Confucius said, “There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all of one’s life: reciprocity.”
Now, I’m pretty sure he was talking about the Golden Rule between two people, but nowhere on earth is reciprocity more evident to me than between humans and their pets. If anything, pets give us more than we get. It is hard to measure up to their unconditional style of love. But we can try.
This month, the SPCA is doing some great things to balance the scales. February is World Spay Month, which means we are littering lawns all over Aiken. Maybe you have seen a “Yard of the Mutts” sign surrounded by a litter of mischievous cartoon mutts or a “Cat-astrophe” sign in the midst of several romping cartoon kittens. Maybe they were in your yard. Or maybe, you had them sent to someone else’s.
Whatever the case, Aikenites are increasingly being blitzed by these faux litters in much the same way that the SPCA and other shelters are getting ready to be bombarded by real ones. Spring is about to, um, spring, and the SPCA is gearing up for the influx of animals that come with warmer weather and love in the air. The plastic cartoon animals serve as a reminder of how quickly two pets can turn into 6 or more. The funds raised from the project go toward preventing those additions from surprising us in the first place.
One hundred percent of the Lawn Litter project goes toward low-cost spay and neuter surgeries. The SPCA has been blessed to receive funding from PetSmart Charities to help reduce the cost of surgeries for hundreds of pets this year, but there are many that still need assistance.
The Lawn Litters and our SPAYghetti Dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 24, will raise money to help take care of some of the overflow.
In addition to our spay and neuter initiative in February, the SPCA is teaming up with FOTAS to unchain some of the dogs in Aiken County whose owners, sadly have no other means of restraint available.
Whether the dogs are being tethered due to a lack of finances or because the owner just doesn’t know of a better way, the SPCA and FOTAS are stepping in to help build a fence and a better life for these dogs and their people.
We are nearing our goal for the first build, which will break the chains of four darling dogs: Mitzy, Barney, Sugar and Bean. You could help us do what is right for these dogs by sending in a small donation through www.crowdrise.com/Fences4Fido.
When we free these dogs from their chains, their owner will be free as well – free from the guilt she has lived with chaining these dogs because she couldn’t find another affordable means of restraint.
While meeting with her to discuss the details this week, she begged me to understand, “I didn’t ever want these dogs chained. But they’ve destroyed pens and eaten through ropes. I didn’t know any other way to keep them safe until I could afford a fence. I knew it wasn’t right, but the only other choice was to give them up. What kind of choice is that?”
In seeing this woman with her dogs, it was clear that giving them up was no choice at all. Her dogs bring her joy and have done so when joy was running in short supply. Isn’t that why we all have pets? They bring us joy, and laughter, and unconditional love.
That is why the SPCA and Steve Briggs will present one more act of reciprocity this March. Serena’s Star will be awarded for the second time on March 22 to a pet that has shown that spirit of unconditional love to humans.
Whether you have a therapy cat, a drug dog or a horse that heals veterans’ unseen scars, we want you to sing their praises! The winner of this award will receive a framed photograph of their pet and a $500 check from Briggs and his special dog, Serena.
Nomination forms for this award can be found at www.LetLoveLive.org on our calendar page or email me at development@LetLoveLive.org and I’ll send you one directly. You may nominate your pet or someone else’s.
Nominations are due with a photograph of the pet by March 1. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the wonderfully reciprocal relationship that pets and humans share.
Chrissey Miller, CAWA
SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare