Vermonters are notorious pet lovers. Not only do we share our homes with canine and feline friends, but many also share their land with working animals that have the good fortune to be regarded as family members and to receive due respect and pampering.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey reveals that, “Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog” and, “Thirty-three percent of U.S. households own at least one cat”.
It is interesting that in a world where we are increasingly concerned with the well-being of nature, and aware of the emotional and physical benefits of sharing close ties with the creatures in our care, we have not sought greater flexibility to allow pets in all housing situations, even rentals.
We would be outraged and would certainly take brisk action to change laws if landlords posted vacancies that state, “No children allowed.” Perhaps this is possible in some circles. I hate to think of it. For those of us who open our hearts and homes to other creatures, not only is giving up on them when we move heart wrenching, it is also not anymore conceivable than the idea of giving up on a human child.
The North Country Animal League, in Morrisville, envisions “A world that is nurturing and compassionate towards all sentient beings” and, “A community that accepts responsibility for animal welfare and fosters a humane relationship between people and animals.”
NCAL was founded by Hyde Park resident Jan Gordon Stangel in 1990. Jan became aware of animal welfare issues as a volunteer at the Lamoille County Kennels. Her heart open wide, she embarked on a mission that has changed the lives of 8,312 cats and dogs to date. This represents more than 395 adoptions a year! I invite you to read the full story by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article.
One of the many, very important, advantages to becoming a home owner is the ability to house the entire family, including “children” of the barking and meowing persuasion. Home owners also have the liberty to share their good fortune and life with new pets for whom there may not have been enough space in a previous setting.
Likewise, new home owners create an opportunity to open new doors to pets whose previous owners had no choice but to put them up for adoption, and to open loving hearts to pets whose previous humans may have been less than kind.
Cats and dogs do not speak, and we assume that they do not reflect on their personal journeys as we do, but if you have ever known and loved a pet, you know this to be inaccurate. They know. They know when comfort and respect have taken the place of hunger, fear and isolation. And they do smile. They smile when they come in running after basking in the backyard sun or playing in the snow with the kids. Like you and me, they need a place to call home.
Click HERE to read the full North Country Animal League history.