Recently, my daughter and her friend decided to run a lemonade stand to raise money to help support Save-A-Pet, our local no-kill animal shelter. As they made their signs and stirred the lemonade, I cut up fresh lemons, added ice and set up a table in front of our house. They waved and yelled to all the cars that went by, " Ice cold lemonade, get your ice cold lemonade."
Many thirsty customers stopped by for a drink, and many of them were more than generous when it came to paying for their cold refreshment. By the time the girls had run out of lemonade and closed their stand, they had accumulated $35.05 in earnings, and were all smiles.
The next day I drove the girls with their money in a sandwich bag to Save-A-Pet to make their donation. Upon entering we were met by two friendly ladies who were genuinely happy to see the girls. After the girls explained why they were visiting and presented their sandwich bag full of money, the ladies took the time to explain how their lemonade money would be used to help the animals that they care for. In fact, the girls were given a full tour of the entire facilty and were told all about what Save-A-Pet does for the animals.
The fact that these ladies took the time to really teach these young girls all about the animal shelter was not only heart warming, it made a huge impression on the girls. Both girls now can't wait to be old enough to become volunteers at Save-A-Pet. Not only did the girls learn a lot, but I received a lesson on just how much Save-A-Pet does for animals in our area, and how much effort and caring is involved.
I also learned about the troubling economics of running a no-kill shelter and adoption facility. Here are some real life numbers to consider based upon my conversation with the ladies at Save-A-Pet: The average daily cost to keep an animal in a cage is $10.00, taking all associated costs into account; During an average month, they house, feed and care for 20 to 30 dogs, 70 cats, and 40 kittens with another 40 to 50 kittens in temporary foster homes; the veterinary surgery cost is about $160.00 per hour; then they have the costs for food, medicine, electric, heat, etc. On top of all these costs, the present state of our economy is having a dramatic effect on their ability to make ends meet. This is because they are taking in more animals than usual, as many people simply can no longer afford to feed and care for their animals. This is compounded by the fact that donations are substantially lower than they typically are, because many people are hurting and worried about their own finances. Any donations are gladly accepted, but they desperately are in need of money donations to make ends meet.
If we all helped out, donations of as little as $5 to $10 a month could really add up and make a difference. Saving our change each month would easily add up to more than that, so it's easy to help Save-A-Pet save the life of animals that rely on us to do the right thing. The mission statement of this shelter is "At Save-A-Pet we believe it is our moral responsibility to protect and improve the lives of abused, abandoned, and homeless animals, and to place them in loving, permanent homes."
We should all take a moment to think about how with very little time and effort we could make a difference in the lives of so many animals. Start with a lemonade stand or saving monthly change and get your kids involved, it's a great life lesson for them. Save-A-Pet is a non-profit IRS approved 501c-3 organization.
Mark T. Freeley, Esq. – www.northshoreinjurylawyer.com