Saving the Strays
~ Samantha Lewis
If your neighborhood is like others out there, you are in the suburbs where the sprinkler systems are going on and off, and the park is down the street for both kids and families to enjoy in the summertime. Here, you have most definitely noticed stray pets wandering around every so often. If you are in the big city, perhaps not as many strays appear, but no matter where you may be standing the problem of strays is growing…and animal shelters need your help.
It might seem silly to hear that saving a stray animal saves the planet, but it is absolutely true. Harming dogs and cats who have been abandoned, or simply run away from home, is not the way to go about working with strays. Strays need love, they need homes, and – in some cases – need someone to help them find their way back home simply because they found a way to escape the backyard to hunt that squirrel or chase after that neighborhood cat.
Saving the planet is not all about energy, wind and solar power, helping forests, or rejuvenating a habitat – it is also about the rejuvenation of love. No, this is not a Hallmark card, this is simply a very true statement about how animals offer support, love and caring to people who need just that. Depression, anxiety, pain – all of these horrific things that happen in daily life can many times be solved by sharing and caring for a pet that returns the same, and is loyal beyond all comprehension to its owner.
Right now all across the globe there are animal shelters and organizations working to save large creatures that are going extinct. They are battling huge wars in regards to animals being hunted and killed for money, as well as black-market trade that is diminishing the animal population on earth. But domestic animals should not be forgotten during this time period.
So how do you help a stray? My own daughter found a stray wandering about the neighborhood recently; however, the lovely dog was well-fed
and did have a collar around its neck, announcing to one and all that it did have a happy home somewhere. It was an amazing experience to meet up with the owner who had literally just come home from work, saw that her best friend had somehow gotten out, and was basically terrified that she would never see her again. Being the one to reunite them is one of those special moments where you know you have changed a life.
But being careful is necessary when it comes to helping strays. Caution is a must; therefore, when you choose to save lives and help these animals, make sure to use these rules as a guideline. Always remember that a strange, possibly sick or injured animal can be unpredictable. Even with one movement, you could have the animal fleeing into a busy street out of fear. Using a carrier, leash, rope – anything in the car that could help lead the animal away from the road, would help. And make sure to always signal any approaching vehicles if already in the roadway so that the traffic can be diverted around you. USE CAUTION when it comes to this one, considering cell phone driving is the biggest cause of accidents out there.
Use a calm speaking voice as you approach the animal, and if necessary, call for backup. Your local animal shelter will most definitely help you; and, no, the animal shelter will not simply put the animal to sleep just because they’re a stray – which is a basic misconception.
In the end, be an adopter! There are animals roaming our country that need help, love and a protector – and you can be that savior! Try your best to keep the strays off the streets and give them a good home: this is a difficult time for all our creatures across the globe, so along with your other ‘green’ work, use that passion for saving the world by helping to save the animals in it.