Crazy cat fans and dog enthusiasts rejoice: it’s time to celebrate your favorite four-legged friend and maybe help out some of their brethren in need this National Pet Day.
National Pet Day, held on April 11, was started in 2006 by animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige to celebrate the love and joy that pets bring to their owners. , while emphasizing the needs of animals looking for a family. The Poconos are home to a slew of animal sanctuaries, all aimed at finding a perfect furry home for these adorable friends who tend to treasure their new family more than any other animal.
“I feel like shelter pets are also more generous or loving than getting one from pet stores…they just see more grateful. I’ve bought dogs before, and let me tell you what, I’m never going to do that again. I’m going to go and adopt before I go buy a pet again. They just seem more rewarding that way,” Stacy Goldberg, president of Carbon County Animal Friendsmentioned.
Jackie Fritz, Kennel Manager for Monroe Humane Societyagreed, noting that pets in AWSOM’s care — all of which are located in Monroe or nearby areas — are often “abandoned by humans” and in need of loving families.
“So people sometimes see them as damaged. But they really aren’t. They can be the most loving animals you’ve ever met. Most of the time they have more love for you than any other animal. you might encounter. Because you save them, you save them, you give them a second chance,” Fritz said.
Golberg agreed, noting that people often assume “there’s something wrong” with shelter pets, and “that’s why they’re there.” But more often than not, their current location has nothing to do with them.
“That’s not the reason: more than half of our shelter animals are either abandoned due to death in the family or financial or personal issues,” Golberg said.
Along with the extra appreciation and love—along with saving a life that might otherwise have been lost—shelter pets are often treated with more care, assessed, and matched with new owners in a better way than breeders and stores could never offer, like Suzi Gilbert, president of Hope for Hannah Dog Rescueunderline.
This process usually takes a few weeks at a time, but it ensures that all of their organization’s rescues are free of the medical issues that often plague them: fleas, worms, giardia, coccidia, and other conditions that are constantly present in puppies.
Gilbert said this extended process also gives staff time to determine the dogs’ personalities, allowing them to be perfectly matched with the perfect pet parent.
“Normally with puppies, that’s not a problem. You might have one that’s a little more bossy than another, but, you know, they’re all nice. But if I know one is quieter and one is a bit more rowdy, so I can tell the person who’s interested in that pup exactly what his personality is,” Gilbert said. “Most rescues can’t do that, and that’s why we’re so popular.”
This careful attention to detail attracts potential parents from all over, Gilbert said. People come from all over the Commonwealth and beyond for their dogs – including an unnamed country-blues singer from California who flew in to adopt a puppy from them.
These accolades set large shelters apart from backyard breeders, puppy mills or other problem animal providers who typically focus only on financial gain, Gilbert said.
“Mass breeders are in it for the money,” Gilbert said. “Believe me, we are all volunteers: I work about 18 or 20 hours a day, the two weeks before the transport, and I don’t get paid. But the satisfaction comes from saving the beautiful puppies we make. Because when I see a picture (from) when they arrive, and they’re almost dead, and then they come here to me, they’re so beautiful.”
And while puppies and kittens are pretty much still in demand — Goldberg noted that she expects CCFA’s cat population to double or triple in the next breeding season — shelter officials encourage potential adopters to consider other options, including often overlooked older pets.
“People don’t want to come and save an older cat or an older dog because they think ‘I’m not going to spend a lot of time with them’. But they don’t understand what the animal feels like, being older and being here and being unwanted, so I like to encourage people to give these senior animals a chance,” Fritz said.
Golberg stressed that older pets with special needs are just as deserving of housing as younger ones, although “it’s a lifelong commitment” that could involve serious dedication to care, including additional veterinary visits and medication. Nonetheless, these are the pets that often seem to enjoy their new home more than anyone.
“My cats all seem to be very affectionate and loving. And just seeing them happy, you know, lying on my bed, or doing things that they normally can’t do in a shelter. I love them, I can’t I tell you enough. Each one of them is different in their own way. And every time I watch them and their story behind them, it’s pretty rewarding for me to know that I gave them a second chance,” Goldberg said. .
Gilbert said that even when money is tight, his rescue will do everything possible to help save a life – even if other operations would have already given up, such as the case of a beagle whose owner abandoned her with a big rupture that led to her uterus and her intestines hanging out in her womb. After $2,200 in surgery, her life was saved.
“We rescued a 12-year-old girl, she is now in a very healthy home, and we hope she will have a good five or six years after being treated so badly in the first part of her life,” said Gilbert. “So while it might be foolish in some people’s eyes to put that kind of money into such an old dog, everybody’s life is worth it if they could do it, if we can bring them a year where they know love, and they know care, and they have a good house, we’ll do it, we’ll figure out how to get the money later.”
Since running a shelter and caring for so many animals is time-consuming and expensive, these life-saving operations are always looking for help, even if you can’t necessarily adopt a pet. of them. CCFA, Hope for Hannah and AWSOM all accept monetary donations online, in addition to accepting pet food and other supplies like blankets, litter boxes, and more.
For those who have the time to volunteer, opportunities abound, even if it’s as simple as participating in these online rescues.
“We rely entirely on the public to help us help these animals, so if you can’t adopt, you can sponsor a pet, you can pay for their adoption fee, you can donate,” Fritz said. . “We’re taking volunteers, or even just sharing our posts (online), that’s also incredibly helpful.”
“We have a volunteer program where people can come and offer their services,” Golberg said. “We’re open seven days a week from nine to five. They can come in the morning, they can help us clean up, and they can interact with the cats in the afternoon giving them attention.”
Hope for Hannah always welcomes locals to help foster dogs who are brought into the area, noting that these stays are usually only for a few nights before the pup can be placed in a new home.
“We just need people to help us for most of the week, but it’s usually just a few nights,” Gilbert said. SHELTERS: Not only do you save a life and make room for another rescue, but you also form a lifelong bond with a devoted furry friend.
“People send us updates, photo updates, you know, email updates, all that kind of stuff. And you can see how thriving they are and how incredibly Of course, we do what we can for them while they’re here to make them happy and comfortable, but there’s nothing like having your own home.” said Fritz.
Want to see some of the furry friends on our staff? Check out our new TikTok account @poconore.