Friday, April 9, 2010

Prayer for pets at Blessing of the Animals

Dogs and cats of several breeds and personalities were sprinkled with holy water and recognized for their unconditional love and companionship during the Third Annual Blessing of the Animals.

Pet owners walked away with a blessing certificate and wealth of information regarding spay and neutering and pet adoption during the event, which took place at the North County Humane Society [NCHS] in Atascadero last Saturday, March 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The shelter currently houses a large group of cats in need of loving homes and families, according to NCHS. "We are so thankful to be able to do this and to have people come.

And celebrate their animals and partake in the event," said Reverend and NCHS Animal Health Care Coordinator Sherry Chapman. "We just want people to know that North County [Humane Society] is always here to help [the community] in any way, and that is our main function."

During the event, dogs and cats sat on the grass outside the shelter or in their owners' loving arms while Chapman drizzled holy water over their coats and prayed for the animals' future heath and well-being. The many felines in need of adoption meowed, paced and purred inside of the shelter while volunteers dosed out medications and food.

"Right now it's kitten season, so we are really busy right now taking in abandoned kittens - it's crazy," said Champman, who cares for a handful of abandoned kittens just days-old.

The tiny felines, yet to open their eyes to the world, squirmed as the volunteer rubbed their bottoms with a paper towel in order to stimulate their bladders as a mother cat would do. The kittens were found on an icy North County front lawn, nearly frozen to death, Chapman said. Another newborn kitty, which volunteers fondly referred to as "Little Larry," was abandoned by his mother after falling behind a hay bail inside of a Templeton barn.

Cats can become pregnant again a mere seven days giving birth, and Champman said that North County cat owners must spay or neuter their cats in order to stop the vicious cycle.

For the cats living at the shelter, ending up at the NCHS has been perhaps a blessing itself, saving the animals from homelessness, abuse and possible euthanization.

* Spay/neuter certificates

In an effort to push owners in that direction, the NCHS will give out spay/neuter certificates good for $20 off neutering and $40 off spaying their cats at the veterinarian's office.

For community members interested in dog adoption, the shelter is also a good resource and starting point for information, according to NCHS.

"We direct people asking about dogs to Woods [Humane Society] or the Department of Animal Services, and all the animal rescue services try to work together," Chapman said. "We try to reach out to the community as much as we can and answer as many questions as we can."

Volunteer opportunities are also available at the shelter including participating in fundraising events, acquiring local donations to cover expenses, maintaining the building and grounds, adopt-pet outreach and pet point data entry.

According to volunteers at the shelter, all animals deserve a bright, healthy and happy future where they can create bonds with their owners and provide furry friendship for years to come.

"What we are doing here is celebrating what great companionship the animals bring into peoples' lives," Chapman said.


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