Sadly, one of the seldom discussed factors impacted by the economy is the family pet. With houses in foreclosure, or about to be foreclosed, soaring gas and food prices, something's gotta give. Unfortunately, that "something" is all too often the family pet. Dog or cat, they are landing in shelters and rescue groups at an alarming pace. When it comes to deciding between food and shelter, or medication and gas for the car, the family pet doesn't even begin to factor into the equation. Much loved companions are finding themselves homeless and with a limited number of days for which they'll be held at a shelter, without signs of a new home, the pet has nothing to look forward to beyond dead.
My friend, Marilyn Krieger, a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area is also in charge of Bengal Cat Rescue for the State of California. She has noticed a definite increase in the number of surrendered cats by people who simply can no longer afford to keep them. They need foster homes until permanent homes can be found. This is a pattern that repeats itself with every cat and dog breed rescue around the country.
Another close friend, Sue Janson of Wichita, Kansas points to her rescue group seeing an increase in the number of animals being relinquished by their owners because of their inability to pay for their care. They are having to make a choice: do I buy gasoline so I can get to my job? do I buy food for my kids or do I relinquish my pet because I can no longer afford him?
This is a difficult decision for everyone involved. There are no real solutions.
Perhaps you can foster a pet until a home is found. Or, perhaps, you have that home for a pet in need. Maybe you can donate food to your local rescue group or shelter. Or maybe you can help a friend who needs it so that pet can stay in his home. We must find ways to work together to resolve these issues while we wait for the economy to turn around. To paraphase: No Pet Left Behind!