The Humane Society offers hope and shelter to animals

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By: Dylan Rettler


Throughout the ages, cats and dogs have been two of the primary animal companions for people. Walk down almost any residential neighborhood in the United States and you’ll see firsthand the camaraderie between humans and canines, but that bond goes back before the nation itself. In fact, dogs were the first animals to take up residence with people and can be found in human societies all over the world. In addition, the affection of the feline that peppers domiciles throughout the planet goes all the way back to ancient Egypt.


Unfortunately, this symbiosis is experiencing some critical failures that demand attention. Pet populations and animal abuse have run amok, leading to a cycle of suffering that requires a remedy. The Humane Society offers a viable antidote.



The truth of not only the ailment, but also the prescription, for the crisis at hand is demonstrated with a dog name Spinnelli.


Four years ago on Thanksgiving, a jogger was enjoying what seemed to be a routine trot through riverside park. As she ran, the jogger noticed something unusual, a moving cardboard box. Curiosity led her to the discovery of nine puppies less than a day old. The Humane Society took in these abandoned animals and bottle fed them for four weeks.


Spinnelli was one of the lucky nine to be found, rescued and adopted. On top of being loved and cared for, Spinnelli participates in frequent seminars with the Humane Society educating children on how to work safely with animals.


The solution to overpopulation and abandonment illustrated above is one of many that the Humane Society offers to ameliorate the pain that animals endure. An institution rooted in compassion, the Humane Society of the United States was founded in 1954 and addresses five key issues.


1:  factory farming
2:  animal fighting
3:  fur trade
4:  puppy mills
5:  wildlife abuse


As a Washington D.C. institution, the Humane Society involves itself in engineering national legislation that champions the rights of animals.


Luckily, the Grand Rapids area has its own chapter of the Humane Society offering some relief to this distress. The Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM) achieves this through several programs that go beyond these animals’ basic requirements of food, shelter and medical care. These include, the rescue wagon, dog shadowing, reading with Fido, and an ongoing intensive adoption program.


Dogs walkingRescue wagon is a charitable operation that goes to shelters in the southern states, collects dogs, and ferries them to shelters like the HSWM that are more capable of caring for them. Shelters is these southern states are overwhelmed as a result of overpopulation reaching staggering levels and leaving countless animals on “death row.” The dog shadow program assures that the canines are taken on regular walks while they stay at the society and, of course, are provided with treats.


Reading with Fido, which has a parallel program for felines, provides companionship and affection for the animals while at HSWM. Reading with Fido volunteers take the animals to a separate room or sit in their cages and provide them attention.


The noteworthy benevolence of the Humane Society has experienced an overflow that has cycled itself back in offshoots to humankind. This circle of benign activities giving back to humanity is evident in Pets for Patriots, companion animals, and summer camp programs.


Pets for Patriots allows those who have served or are currently enlisted in the United States military to participate in a mutually beneficial condition of friendship. The Patriot program coordinates adoptions while providing ongoing financial assistance for animal care.


Similarly the companion animal program allows anyone with need for emotional support to involve themselves in rescuing an animal while fulfilling mutual requirements for affection.  Lastly, the summer camp program provides attention and training for shelter animals while giving participants an education in handling animals.


The words of the Dalai Lama work well to illustrate the reasons the compassion being dealt by the Humane Society and others appreciates a condition of justifiable continuity. “Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. Even now an animal is waiting to realize a deliverance from their predicament.”


The Humane Society does much to resolve the impasse the relationship between humans and their four-legged friends has reached. However, as the saying goes, one person cannot do everything, but everyone can do something.


Truly the Humane Society’s success is due to a concerted, determined effort of many caring individuals.


The Humane Society holds years round adoption drives. Through these, and other programs, the Humane Society of West Michigan – located at 3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, 49534 – assists over 8,000 animals annually.



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