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.
As animal lovers, when we come across an animal in need of help, we want to take action. But when we find an injured or orphaned critter, often times we’re not sure what to do.
Here at the Detroit Zoological Society, we receive emails and calls throughout the year from people who want to aid local wildlife. Although we wish we could provide sanctuary for all animals in need, we are unable to do so in nearly all cases. But we think it’s wonderful that so many people want to assist these sentient beings, so we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources.
The following links contain contact information for reputable organizations and rehabilitators that are able to provide support. Download the app and jot down the phone numbers found in the links. You can keep a copy on hand so that the information is available should a need arise.
- Animal Help Now App – Find contact information for nearby emergency wildlife assistance across the U.S., including wildlife rehabilitators, rescues and veterinarians.
- All Species Kinship Wildlife Hotline – (877) 596-7776
Remember if you come upon an animal that you think needs help, don’t address the situation without first reaching out to a professional for his or her advice. If ever you’re in doubt, call an expert.
– Lisa Forzley is a curator of education for the Detroit Zoological Society and oversees the Berman Academy for Humane Education. Learn more about the Academy, which was created to help people help animals and offers a broad range of engaging programs, at http://detroitzoo.org/education/humane-education.
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.
Lisa Forzley is the humane education manager for the Detroit Zoological Society and oversees the Berman Academy for Humane Education.
The Detroit Zoological Society frequently receives calls from people who have purchased an exotic animal such as an iguana or a parrot and have discovered that they are unable or unwilling to provide the specialized – and often expensive – care the animal needs. In 2014, we received 84 phone calls or emails regarding reptiles alone! We hear comments such as, “I didn’t know that a parrot could live to be almost 100 years old” or “I had no idea that an iguana could grow to be more than 5 feet long.”
Unfortunately, the ever-growing exotic pet trade creates situations that signiﬁcantly compromise the animals’ welfare and result in people turning to the Detroit Zoo for help. Although we wish we could provide sanctuary for all animals in need, we are unable to accept them in nearly all cases.
Making a good pet choice is important – both for you and for the animal you will potentially be bringing into your home. Here are a few questions to get you started before adopting an animal:
- Am I able to meet the animal’s physical and psychological needs for his or her entire life?
- Do I have the time and the money needed to properly take care of this animal?
- Do local ordinances or laws prohibit owning this kind of animal?
- Will my veterinarian be able to provide his or her medical care?
- How much am I able to spend on veterinary costs?
- What will I do if there is a problem?
- Will this animal get along with animals that are already in my home?
Remember that dogs and cats have changed over several thousand years of living with humans and are the best nonhuman companions for us. Humane societies and rescue organizations are great resources to ﬁnd a dog or cat for your family. If you’re ready to adopt, join us this weekend at 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 will be available for immediate adoption to loving homes. You can also visit http://www.petﬁnder.com to ﬁnd rescue organizations located nearby. They’ll be able to support you in ﬁnding the perfect companion animal for your family!
– Lisa Forzley