Don't Forget The "Unwanted" Animals This Season

Jan 4, 2007 - 10:00 PM

Once again, it’s that time of the year. Whether you’re ready or not, the holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, laden with all of the calorie-packed sweets your little heart desires. We all take a deep breath and then dutifully make our way to the shopping malls (and sometimes our computers–thank heavens for online ordering!) to buy gifts for everyone on our lists, including our animal family members as well. My Welsh Corgis would be incredibly disappointed if their stockings weren’t filled to the brim with rawhide chewies and new squeaky toys.

While braving the masses this weekend and purchasing gifts for my animal “children,” I couldn’t help but think of the many animals who wouldn’t be having such a merry Christmas this year. Earlier this month, 74 malnourished horses in Maryland were discovered to be without proper care (see p. 102), and it seems like every day a new case arises where horses or other animals are seized by authorities because of the owner’s negligence. Just today, I heard about a new case in New Hampshire where “significantly underweight” horses were rescued from a farm. With winter weather already settling into most states across the country, many animals without sufficient shelter and food are falling victim to severe health problems and face several long cold months ahead.

These rescued animals aren’t the only ones who need support. Also needing help are those horses and ponies who are already being cared for by rescue groups. One such non-profit facility, Sunkissed Acres in Georgia, lost a barn to fire in early December, (see p. 104), leaving not even a bucket or a blanket for 33 older and debilitated horses. Thankfully for them, they had a faithful caretaker who risked her own safety to rescue all of the horses from the burning barn.

Full of Christmas spirit, The Chronicle of the Horse Bulletin Board patrons rallied together to organize a fundraiser and generously donated their own time, money and supplies to the damaged farm. At press time, donations of more than $10,000 had been received, along with all of the barn necessities and medications the horses would need. Many managers of these rescue facilities spend most of their days carefully tending to the well-being of the horses and often don’t have the hours or resources to actively campaign for donations. Perhaps offering to foster one of the animals could be an option, instead of merely giving a monetary donation.

Fostering and adopting animals may be the most rewarding gesture a person can make for creatures. With so many unwanted pets and horses in this country, finding homes for all of them can be quite a burden. I have adopted several kittens from animal shelters and have many friends who’ve adopted unwanted and abused horses and given them loving “forever” homes.

Though our own pampered companions may be cuddled up warm and cozy in their winter blankets and bedded stalls, many animals across the country are having a rough time this winter. No stockings full of peppermints and molasses cookies for them; no new chew toys and tennis balls. Perhaps a simple donation to your local animal shelter or a few hours volunteering will help at least a few unwanted pets. It’s not much, but sometimes even the little efforts can be appreciated by those unfortunate homeless creatures who can’t help themselves.

Emily Daily

Emily Daily is the Chronicle’s fall intern.

Category: Columns

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