Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 8:34 PM on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Homer Animal Shelter needs your help — now

Point of View

By Brian Smith


With June designated as "Adopt A Cat" month, your local Animal Shelter "Crazy Cat Guy" thought he would share a few thoughts about our wonderful and woolly little feline friends. Folks, we are packed, slammed, chock full of cats at the shelter. Have been for some time.

It's the economy, I guess. At least that's the excuse we seem to hear most of the time. But you know what? I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. It's about choices, and we all make them.

Do I have a latte and muffin out three times a week? Buy a new car this year? Take that vacation to Vegas? What's important to you?

Those of us who work with the animals, day in and day out, have a serious dilemma. Sherry Bess, who manages the Homer Animal Shelter and has done so for two decades now, loves just about every animal that comes through those doors: cats, dogs, ferrets, parrots, you name it.

But there is only so much room and there are only so many hours in a day. We need help, folks. Your local animal shelter needs you. It takes a village. It really does. Cats and dogs can't keep coming in and coming in and not getting adopted out. At some point something has to give.

And, though Sherry probably has the highest success rate of any shelter around in terms of "re-homing" animals ... well, you do the math.

What can you do?

1. Volunteer. Or just come in and visit. Walk a dog, pet a cat. Spend some time and make a difference for one animal. It takes so little.

2. Spay and neuter your pets. Again, it's a numbers game. One pair of adult breeding cats, over seven years, can produce 420,000 offspring. Please, be a responsible pet owner. Spay and neuter your pet.

3. Support our own shelter support group, Homer Animal Friends. This organization supports the shelter in various ways, both financially and in terms of education and outreach. This group is a tremendous asset to animals in our community.

Folks, we have an amazing animal shelter here in Homer. We really do.

I have volunteered at a number of shelters in my time, and nowhere else have I seen anywhere near this level of compassion for each and every animal that comes through the door. Our shelter has an 85 percent success rate in re-homing animals. This is unheard of. Sherry truly does run the "Shelter with a Heart."

How many times have people said to me, "Oh, I can't go in there, I'd want to take them all home"? Sorry folks, doesn't cut it. That's just a very convenient "out" for not making a commitment to care. Come in and visit, meet some of these amazing cats and dogs for yourself. Trust me, you get back tenfold what you give.

Give the gift of love this summer to an animal in need. Consider adopting one of our many wonderful cats. Adopt for life.

You will be amazed what a difference an animal can make in your own quality of life.

And landlords, a personal plea: Please consider allowing cats and dogs, perhaps with a graded scale deposit? Every time you post an add with "no pets" or "small dog OK," etc. — those of us who love cats just cringe. That's potentially one more little life that won't find a home.

It takes a village. Come in and show your support for our very own Homer Animal Shelter.

Brian Smith is a Homer resident, a cat friend and a shelter volunteer.