Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Meet Maranda Hawkes, Volunteer Coordinator!

Hi there! I am Maranda Hawkes, the Volunteer Coordinator for No More Homeless Pets In Utah. I have been with the organization since January 2006.

I love helping animals and although our line of work is demanding and emotional at times, making a difference is worth it to me. I am constantly amazed at the dedication and compassion our volunteers have as they go out daily and weekly to lovingly care for our dogs and cats. Their strength keeps me personally motivated and hopeful that some day the pet overpopulation problem won't be so tragic.

Ever since I was a child I have had a special place in my heart for stray animals of all kinds. In Kindergarten I found a mouse outside in the school yard. I brought her home in a tin can out of the trash. It turned out to be a rat and my mother was not pleased. But "Matilda" was soft and beautiful to me and I felt that even a rat still deserved a loving home. (To my mother's relief, we found out that she was a pet that had escaped from a classroom at school, not a sewer rat.) Growing up my brother and I took in and cared for several strays that needed our help. If we couldn't adopt them ourselves, then we would foster them until we found them each a home of their own.

As an adult I have had the companionship of several beloved pets over the years. They have been, and are, some of my best friends. Luckily I have never had to place any of them in other homes.

But unfortunately with the harsh economy many families have had to give up their pets to cut back on expenses, or have lost their homes and can not take them with them when the move. If you find yourself in this position please consider other options for your pet before you take them to a shelter. Ask friends and family if they can adopt your pet, or at least foster them while you are finding other options for them.

You can also place ads in local papers or online, but never put "Free to a good home" in your ads and screen potential adopters very carefully. There are people who make a living by selling these free pets to third party companies. These businesses will then turn around and sell your pet to be a test animals in a research lab. This is common even in Utah.

One option is to contact local rescue groups or if your pet is purebred look for a group that specializes in rescuing that specific breed.
Even if they are out of state they still might work with you. As most groups are already booked to capacity, you may need to find a temporary foster home for your pet while you work with that group. (For a list of rescue groups, click here .) These options might take some time and patience to be effective, but it is worth it considering the alternative.

Public shelters and even the Humane Society unfortunately have to euthanize animals each day because of the pet overpopulation problem.
The sad reality is it doesn't matter if your sweet dog or cat has many great qualities or is an expensive purebred. A big misconception is that puppies and kittens are exempt from being put down which is false. Their fate simply depends on how much kennel space is available that day.
Please do everything you can to give them the chance they deserve at finding another loving family. For information and help on how to place you pet in a new home, click here and read "Placing A Pet."

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