They say dogs are man’s best friend. In 1789, King Frederick of Prussia stated, this idea more eloquently when he said “the only absolute and best friend that a man has, in this selfish world, the only one that will not betray or deny him, is his dog”.
I think most animal lovers would agree that this is the case. Of course, we cannot forget cats and kittens. While they are known to be snootier and more independent, felines are wonderful and loyal companions too. Which leaves the perplexing question: Why are homeless animals a national epidemic with a whopping 70 million homeless dogs and cats in the United States? Why does Florida continue to rate the highest in the number of cats and dogs euthanized in kill shelters?
What is the Cause?
Topping the list of the main reason for homeless and unwanted animals is the failure of owners to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered. Some animal owners fail to see the need or aren’t able to spend the money on their pets.
In recent years, economic strains, foreclosures, and owners needing to relocate has resulted in animals being surrendered or merely dumped on the street. With the financial strains on many during 2020 from Covid-19, unfortunately, we saw the number of homeless animals rise. Finally, natural disasters are not only a human and financial concern, they also result in the displacement of hundreds and thousands of animals.
The Unsung Heroes: The Animal Rescuers and Advocates
Thankfully, South Florida has some wonderful organizations consisting of selfless animal advocates who work tirelessly to feed and rehome animals in need. For South Florida Lending Hands, a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization located in South Florida, this is a mission of the heart, making a difference one furry friend at a time.
While working tirelessly to assist and empower our community, they also organize pet food drives, where it is then sent to disaster zones, fundraise to save homeless animals, have their medical needs met, (including spaying or neutering), and network to find a forever home. They may help a stray on the street or a pet surrendered by a family because they can no longer care for it due to a death, health issues, or economic circumstances. With no brick or mortar building in place, this wonderful organization solely relies on temporary fosters to care for homeless animals, avoiding them being sent to a stressful kill shelter.
Help to the Bahamas
As Frank Palanco, President of South Florida Lending Hands states: “So many goals, so many art projects, so many animals, so many kids and people to help – it just comes down to resources. Lend another hand if you can.”
For the South Florida nonprofit rescue Bullies-N-Beyond, the mission closest to their heart is saving the lives of the Bully breeds, considered to be the most misunderstood and by far the most common breed to end up in a kill shelter. Bullies are an incredibly misunderstood breed and Jane Ziemba, along with a small group of volunteer’s works tirelessly to rescue and foster displaced dogs and educate the community and adopters on the need to spay and neuter. Bullies-N-Beyond also works closely with South Florida Lending Hands and Save a Sato, as it truly takes a village of animal advocates to make a difference in the lives of these homeless animals.
The Problem in Puerto Rico
When Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico in 2017, an immense and unprecedented amount of destruction, death, and suffering, caused the world to take notice of the number of homeless domestic animals in need in the area. Unfortunately, while Hurricane Maria did leave many animals’ displaced, stray animals in this United States territory has been a continuous problem for years. There are approximately 250,000 “street dogs”, also referred to as Sato’s in Puerto Rico at any given time. A bad economy, lack of veterinarian facilities, and desensitization of the island’s residents have resulted in a real problem.
Save a Sato is a non-profit organization dedicated to easing the suffering of Puerto Rico’s homeless and neglected animals. This organization partners with the Broward Humane Society and other rescue organizations to bring these street animals to Florida, provide much needed medical care, and re-home them to families located all over the United States.
A New Life for the Fur Babies
Gabriel has been making so much progress with a lot of social interaction both with humans and other dogs. This beautiful boy is 8 years young and will forever appreciate a family that will change his life. Could you be Gabriel’s hero?
What Can WE Do?
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Purebred animals are absolutely wonderful, but at the end of the day we have countless homeless animals that just want a chance for a real family. There is an incomparable satisfaction which comes from the chance to change the life of a homeless dog or cat.
When looking for a furry addition to your family, please, consider the ones that many would not think twice about. Consider the weak, the sick, the downtrodden, the ones that have never been shown any love and have given up hope. They may not leap to you and kiss your face on the first meeting but they will grow to love you, trust you and appreciate you. Consider the seniors that have been abandoned and just need a retirement home to feel safe in. Be a homeless animal’s hero and I promise you that you will never regret it.
Save a Sato
South Florida Lending Hands
Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League
Broward Humane Society
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About the Author
Tami Wray was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and grew up in the Northwest area of Indiana on the beautiful Lake Michigan. Mrs. Wray relocated to Wilton Manors in 1988 with her mother and now considers Oakland Park her permanent home.
Along with raising two beautiful daughters and one step-daughter, she has spent her entire career working in the real estate field as a property manager, real estate paralegal and insurance professional.
One of her greatest passions is the rescuing of abused and homeless animals and promoting the need for spaying and neutering pets and adoptions of senior pets.
Mrs. Wray currently resides in Oakland Park with her husband Chris, two daughters and her rescue pets; four dogs, two cats and a ferret. Life is never boring!