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Norwich Bulletin - 12/27/2010

A Whole New Year

In a few short days we will begin another New Year – 2011. The first decade of the 21st century is behind us an there is no doubt that it has been a hard one for most people and their animals. I applaud all of you who have made sacrifices in order to keep your pets because they are totally dependent on you and have no idea when their owners’ lives change.

Once a commitment is made, one should do their best to keep it. This is an important message for your children and grandchildren to learn. We should not be a throw away society anymore. Times are hard for everyone, and your animals are not someone else’s responsibility.

On the Eve of 2011, I find that instead of resolutions, this year will be one of tremendous change for my family and for Helping Paws. After more than twenty years of working in Norwich, I am retiring from my day job and becoming a snowbird. I will have relocated to Florida by the time you read this column.

Helping Paws will continue as always, but while I am in Florida, it will be under the “jurisdiction” of my wonderful administrator, Hercy Lord. We will continue to provide vouchers to spay and neuter the ferals and strays in New London County, as well as advertise cats that have been rescued by members of the general public and need help in placing them. I will continue to write my columns as long as I have readers. So everything changes – but nothing changes.

What will be your change this year? I have some friends who go through Craig’s list twice a week and then call people who can no longer afford to feed their animals so they are trying to find them new homes. They will offer pet food until the people can get back on their feet. If there are too many in a month, my friends will call Helping Paws who then provides some of the food to be distributed, and will continue to provide food to those in need until their finances improve.

There are others who donate $15 a month to Helping Paws and as it adds up, vouchers are bought to alter cats for low income families. And there are those who are much better off than most and will offer to pay for a spay and neuter every couple of months to help a family.

There are also changes that can be made that will improve your health as well as your pets. How about a light exercise program that includes a walk every day with your overweight dog? Or perhaps you might lighten up your everyday menu to include some less fattening foods for you and your pet. I have been able to lose ten pounds every year for the last three years by making small changes. If I keep it up, in two years time I won’t be overweight anymore – lol.

Having trouble breathing? If your house is smoke filled, chances are your pets are also suffering. Quitting smoking is really hard to do (I know, I did it twenty years ago) but it will improve you and your pets’ quality of life.

How about doing something social with your pet that will bring joy not only to you, but to others as well? If you have a dog or cat that loves everyone, perhaps you could consider learning about therapy animals? Even once a month, which is not a big commitment, would bring such joy to the elderly residents of nursing homes who have had to give up their pets. My husband and Milo were popular favorites at a few facilities where they volunteered their time. It was a rewarding experience for everyone, including Milo who had many fans.

There are so many positive ways to make some real changes in your life this coming year. And with the economy still limping its way to recovery, finding something that will not cost you money, is a real plus.

Please write to me via email or at our new address: Helping Paws, P.O. Box 765, Lyme, Connecticut 06371 with your New Years changes and I will include your “resolutions” in a future column.


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