abhor.

Solutions for animal abuse and cruelty issues are not easy.  Immediate fixes on a monumental scale would be impossible to achieve.  Nevertheless, cumulative small steps in the right direction can solve large problems.  All one needs to do is take that first step. 

Therefore, I ask as you drink that last little bit of eggnog at the end of this holiday season, that you consider taking that step and do something this year to help a homeless animal’s dream of a better tomorrow come true. 


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