Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and many happy wishes no matter how you choose to celebrate!
Since this 'tis the season, I figured a good inspiration in helping our furry friends would be to provide you with a few links for charitable animal donations. You don't even have to give much - any amount will do - these fuzzy little sweeties need our help, however much you can donate.
Here's an idea I got into about 14 years ago. Back at that time, a month after I moved into my first apartment on my own, I had very little money for actual Christmas presents. So I gathered together info from several animal charities I liked - whether they were local or nationwide - and I did a sponsorship donation for one animal for each member of my family in their name. It cost me, honestly, about $25 a pop to sponsor each animal for a year. And for that year, that person would get a picture of their animal, and a quarterly update about how their furry friend was doing. It's a great way to do something in the spirit of giving, it's great for people who are hard to buy for, and even if you're not as broke as I was back then, it's a great additional gift to give with a regular holiday gift. The donation card with that sweet little furry face looking out at you is great as a stocking stuffer, or to tie to the front of a present instead of a gift tag. It's something that gives, it warms your heart, and really makes you feel like you're making a difference. And the recipient won't have to have it dry cleaned ever!
Here are a couple of links to animal charities I love:
The Animal Legal Defense Fund: http://www.aldf.org/index.php. This is probably one of the most important charities I've come across in the past few years. The charity is exactly what it's name implies - striving to enact laws that make animal cruelty a crime, and harsher penalties for anyone who harms an animal. Their slogan is "Harm an Animal - Go To Jail." Here's a little bit about them from their website: "For more than three decades, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. Today, ALDF’s groundbreaking efforts to push the U.S. legal system to end the suffering of abused animals are supported by hundreds of dedicated attorneys and more than 100,000 members."
Best Friends Animal Society: http://www.bestfriends.org//. Based in Kanab, Utah, this huge sanctuary takes in any kind of animal who needs help, no matter how big or small. They're probably one of the largest no-kill shelters in the country. Animals with missing limbs, missing ears, blind, sick, or simply unwanted - it doesn't matter. These people have opened their doors to furry, feathery and scaly friends of all sorts. Here's a bit more about them from their website: "Best Friends Animal Society is guided by a simple philosophy: kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us. In the late 1980s, when Best Friends was in its early days, roughly 17 million dogs and cats were being killed in shelters every year. Despite the commitment of shelter workers to the animals in their care, the conventional belief was that little could be done to lower that terrible number. Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets campaign created a new vision: A grassroots effort to place dogs and cats who were considered "unadoptable" into good homes, and to reduce the number of unwanted pets through effective spay and neuter programs. Since then, the number of dogs and cats being destroyed in shelters has fallen to approximately 5 million a year. There has been much progress,but there is still much more to do. The next phase of this work – bringing the number down to essentially zero – will take more work and some bold new initiatives. Shelters are crowded with pit bulls, dogs abandoned after being bought from pet stores, stray cats rounded up on the streets and not looking their very best when they’re brought in, and other pets abandoned or neglected. As the flagship of a grassroots network of people and organizations that care about animals, Best Friends continues to lead the way towards this future. And that's why our purpose remains: A better world through kindness to animals."
Another idea if you like the idea of keeping things local - donate to a local charity in your area. Sure, you can send money, but you can also donate your time, or old blankets, towels and pillows to keep the fuzzykins warm and cozy during the winter months till they find a home. Or if you're able to do it - offer them your home! Not just a "Hey, it's Christmas, let's adopt a pet! Nyuk nyuk nyuk!" But if you're truly in a position, both in your heart and in your home, to expand your family by four more legs, it's a truly wonderful thing to do.
Okay then, my lovelies - this is probably the last chance I'll have to type up some "blog-nog" (DORK!) before Christmas actually rolls around. So you'd better watch out, you'd better not cry, you'd better not pout, I'm telling you why - because that's a BUMMER, dude! Cheer up, it's Christmas!
I'd like to leave you with a few thoughts from what is probably one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time - Scrooged, starring Bill Murray (yes, I'm serious!). During the course of the movie, we see Frank Cross go from a man so cruel that he suggests stapling antlers to a Christmas mouse's little noggin at the beginning (perfect for a CF blog! And don't worry - no Christmas door mice were harmed during the making of this movie), to a man who wouldn't hurt a fly by the end of the film. My favorite part, though, is at the end of the film, when a truly reformed Frank Cross addresses his television audience on the joys of helping your fellow man:
"It's Christmas Eve. It's-it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we-we-we smile a little easier, we-w-w-we-we-we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be."
Even though I love this whole movie, that's the part that gets me. I cry like a baby when he gets to that part about being the kind of people we always hoped we would be. Or as the Ghost of Christmas Past says to him, "Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel." And we can be, you know? Whether you donate your time to a soup kitchen, or give to whatever charity warms your heart, be it animal, human or global, it's all up to us. We're the only ones who can make this planet a truly better place - and not just at Christmas, but all year round!
So to you and yours, have a fabulous, peaceful, healthy, happy holiday! Eat lots of food, stay warm and safe, and spend as much time as you can under the mistletoe with someone you love! Have a happy new year, and remember - I love your asses, you wonderful bunnies, you!
Lisa (and Edison, the big schmoopy kitten-head!)