It has been said that the quality of mercy is not strained...that it blesses those that give and those that receive..Although those these words were written long ago, they could easily describe Pet Connection Programs in Marilla .For over thirty years the shelter has been caring for pregnant dogs and cats and their offspring, animals most in need of a gentle and caring hand. Julie Garvey is Pet Connection's President." The mothers are always the ones we are worried about first because...a simple thing like giving them food, whoever had them that dumped them just didn't feed them. The more they eat the more milk they produce so we really try to get their weight back on so that they can take care of their puppies, if not we're there for them."
The nature of the care provided demands that someone be at the shelter at all hours,as both mothers and young require constant attention. But the care they receive doesn't end after a few weeks. The animals receive socialization training while they stay in Marilla, all in an effort to ensure that once they're adopted, they stay that way,says Garvey." We started this shelter so these puppies or kittens , because we do cats as well, are raised in a more homier type of situation , so they get socialized and do health wise better."
It's a fact that Americans love their pets, over 62 percent of households in the US own a cat or dog. Even so, the number of strays is astronomical. It is estimated that stray cats alone number over 70 million ! Of the 7 million or so animals surrendered to shelters each year, almost 4 million are euthanized. A big part of that may be because many owners are ill prepared to care for the animal they choose. " They see a cute face and they want it," Garvey says"Not looking at what the needs are for this pet you are getting. I am actually amazed at how many people don't know how to properly train a dog...I'd say 98 percent don't know what it takes to train a dog properly."
Economic woes and natural disasters are displacing more animals and putting additional stress on already overburdened shelters. The smaller sanctuaries in particular are being hardest hit, and many, like Pet Connection, are in dire need of assistance. The Marilla refuge is in danger of closing if help does not arrive soon,and Garvey is concerned." We all thought, let's take in one more, what's one more ? But one more is one more vet bill, one more amount of supplies that we need, and I just don't want to see it end because we are really needed, we are really needed."
And it's a need that constantly grows .Each day, more and more pets are losing their homes...and the clock is ticking for each and every one of them. " Unfortunately, these animals do not have time, they are put down, killed in pounds immediately, they don't have time on their hands, so it's not something we can hope will happen one day, it's their lives that are involved."
If you would like to help this wsorthy organization, you can visit their website at www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com or call them at 652-0192.