There is no doubt in my mind that this simple gift has made a difference on how my nieces and nephews view other living beings and perhaps makes them think about how their actions can affect others. Each one of them has an affinity to animals and my hope is that they will pay it forward.
In addition to supporting my local shelter, here are some of my favourite animal donation sites.
Circle of Hope Canine Rescue - This rescue group deals with the horrific over-crowding/high kill situations in rural Tennessee. And, just when you can't get any worse, it does. Yet, this group continues to work through it. Personally, I don't know how they keep going; these dedicated people must be angels. They have also opened a New England branch.
Hopeful Hearts takes in and re-homes palliative care and senior dogs from Ontario, Nunavut, Quebec and occasionally the U.S. that are high risk at shelters because they are not considered "adoptable".
RR Refuge is a sanctuary for horses, located in Ontario. Some of these horses are loving retired, others come from sad and bad situations. RR Refuge provides them with a peaceful environment where they can just be horses.
The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition works towards ending horse slaughter in Canada and having laws changed to protect horses, whether they are domestic or wild. They have an adopter rebate program and an euthanasia assistance program, where qualified applicants are eligible to receive $150 toward the cost of euthanasia performed by a vet; a much kinder solution than sending a horse to slaughter, in my mind.
Sophie's Dog Adoption - Quebec is home to Canada's largest number of puppy mills because of poor legislation and law enforcement of commercial dog breeding operations. Puppy mills in this province ship puppies across Canada. In addition, Quebec shelters have a very high kill rate. Sophie is a force to be reckoned with! She continues to fight "city hall" and the Quebec provincial government to get laws changed and she protects those dogs in dire need.
Project Coyote - Coyotes play a very important part in keeping nature in balance. In the U.S. it's estimated that 500,000 coyotes are killed each year by ranchers, trappers and government-funded programs. These animals die grisly deaths - neck snares, traps, aerial shooting, hounding and canned kills, to name a few. Project Coyote's mission is to work towards co-existence, through education, consultation and community outreach programs.
The Animal Alliance of Canada's focus is to protect all animals and promote a strong relationship between humans, animals and the environment. This means that provincial and federal laws need to change and this group tirelessly works at achieving that goal.
I am grateful for those who take on these tremendous challenges. Every single day they work in the trenches, trying to make it better for those that cannot speak. They work towards making the world a softer, kinder place. At this time of year in particular, it's nice to remember that there are angels amongst us. :-)
Have a great week, everyone!