I often get asked what I do for fun, and what I do in the winter/off-season from the whales. Different naturalists and staff members do an array of different things. Last summer, while on the island, I spent a lot of time volunteering at and fostering for the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor. This is a small, but wonderful shelter that does its best with the fundraising that its able to do here in Friday Harbor.
I helped feed all of the animals, cleaned, and then spent the rest of my time playing, walking, and spending quality time with them. APSFH had a huge impact on my summer and my life. It even inspired my winter (off season) job search. This past offseason, I was lucky/crazy enough to have worked at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, NY.
It was an amazing experience for a number of reasons. Firstly, I now am fairly certain that when I’m ready to settle down and be a real adult, that I would like to end up in an animal shelter-setting. It is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, and one that I feel I can use my education and passion to directly make a difference in the world for nonhuman animals.
Secondly, I can now use this opportunity to inform one more group of people (you lovely folks), about the Adopt, Don’t Shop movement.
Each year, about 3 million perfectly wonderful cats, kittens, puppies, and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year. Although different shelters have different policies and resources, a lot of them have to euthanize if an animal takes more than say, 5 days to get adopted, or because they simply don’t have the space or resources to keep all of the pets that people give up each day.
So there is plenty that you can do to lessen that number:
- Adopt a pet from your local animal shelter or rescue. Petfinder.com is also a great resource. You’re able to search for adoptable pets in your area, or another area, and you can tailor the search to the type of pet you’re looking for, it’s age, sex, size, breed, etc. Anything you could possibly be looking for, you can find without buying from a breeder. I promise.
- If you’re not ready to make a permanent addition to the family, consider fostering. This frees up space at the shelter so that they can take in more animals. Most shelters are always looking for volunteers to foster cats and kittens, and young puppies, as well as some adult dogs, for all different reasons that they would explain to you. After the foster period is up, you return them to the shelter so that they can find their forever home.
- If you don’t have the space at home, consider going in to your local shelter to volunteer. They love to have people come in to walk dogs, socialize cats, and some even need office help.
- If you don’t have the space in your home to foster, or the time to volunteer, consider giving a donation. It will help a shelter buy one more bag of food, build one more kennel, save one more animal.
Although my nomadic life is not suited to having a pet right now, almost every morning before I get on the boat, you can find me volunteering at the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor.