Save a Life and Find a “Fur-ever” Friend

Three weeks ago, I adopted a 7-year-old female yellow Labrador retriever from a local animal shelter. I named her Clemmie, short for Clementine. She was found as a malnourished stray with protruding ribs and visible signs indicating she’d been used to breed many litters of puppies. It’s quite possible that she was dumped when she was no longer wanted by her previous owner. While I can’t undo the things that have happened to her in the past, I will do all that I can to provide the best possible life for her going forward. As Clemmie’s newly trusted guardian, I am committed to her well-being for the remainder of her life.

In the few short weeks since she joined my family, Clemmie has brought me immense joy. She greets me with tail wags and kisses each day when I return home from work. We spend time together taking long walks, meeting neighbors and enjoying our time in nature. She’s not yet certain how to play with toys, but I’ll continue to work with her on that. I’ve purchased dog food puzzles that will provide her with mental stimulation when I have to leave her at home alone. I’m also looking into playtime opportunities at local dog parks. I’m truly grateful to have found my “fur-ever” best friend. While it might appear that I rescued her, she’s brought as much happiness into my life as I have hers.

Unfortunately, an estimated 10,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each day due to a lack of homes. That adds up to 3-4 million animals in the U. S. each year. So when you adopt an animal, not only are you bringing home a new member of your family, you’re also responsible for saving that individual’s life.

Local rescue organizations and shelters can support you in finding the perfect companion animal for you. Join us this weekend for Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo – one of the nation’s largest off-site companion animal adoption events – where hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption to loving homes. And don’t forget to stop by the Zoo’s humane education table while you’re there and learn more about how we work to help people help animals.

– Lisa Forzley is a curator of education for the Detroit Zoological Society and oversees the Berman Academy for Humane Education.

Education: Homeless dogs and cats benefit from Wild Lights crafts

A big thank you to all who participated in our humane education craft during Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo! We offered an opportunity for guests to make a fleece blanket or kitty play toy that would, in turn, be donated to local shelters. I’m happy to report that many homeless dogs and cats are currently benefitting from your generosity.

I recently dropped off eight large bags to the Humane Society of Huron Valley and many more will also be donated to the Michigan Humane Society in the coming weeks. Once the animals are adopted, their new guardians will be able to bring the blankets and toys home with them. This allows the companion animals to have something familiar in their new surroundings and can help with the transition into their forever families.

Our craft projects are purposefully designed. They are often centered around being kind to animals and the planet – not only does this instill a sense of joy, but there’s research that shows when you’re kind to others, it helps to foster empathy within.

Simple acts of kindness can make a big difference! Want to get started right now? You can find additional ideas on how to help animals at www.detroitzoo.org, www.hshv.org and www.michiganhumane.org.

– Lisa Forzley is the humane education manager for the Detroit Zoological Society and oversees the Berman Academy for Humane Education.