As you are putting together your shopping lists for this meal and that function, for this person and that family, here is another “family” to consider. Your local animal shelters. That’s right because 2017 is the 16th year for a project known as Operation Santa Paws. http://www.hautedogs.org/santapaws.html (pronounced Hot Dogs, how cute is that) Originally started by Jason Rudd, in California, this auspicious time was designated to “gift” the shelters as well as the workers in honor of Christmas itself. The campaign runs from December 1st – December 24th each year.
So why think about it now, here in November? Because you are already thinking of what to buy and where you need to go, for the month of December. If you wait, you may feel a bit over whelmed. This way, you can add a squeaky toy, a box of dog biscuits or a bag of cat treats to the shopping trip once a week and end up with quite a bit. Also, consider the shelter staff by stocking up on a few gift cards for lunches, or possibly picking up a cookie tray or two.
It doesn’t have to be a lot from any one person, so if many people made even the smallest of gestures, it would certainly add up quickly. See, as we move through December, most shelters will become over run with animals being brought in to be rehomed. One would think that the opposite would be true, but December is a notorious month for people to lose their jobs. The end of the calendar year also finds people needing to move. Worse yet, many people die at the holiday time. Animals tend to get lost in the shuffle, creating cramped quarters at the shelters. Also, animals given as holiday gifts (please do not do this) often wind up right back at the shelter by January because “things just didn’t work out between Fluffy and the kids.”
If you would like to do something as a family project, consider contacting the local shelter and asking them about their greatest needs. Ask your child if they would like to consider gifting an animal instead of receiving that extra little something in their stocking and you might find they are eager to be a part of the experience! While a box of yummies would be most welcome, an entire case might set them for several months. That could be costly for one person but a neighborhood, an office group or even a church youth ministry could pool their resources and provide quantity. And it doesn’t have to be edible items. Animal beds, leashes, harnesses and even grooming tools are always good gifts for a shelter. Of course, the goodies for the staff, (volunteer or paid) are most appreciated. In fact, your group could even volunteer at a shelter for a day, what fun!
Yes, Operation Santa Paws http://www.hautedogs.org/santapaws.html may be “official” Dec 1st – Dec 24th, but you can demonstrate your generosity anytime that works for you by contacting your local animal shelter today and helping to make so many lives a bit more comfortable.