Local pet rescues essential to aiding animals in need

Published 3:56 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

In 2022, local pet rescues and shelters helped hundreds of abused, abandoned, neglected, injured, and lost pets by offering food, water, a warm, dry place to sleep; and ultimately, a loving forever home.

Sometimes, rescuers such as Tiffany Howington with Troy Animal Rescue Project, ensure stray cats have food, by regularly placing kibble and water at spots where the strays linger.

Howington traps those strays and has them spayed or neutered when possible. She also rescues injured and severely-neglected pets, spending whatever it costs to have them restored to good health or helping them over the “rainbow bridge” when help comes too late to save them.

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Other rescuers, such as Animal Tails Rescue President Kim Kent, feed and pay for the vetting of pets in nearby communities, where residents can’t afford their care and don’t want to surrender the animals for rehoming.

And in Butler County, where the Butler Humane Society works to rescue pets and the Greenville Animal Shelter tries to find homes for the rescues, volunteers sometimes find there are more animals needing help than there are loving homes available to them.

All three of my pets are rescued animals. Maggie the momma dog, and Lilo, the “ninja” cat, came to me via TARP.

Mellie, a sweet and gentle pup, adopted us when she wandered into our yard, half-starved and covered in fleas. In the span of two days, she quietly wrapped herself around our lives and hearts, and we found ourselves unable to let her go elsewhere.

Not every community has an animal shelter or non-profit rescue. In Lowndes County, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office responds to stray and abused or neglected animal situations.

Whenever possible, animals are taken to a home or farm for fostering and officers try to locate an adopter. Other times, the call has come too late, and euthanasia is the only humane option.

A few kind-hearted citizens help where they can. Some feed strays and post on social media, trying to get them back home.

Others, like Tammey Elliott, rescue injured and abused animals from debilitating neglect, going to whatever means necessary to provide help for pets that cannot help themselves.

There is much to be done to aid the efforts. Rescuers rely on volunteers and donations to meet the staggering needs, and even then, the helpers cannot save them all.

Responsible pet owners can help by having their pets spayed or neutered. Individuals and families can foster pets who need forever homes.

Communities, especially where there is no local shelter, can cooperate to organize a shelter or rescue effort.

Compassion and cooperation go a long way. It only takes a few willing folks to get started.

When I look into Maggie’s big brown eyes, cloudy now with old age, I’m thankful someone took the time to be her rescuer.

Her unconditional love is a prize beyond measure.

For information about Troy Animal Rescue Project, visit troyanimalrescueproject.org.  To learn more about Animal Tails Rescue, visit animaltailsrescue.org.