If you watch any TV at all, you are probably familiar with the ASPCA commercials. You know them. They are gut-wrenching commercials that feature the sad faces, the hopeless eyes, and the malnourished bodies of shelters animals. In the background, singer Sarah Mclachlan sings a tune that bellows in the bottom of your soul. If you are like me, you get that baseball size lump in your throat and moist, watery eyes. You quickly turn the channel cursing aloud that you have something in your eye. Damn contacts! Does this ring a bell? I thought so. The commercials are great at pulling on our heartstrings while emphasizing the importance of adopting shelter animals. The organization does phenomenal work to prevent the cruelty of animals in our country. This week, we volunteered at our local SPCA and we had a great time.
The Allen County SPCA has been providing a safe haven for homeless dogs and cats in Northeast Indiana for more than 60 years. They promote the prevention of cruelty to animals by providing a home, an effective adoption program, and community education and outreach programs. In addition to these great services, they also offer a pet food bank that provides pet food to struggling pet owners. The Allen County SPCA is a limited intake, “no-kill” facility that impacts the lives of animals and animal lovers alike.
We were very excited about volunteering this week. The ACSPCA has been on our target list for some time. If you have followed our journey over the last two years you will know that we absolutely love animals. Working with animals brings us, especially the girls, a lot of joy. This week was no different. We started the morning by working in the pet food area. We sorted, scooped, and separated cat food into small bags for the upcoming week’s distribution. We also prepared more than 40 litter pans for all of the cats in the shelter. We laughed, we smiled, and we joked as we worked alongside each other. I love those moments when the four of us work together to serve others. I am so very proud of my family and I feel truly blessed to be a part of it.
After finishing our task in the food pantry, we moved into dog enrichment. The girls made peanut butter Kong pops for all of the dogs. They put a treat in a Kong toy, filled it with peanut butter, and put a piece of jerky in the top (to make a popsicle stick). The pops were then put into the freezer. They will be given to the dogs as a nighttime treat when the staff leaves for the day. We then had the opportunity to spend time with dogs in the shelter. This is what the girls had been waiting for. We spent an hour and half taking dogs out to the yard for ten or fifteen minutes of playtime. It was playtime for us as well. We ran, we played fetch, and we received many kisses. We even scooped a little poop. Fun times for all. This enrichment time is crucial in making the dogs more adoptable. The more time they get to spend with people, the better they will interact and the odds of being adopted go up. Each dog enjoyed their time in the yard and I know for sure we did too.
It was obvious during our short volunteer experience that the staff of the Allen County SPCA truly loves the animals they serve. The energy and spirit within the organization was great and contagious. We left feeling very positive about their work. There are a number of ways that you can help this great nonprofit. You can make a financial donation to support the programs and services that impact the homeless animals of our community. You can volunteer some time to enrich the lives of these great animals. You can donate some pet food (there is dire need for cat food) to help the food pantry serve individuals who need some assistance. You can do all of these things. The real question is….will you? If you choose not to get involved in these ways, please remember one thing…………………ADOPT, DO NOT SHOP!