16 February 2009

I Interrupt This Program

I have a special announcement for all of my geneablogging friends, my non-blogging friends, my readers and anyone else who stumbles across this post. Most of you are aware that I am fanatical about my dog, Izzie. So fanatical, in fact, that he has his own blog. I’m a fan of dogs, and hate to see any animal suffering.

The economy of late has been, as we all know, rather tight lately. People are losing their jobs, their homes, and quite possibly, losing weight as they struggle to keep food on their tables. Thankfully, there are food programs to assist with the latter for many families.

The same is not always true of our pets. Dogs and cats are being abandoned or surrendered at alarming rates. Often, it’s foreclosures that do the pets in. Often, it’s simply the cost of providing for them. A 2007-08 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association estimated basic annual expenses for dog ownership run $1,425, and cat ownership $990 (Maryland Newsline Business).

Many, if not most, animal shelters try to provide struggling families with emergency supplies of food if it means the difference between one more pet "in custody" and maintaining a pet’s home. But many, if not most, animal shelters use donated food to feed the pets in their care and cannot meet every need for every family.

Tucson is lucky. There are a couple of food programs to assist with feeding pets when families are struggling. I am lucky, as well, to have an opportunity to help feed Tucson’s pets. The Hermitage Cat Shelter in Tucson has been around for over 30 years, and one of their programs is called Food For People’s Pets. Its aim is to provide some relief to families who struggle to feed their pets (cats and dogs), in hopes that the families will be able to keep the pets as opposed to surrendering, or worse, abandoning, them. This program is in need of some re-vamping, and I hope to work with the shelter’s staff to do just that.

There is now a blog dedicated to the Food For People’s Pets program. I hope to make it a place for people to learn about pet nutrition, the prevalence of animal hunger, solutions to the problem, events of the program, and spotlights of the program sponsors. While hunger in animals will be addressed, it will be done so in a respectful, family-friendly manner; no “shock and awe” tactics such as graphic photographs will be used.

Please, bookmark the blog at http://www.feedingpeoplespets.blogspot.com/ and visit often. It’s just getting off the ground, but I want to make it a true showcase for the good that people’s donations do. I also, admittedly, hope to make it an accessible way to donate to the program. Towards this end there is a link on the blog page to the “Network For Good” badge that is assigned to The Hermitage Cat Shelter. From this badge, one can designate donations to the Food For People’s Pets program. I also have this link on my other blogs and here, so please, if you can, donate $5 to the program. Or donate a bag of pet food to a program in your area if you have one. I would be crushed if I had to surrender Izzie for lack of food, and I hate to think of something so simple being so far out of reach for pet owners everywhere.

Thanks for listening. I now return you to your regular programming.

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