By Marc Ralsky
Christmas brings out the best in a lot of us. We think about those who are less fortunate and help people through this festive season.
We give to our favourite charities or we volunteer. Some of the inspiration to give stems from those sappy movies on TV or the heartfelt messages in Christmas cards we receive from friends and family.
Regardless of the reason, many people typically think about the humans in their community who need help. It seems the more I learn about animal welfare, the more I am beginning to feel people largely forget about the ones who can’t speak for themselves, particularly those of the four-legged variety.
Could this mentality exist because we feel it is not our problem? Our city coffers pay those bills to keep the animals safe or off the streets. Do we feel it’s up to the government to take care of it?
Pet overpopulation and the “throw-away” attitude is a problem we as a society created so it’s up to us to fix it.
Many animal charities, rely solely on the goodwill of donors and volunteers, miss out on the rush of holiday tidings; they seem to be off the holiday radar for many donors.
This has to change, and many animal welfare groups are getting savvy at attracting new donors and supporters through virtual giving.
Basically, animal organizations, including the Ontario SPCA, have created a virtual gift giving catalogue.
It is brilliant and simple.
Animal lovers can visit www.pawsandgive.ca and choose from a variety of gifts from holiday treats for dogs to shelter health and wellness supplies. Once a gift has been selected, online shoppers will be guided through the simple checkout process where the gift giver can also choose how he would like to share the gift with his animal-loving friend. A personalized message notifying his friend can be sent through email, a printable card or through the mail.
The demand for services and supplies is greater than ever during the holiday season. If giving a monetary gift is not possible and you still want to help, then call your local animal charity. Ask what they need. Many have a wish list of items they need regularly such as bleach, laundry detergent or kitty litter.
Whatever you can do this festive season, think of the animals in your community and take a minute to “paws and give”.
It will change the lives of many four legged members of all of our communities.
Marc Ralsky shares his life and north Toronto home with his wife and three Siberian huskies, and has been around animals and dogs all his life. A true animal welfare enthusiast he recently joined the Ontario SPCA as their new director of community and donor development after a long tenure as a senior director at a national health research foundation. Follow him at @OSPCAMarc