This is a season for giving, sharing, friends and family.
Thanksgiving is just that with the gathering of family and friends to share moments in our past and present. A few stories are told; some fact and others fiction as the conversations stretch the facts to unbelievable measures. Everyone is sitting around the table reminiscing the moments in the past year that meant the most. The holiday season is a great time of year.
We are fortunate to be able to have choices and make plans for our future. We have the freedom to do a lot of things on our own and make our own choices along the way. Dogs and cats do not have these opportunities. Pets rely upon our help, our care, our support and our love. Pets are dependent upon us, looking to us for everything, including the promise to be part of their lives forever.
We know that each pet develops their own individual personality as they grow. It is up to each of us to understand their changing needs. You have to remember that you accepted this responsibility, for life. Dogs and cats are not expendable, to be discarded when you are done with them. Pets have feelings. No matter what, a dog or cat has that unconditional love. Pets don't know what hatred is and always want to do anything they can to make us humans happy.
Then there are those pets that some humans think are easily discarded, left homeless and on their own. Dogs and cats roaming the neighborhood, once part of someone's life, having a family who loves them. Those humans without a conscience think nothing of opening the door, shoving their pet out for the day or maybe even forever.
At home, you tell your kids he ran away. Your children don't understand why you aren't looking for your beloved pet. Did you ever wonder what would happen to your pet or how it was doing on its own?
The number of responsible pet owners has increased over the years. Because of this awareness, we are noticing the number of homeless pets is declining. Most of the people in this community are animal lovers and wouldn't tolerate those who would abandon or hurt an animal.
Spaying and neutering your pet also reduces the chances of unwanted births, and the more people realize that adopting a homeless pet is the right thing to do, this number will continue to decrease. Dogs and cats will always exist in our lives, the lives of our children and for generations to come. Pets will be here for us as we need to be there for them.
A homeless pet should be home for the holidays. With all the holidays approaching, wouldn't it be perfect if all the homeless dogs and cats could be in a warm, wonderful home with someone to love them?
A pet would be a great companion in your life. Open your heart and open your home to a shelter pet. By adopting a shelter pet, you are actually saving two lives. The pet you are adopting opens up shelter space to save another pet.
Remember that the holiday season is a time to give of your heart, give of yourself by helping others and to help the shelter pets in our community.
Watch for more upcoming events and adoption specials. Adoption pets have DOTS. Select your new forever friend and note the colored dot on the kennel or cage for a discount on the adoption fee. Don't forget the ongoing BOGO special. You can adopt a dog or cat at the regular adoption fee and get a dog or cat for no adoption fee. Also, any dog or cat that has been in the shelter over 60 days is available for no adoption fee.
If you never have to look into the eyes of a dog or cat and make a choice, you are lucky. One day, we all would like to be lucky too.
Check out Manatee County Animal Services on Facebook. Like us and share us with all your friends. Our web site www.mymanatee.org/pets has a wealth of information, including your new family member for adoption. Or call 941-742-5933 for information.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Herald.