Helping People Through Helping Animals

I remember approaching a leader in local healthcare, asking if they’d want to donate on behalf of their organization in a fundraising drive for The Marshmallow Foundation, an animal shelter in Detroit Lakes, MN.  She said that they focused on human causes when deciding where to give their money, so sorry.  I launched into ways that companion animals enrich the lives of humans, making them healthier and happier (in other words, I wore her down), and she wrote out a check.

Since then, I’ve thought often of this conversation, and seen so many examples of where rescues in the area are helping humans as much as dogs and cats.  The time volunteering at a surrender event at White Earth reservation, where a family came in with a young dog.  They couldn’t afford to spay the dog, nor ongoing medical care.  All of the volunteers were in tears as the children wailed while the mother held them close, trying to explain that they were doing the best thing for Fido.  A few phone calls later by the sponsoring rescue, and the family was given a list of low cost or free resources to use.  That family left that day with a dog and very happy children.

There’s a single person rescue in Brainerd that is making a huge difference.  She has found funding and resources countless times to spay/neuter a dog or cat, get emergency medical treatment, or simply to rescue an animal from an untenable situation.  She served the low income and homeless communities, allowing them to keep their companion animal.  All this in spite of the fact that her family lives below the poverty level themselves.  Her children will grow up, not rich in things, but rich in experiences and  compassion.

The autistic child whose beloved cat has died, and a rescue is able to match him with the perfect kitten.  The elderly lady who is lonely and wants a cat, but the one she chose gets under her feet when she uses a walker.  She needs a sedate lap cat, and the rescue is able to set her up.

Help an animal, and you’re helping a human.