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November 27, 2014

Dog Dish 5 super simple ways you (yes, you) can help dogs in need

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Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014 10:24 pm | Updated: 10:49 pm, Sat Jul 19, 2014.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re scrolling through Facebook, minding your own business ... well, sort of — when suddenly you’re staring into the face of an “Urgent! Death Row Dog” who must have “rescue or foster by tomorrow or his time is up.” And like a Sarah McLachlan commercial during a rerun of “The Office,” that Grumpy Cat meets Racist Kermit mashup meme doesn’t seem that funny anymore.

My immediate reaction is always to scroll past as fast as possible, all the while telling myself someone else will save him. He’ll be fine. Rescue’s probably on the way right now...

I never believe me — I’m a terrible liar. But I’m a terrible liar with two rescue dogs in a one-rescue dog apartment, and a student loan payment eating up more disposable income than any liberal arts degree has a right to. Speed scrolling and wishful thinking are my only defenses short of going off the grid. I suppose I could pack up the furkids, stockpile Waggin’ Train chicken jerky and move out to a bunker on Dugger Mountain. But then I’d miss the “Urgent!” dog posts that really do have happy endings, thanks to a rescuer showing up to save the day for one lucky shelter pet.

Thank God for people stronger than me. And thank God for the groups here in Calhoun County filled with them — people working long hours with little to no funds, often in heartbreaking situations, to save our forgotten furbabies from abusive homes, life on the street and the euthanasia floor.

They need all the support they can get. They need funds and foster homes more. But even if space and money are tight, you’d be surprised at what all you have to give.

1. TRANSPORT

Thanks to statewide spay and neuter regulations up north, many Southern shelter pets are hitting the road to find their forever home. You can get a carload of cuteness one step closer to its destination by driving a leg on a rescue transport. Alabama SPCA regularly schedules legs from Oxford to Atlanta and from Gadsden to Chattanooga. Or consider applying with Kindred Heart Transport Connection. The well-organized network of rescues and volunteers is always in need of drivers in this area.

2. VOLUNTEER

You like dogs, right? Of course you do — look what you’re reading! You know you want to spend a little downtime with someone who’s cute, attentive and, be honest, a better kisser than your junior prom date.

Rescues need volunteers to help man events, socialize animals and clean, clean, clean. At Piper’s Rescue (yes, that Piper), you can spend time with military dogs recently retired from service in Afghanistan. Most private schools require volunteer hours, and what looks better on a college application than being able to say you walked an American hero?   

3. FUNDRAISE

You may not be cutting Warren Buffett-esque charity checks, but ask yourself this: What did you say the last time a cashier asked you to give to their worthy cause de jour by rounding your total up to the nearest dollar? That’s what I thought.

Now you try: Set up a donation jar at work, preferably one with a photo of frolicking puppies, and watch the spare change roll in. Or ask your kids’ teachers about setting up a fundraiser. It could even be coordinated with a classroom presentation by the rescue on spay and neutering, suggests Lisa Wippler of Oxford’s Semper Fi Rescue. “You’d be surprised,” she said. “That could be a tray of shots, that could be a neuter surgery.”

4. DONATE

Rescue groups are in desperate need of stuff that’s probably collecting dust at your house — those mismatched bedsheets, that stack of newspapers you’ve been meaning to recycle. The off-brand chicken jerky you carelessly bought that elicits looks of disdain worse than the ill-conceived switch to gluten-free dry mix ... No? That’s just me?

Point is, you’ve got stuff, they need stuff. The Calhoun County Humane Society keeps a wish list on its Facebook About Me page; the League for Animal Welfare’s can be found on the Community Page at leaguepets.org.

To make things even easier, Pickette’s Pet Supply has a donation station where you can drop of items to be donated to Cheaha Regional Humane Society. While you’re there, how about adding a bag of dog food to the pile? Pickette’s offers a 10 percent discount on food purchased for Semper Fi or Piper’s Rescue.

5. SHOP

This is an easy one, and not all that pricey if you do it at Secondhand Tails Thrift Store. All proceeds go to the Calhoun County Humane Society and if you stop by on Saturdays, they’ll send you home with a bag of homemade dog treats — so maybe the kiddos will forget about that off-brand jerky incident.

The boutique at Piper’s Playhouse always has a selection of items to benefit its rescue operation, which right now includes light-up collars, dog bandannas and hairbows, and these adorable breed silhouette earrings. There’s no mutt silhouette but Koopa looks to be one fully functioning pituitary gland short of a black lab, so close enough ... it’s for a good cause, right?

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