FLORENCE GILKESON: Help Needed for Animal Advocates
Wagging tails and vibrating purrs are thank-you notes from grateful clients of Animal Advocates of Moore County.
Animal Advocates' leaders already know the animals are grateful. What they really need are expressions of appreciation from two-footed admirers in the form of signed checks.
The nonprofit program came up short $9,000 in contributions for the January-through-May period. This loss is a double whammy. Not only does it leave the program short of funds, but it also comes at a time when the Advocates are receiving more calls for assistance than ever.
The Advocates' financial predicament is similar to that of charities everywhere. The recession is discouraging people from making contributions. At the same time, people who have lost jobs are having difficulty caring for pets. People who normally take good care of dogs and cats are turning them in to the Animal Shelter. Others are simply abandoning animals.
People also deliver abandoned creatures to Animal Advocates, where efforts are made to find new homes for these pets. For those injured or ailing, veterinary treatment is found, frequently rather expensive (despite reduced vet fees) treatment. Rescued pets are dewormed, vaccinated, spayed and neutered, sometimes placed in foster homes before permanent adoption, all courtesy of Animal Advocates and at no cost to taxpayers.
Maureen Horansky-Burke, who founded the Moore County chapter of Animal Advocates, operates an appealing, effective e-mail hotline for lost, found, abandoned and abused animals. When an animal is found or lost, Maureen puts the word out on her extensive e-mail address book, usually with a photograph. Then there are the angry, outraged messages when a dog or cat is mistreated or tortured.
Rescue of the little black pup named Lily is one of the most successful cases. Someone tied Lily to a pickup truck and dragged her down the road. Despite keen sleuthing in the community, the perpetrator was never nailed. But Lily was restored to health after extensive veterinary care and even more extensive tender loving care. A permanent home was found for the spunky little dog.
"They don't just find animals. They help families," said Michele Lupkas, a volunteer and the wife of AAMC president Ray Lupkas.
Michele recalled an incident three years ago when her family was overwhelmed with a situation involving two ailing pet cats. Barb Shepherd, an AAMC official, came to the Lupkas home at 10 p.m. to check on the cats. Barb, best known as the "cat whisperer," gave some practical advice and applied her loving touch. Three years later, both cats are still living happily, having outlived professional predictions that they were too old and might as well be euthanized.
The AAMC works with other animal groups. Its efforts help to reduce the number of pets turned in at the county's Animal Shelter, already overrun with lost and abandoned animals. AAMC helps other charities, most recently spreading the word about a cat that escaped from a box left at the Humane Society shelter. As with all groups helping animals, the Humane Society depends on charitable contributions.
"As is so prevalent in our economy, our donations have shrunk, and expenses have ballooned, and the requests to help animals have skyrocketed," said Ray Lupkas.
Donations are tax-deductible and may be sent to AAMC, P.O. Box 3399, Pinehurst 28374.
Just imagine the wags and purrs that would generate.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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