The holidays are traditionally a wonderful time of giving and during December, Manatee County charities benefit greatly from the public's generosity.
Today's column is our way of saying "Thank You" to all of you who have contributed to Animal Network and the No Kill Fund throughout 2013. Your donations have not only improved the lives of homeless pets by providing medical treatment, in many cases they have allowed citizens in need to look forward to a future with a pet they thought would have to be euthanized.
The latest example happened the day before Christmas.
A young woman walked into the lobby at Manatee County Animal Services where she struggled to speak through her tears as she shifted her weight to support the large cat she held. The cat was wrapped in a towel and his large green eyes looked around blankly. With a shaking voice, the young woman said her cat had been hit by a car and sustained a broken leg and a hernia. She had spent her last $300 on the initial diagnosis and some pain medication but did not have the money for the operation. She held out a crumpled $20 bill. Her tears flowed freely as she requested her beloved cat be euthanized.
They say timing is everything and on this day it was.
A representative from Animal Network had stopped in for a few minutes to check on a dog and overheard the young woman's story. The woman had rescued her cat as a kitten from a garbage dump where he was living inside an old car. She said he was a good cat and did not deserve to die, but she was out of money and had no other options.
Placing her hand on hers, the Animal Network volunteer said the Shelter did not have funds to help her but Animal Network did. After a single call to Dr. Luke Berglund at Beach Vet, who assists Animal Network, a much-relieved woman went home with her cat so it could have the needed surgery. He was also neutered and microchipped.
A happy ending thanks to your generous contributions to the No Kill Fund.
Your contributions have helped save many heartworm-positive dogs at the Shelter as well. Thanks to the No Kill Fund and contributions online, at special events and select merchants, funds are now available. Our heartworm-positive dogs begin treatment once adopted or transferred to a rescue group. To encourage these transfers and adoptions, the medical treatment and the adoption is free. It is truly heartwarming to receive photographs and stories of "happily ever after" adoptions. The No Kill Medical Fund allows us to save dogs and cats that bring such joy and comfort to their new families.
The need continues into 2014 and your contributions will continue to ease suffering and save lives.
Just this week, a young black mixed breed puppy wandered into a citizen's yard. The puppy was dragging a long leash behind him and wore a black nylon collar. As the woman bent down to pet him, she was horrified to see the collar embedded 3 inches into his skin. She promptly contacted Animal Services, which called Animal Network.
The puppy is now safe at Beach Vet, where he will be treated for the next few weeks. Animal Network is offering a reward of $500 for information as to who owns the puppy. This puppy can look forward to a better life, thanks to your contributions.
Manatee County Animal Services and Animal Network hope that you will "Care All Year," and contribute to the No Kill Fund available online atmymanatee.org/pets. It is easy to do and you have the option to contribute once or set up a recurring payment. You can choose to use Pay Pal or a credit card. Lives depend upon your generosity.
If you cannot contribute monetarily, please consider volunteering at the Shelter or with a rescue organization. You can also become an advocate for Rescue and Spay/Neuter within your social groups. There are so many ways to "Care All Year" and to make a real difference.
Let's make 2014 a great year for Manatee County pets!
For further information on the Animal Network Community Medical Fund or the No Kill Fund, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch for more upcoming events and adoption specials. Don't forget the ongoing BOGO special where 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.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Herald.