Saturday, December 12, 2009

If you're going to give...

PLEASE know what you're giving to.

Lots of people donate to various charities during the holidays.  I'm still not sure exactly why this is - considering there are so many other financial strains at this time, but I guess that's just how it is.

So, I feel in some small way it is my duty to remind people to know what they're giving to before they just hand over their cash.

Some people have the money to be able to give without a second thought.  That's not me.  It's important to me that my money do the most it possibly can - because there's not much of it.

This is an organization many people are familiar with.

I NEVER give my money to this organization.  Let me tell you why.

I don't appreciate being deceived.  Many people believe that when they give their money to the HSUS, it is going to the dogs, cats, and other animals in need of care.  They believe this because the HSUS goes to great lengths to get them to believe it.  Sadly, it's not true.  You can read about one specific example of this here.  See, that place in your city often called the Humane Society that houses homeless dogs and cats hoping to be adopted is NOT The Humane Society of the United States.  I know, sneeky, right?  The money you give to the HSUS is not really going to the care of those pets sitting in kennels in your town.  It's going to things like lobbyists, advertising, and board member salaries.  The HSUS is an animal rights group (much like PETA), not an animal care taking organization.  In fact, many people call HSUS "PETA in as suit and tie".  There really isn't that much difference between the two. 

Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I think things like lobbying aren't important.  They are.  Lobbying is the way many of the animal welfare laws have been brought to the attention of legislators and passed.  I'm also not going to tell you that I necessarily agree with everything the HSUS lobbys for.  (but that's a whole different discussion)  Either way, I want my money to go where I think it's going.  I don't like being tricked.  I want my money to go to the local dogs and cats who need it.

THIS is why I NEVER give money.  I find the best way to give is by giving supplies the shelter needs.  When I see the brand of dog food my local shelter uses (Purina Dog Chow in Green Bay) on sale - I buy some.  When paper toweling is on a great sale - I buy a bunch.  When my dogs get bored with some of their toys, I wash them and donate them.  Many pet supply stores even have a bin you can put the stuff in right there so you don't have to make a special trip out to the shelter.  And if I ever decide to give money - I'll give it directly to the shelter or rescue I want it to go to.

So, if you're going to give this holiday season (and I hope you do), just remember that all is not as it seems.  Educate yourself, and ask questions.  The dogs will thank you for it.       

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