|"A man holding a dog walks on a street in|
Kessennuma City, Miyagi prefecture.
STR/AFP/Getty Images" courtesy hsi.org
Often in times of tragedy, we think of helping the affected people by getting them food, shelter and water. These are of course, top priorities. But another way to help people is by helping animals in these areas. Many think that the last thing on our minds should be the animals. But the animal population goes hand in hand with what is happening with survivors for many reasons. For one thing, stray animals affected by disaster can become dangerous as they become hungry and often times, ill and starving. By making animal rescue a priority in disaster areas, we're directly keeping human survivors and rescue teams safe and healthy.
Also, let's not forget, animals lead rescuers to humans trapped in rubble. Not simply the rescue dogs that come with teams but animals still located and wandering in the affected areas. We've all seen photos of dogs unwilling to leave their owner's sides, even after the worst case scenario. It's a heartbreaking reminder of the loyalty of domesticated animals.
What I saw with my own eyes reinforces what so many prison training programs already know, that through the process of caring for and rehabilitating animals, people discover their own humanity and compassion once again, even after their own traumatic life events.
If you have any money left to spare after donating to the Red Cross or other rescue funds, please consider giving to Humane Society International as they work together with other organizations on the ground in Japan. Humans and animals are inevitably intertwined, even if you simply think about it at an ecosystem level, this is a concern that needs to be addressed and you don't have to stop efforts on behalf of people to also help animals.
If you could even spare five or ten dollars in addition to what you are giving to the Red Cross, you can make a BIG difference for these animals and for Japan. Also, Humane Society International accepts PayPal donations. Do you have an extra few "digital" dollars lying around that you might spend on Ebay or Amazon.com? Why not donate it to something that matters SO MUCH. But I know they appreciate checks mailed in as well. And remember, all charitable donations are a tax write-off!!!
I don't work for Humane Society International or have any affiliations with them. But I believe that in times of tragedy, if something is tugging at your heart, especially if you are a blogger or someone with a public voice, no matter how small, you should reach out and share, encouraging others to do the same.
Please, whatever is tugging at your heartstrings in the wake of the many tragedies we have seen in the last few years, PLEASE GIVE. Even if that's in your own community.
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