Imagine if you will that you are in personal need of a homeless shelter. Then imagine that you are told that you have a 30-40% chance of coming out alive. Would you consider that much of a “shelter?” Yet that is exactly what happens in America, as there is a 60-70% euthanasia rate for homeless cats and dogs.
Therefore, please allow me to tell you why Meriden Humane Society is a no-kill shelter. The reason is simple: we are a refuge for the stray, abandoned, neglected, and abused cats and dogs that come into our lives. While they are with us, we consider them part of our extended family. For some, the stay is short until new loving homes are found. For others, the search takes longer. For others still, we provide a haven where they can live out their lives.
These animals come to us at no fault of their own and we value their lives above the money needed to care for them. Although we sometimes hear that we should run the shelter “like a business,” it is not a business. It is a charity. As a charity, there are always limited funds because we try to help as many animals as we possibly can. When we need more money, we work harder to raise it.
Some question why we bother, as with so many homeless animals, our shelter cannot possibly help them all. For them, I share the story about the beach strewn with thousands of starfish and the little girl picking them up one by one and throwing them back into the ocean.
“Little girl,” an old man passing by said, “What are you doing?”
“I’m saving starfish,” she replied.
“You can’t possibly save them all. There are too many. How can your efforts possibly make a difference?”
“It makes a difference to this one,” she said, picking up another starfish and throwing it into the ocean.
But let me stop waxing philosophical. Instead, let me share some stories of the souls who have come into our lives, reinforcing our motivation to fulfill our no-kill mission.
Logan is a special dog. He is a young beagle mix who was looking for the right home. For two years, Logan was tied to a tree and never knew when he was going to be fed or even petted. He never had the life of a puppy growing up because he was always by himself and depressed. Besides being poorly taken care of, Logan is also blind. He was picked up by animal control one day when he got loose. Animal control knew his owners and contacted them. They replied, “He is no longer our problem. We gave him away.” As sad as this sounds, Meriden Humane Society took Logan in. Logan loves other dogs and cuddles with them and runs around being playful. Logan was adopted by a nice couple who have other dogs. He is getting along terrifically and even can climb up and downstairs with his new human companion saying “step” to him. Even though he is blind, he gets around just fine and loves his new, safe home.
Dumpster is a young domestic black cat that was looking for a caring home. She is called Dumpster because Meriden Humane Society found her in the trash, looking around aimlessly. She is an active cat and loves to be wherever there is action. She deserved a kind home that could give her the attention she craved. The dumpster was adopted by a senior citizen who lives alone and they now provide each other with lots of loving companionship.
Jethro is a two-year-old black Schnauzer mix who was left abandoned, tied to a tree. Worse yet, he had an infected gash in his back, most likely due to a stab wound that appeared to have been injected with a chemical. He is fearful of men, in particular, but has excellent indoor behavior, being house trained and playful with his toys. He, too, was found a loving home, with a volunteer who spent regular time at the shelter and became buddies with Jethro.
An orange tabby we named Sunny was found in a field, emaciated and unable to move, due to his entanglement in a flea collar. Facing the back of a cage upon intake, he appeared depressed. I brought him home to stay and he quickly perked up, bounding up on the couch between my wife and me. Beaming with happiness, Sunny had found a home and a name to fit his disposition. He has been my constant, grateful companion ever since.
The animals described above are typical of the ones we see every day. They all want the same things that each of us wants – to love and be loved, have a home, and live a life without pain and misery. They do not ask for much but give unconditional love in return. Thank you for taking the time to read why we believe these lives are worth saving. We hope that you, too, will join us in our mission.
For the animals,
Gregory M. Simpson,
Vice-PresidentMeriden Humane Society, Inc.
For more information on the no-kill movement in Connecticut, check the internet link for the Animal Welfare Federation of Connecticut, of which Meriden Humane Society is a member: www.awfct.org.