The Pets for Life program is community-outreach effort that uses innovative strategies to save pets by helping communities that—because of economic, social, linguistic, or cultural factors—don’t have access to pet-care information, resources, or veterinary and related services, despite an often great need.
The goal of PFL is to reduce suffering and cruelty, prevent shelter overpopulation, and promote veterinary care, thus improving the lives of people and animals in under-served communities.
- Humane Society of the United States
Last fall, Angels of Assisi was chosen as one of 19 organizations nationwide to bring Pets for Life to our community. After much data collection, a trip to Atlanta to see how it was done, and staff planning, we made our first venture into our chosen neighborhood yesterday. It was time to test the waters, so to speak, and we started out with 4 free spay and neuter vouchers, information about the free pet services offered at Angels of Assisi, including a pet food bank, and hopeful hearts.
As expected, the waters were friendly, and the first four people offered the free vouchers gladly accepted them. We got to meet some nice pups, and chat about where folks obtained their four legged family members- usually it was from friends or other family members. The information received reinforced the goal that if the animals in our chosen neighborhood are sterilized, there will be no need to ask other friends or family members to take in unplanned puppies or kittens, they can adopt one instead.
What I did not fully expect was how heartbreaking it was to see dogs chained to trees, and a "neighborhood" dog hobbling around with crooked back legs. I saw it in the projects of Atlanta, but this time is was different, this time it is right in our backyard. The purpose of Pets for Life is not to rush in and Rescue All The Animals, but to give folks the information and resources needed to care for their pets in the best way possible, and no one preaches that more than me. Truth be told, it won't be easy.
However, we can't keep filling up already full to the brim pounds and rescues with more and more animals. Instead, we can find a way to keep those animals safe and sound in their homes. The good news is, the people we spoke to yesterday want the best for their pets, and I truly believe most do. They do not want to see animals suffer, or die because of space issues at the pound. It's a tremendous foundation to grow on, and so, the time has come to dig a little deeper, and work a little harder, and have the time of our lives making a difference.