Monday, December 17, 2012

Angels

The holidays are almost upon us.  I have three nieces and two nephews, all in the same family.  About 5 years ago, I stopped buying Christmas presents for them.   I was disillusioned and disappointed with the "gimme, gimme" attitude that they had; they had lost the meaning of Christmas, in my mind.   Instead, I starting sponsoring an animal on their behalf.  Each year I pick out a needy cat, dog or horse at a shelter or rescue and with the help of staff, get a picture and the story of how the dog/cat/horse ended up at the shelter.  Sometimes these animals are strays, sometimes their human has passed away, sometimes they have been taken from a bad situation.   I print and frame the picture and story, wrap it up and give it to my nieces and nephews.  Delightfully, they actually get quite excited to learn who "they" have helped and after checking it out, the framed picture and story is placed on the bookcase for future reference.  This year the sponsorship will go towards helping some rescued dogs that have medical issues.

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!




19 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing! That sounds like a wonderful idea! I would love to do this for my greedy little nephews and niece (and their parents). Maybe next year!

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    1. It's a great feeling to know you have helped...sort of like a present for you, too! :-)

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  2. What a wonderful thing to do! My sister and I exchange meaningful gifts such as things that support charities, but you've taken it a step farther! Way to go!

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  3. This is a wonderful idea and it is more meaningful than just gifts under the tree. I also like to contribute to Project Coyote.

    Years ago my aunt and her family used to adopt a child through the newspapers and buy gifts for that child anonymously. It was very rewarding.

    There are so many people and animals out there who could use a little care and help.

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    1. Yay, Project Coyote! :-)

      We always gave a complete dinner to the Salvation Army, who would then give it to a family in need. We loved going shopping for the items with my dad.

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  4. Wow. Wonderful ideas and great suggestions and links. Thank you.

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  5. This is such an amazing and kind thing to do! If only there weree more people like you it is such a nice thing to do!

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    1. These people do an amazing job....I only wish I could give more.

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  6. What a great idea! I love it... and, although it is too late to do so this year (as gifts), I think this is what my niece and nephew will receive next year! (And my brother, and my sister, and.....

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    1. You won't regret it! It's keeping in the spirit of Christmas.... and really, who is going to complain about this type of "gift", right? :-)

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  7. Such a good idea, how wonderful that your nieces and nephews appreciate it too!

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    1. I am so happy that all of them like and respect animals.

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  8. Such a wonderful idea. I'm so amaze on how you apply the idea of Christmas in real life. Thanks for sharing this thoughts. You give me ideas on what to do this Christmas.

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  9. Hey Wolfie, sorry for prolonged absence. That really is a fab gift idea, sponsoring animals. I'm always in awe of people who have the wherewithal to help animals in need like that; on the other hand it is such a shame that so many are needed.
    Wishing you and your family - human and animal - a safe, blessed Christmas! xx

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