I follow a few shelters and animal rescues on Facebook, and I’ve been noticing posts lately that say “this cat would benefit from joint supplements” or “this one could really use a dental.” I also frequently see “clear the shelters” events that push to get all of the animals adopted.
This stands in contrast to my experience with Animal Education and Rescue, which I’ve been volunteering with for more than five years. Every animal that’s taken in receives all necessary medical treatment, including medications and dental cleaning (if needed), before they are adopted. AEAR relies on donations for these animals’ care, but they do their best to take good care of each animal and disclose any known health conditions before they are adopted.
AEAR also doesn’t budge on adoption fees. Although sometimes we get creative and have gotten sponsorships to cover part or all of an animal’s adoption fees for a special reason, in general the philosophy is that fees are kept as low as possible, only covering routine medical fees such as microchip, vaccines, and spay/neuter if needed. During the adoption screening process, we make sure is financially secure enough to not only cover the adoption fee but also unexpected bills down the line. We don’t want to just clear our foster homes, but make sure our animals are taken care of for life.
Now, let me be clear: I’m not bashing other organizations. Every animal rescue, shelter, and humane society has to decide on policies and approaches that keep them operating. Many shelters are “open intake,” which means they accept all animals, regardless of whether they have the space. I don’t envy their position in having to determine a policy that keeps operations manageable.
All I’m trying to say is that my experience volunteering with AEAR has been refreshing and rewarding. When an animal is accepted, we are committed to that animal for life, and we try to do the best we can by them. I’m proud to be associated with an organization that I have been able to be an active part of and one where I have met numerous caring individuals with similar viewpoints and goals.