A wise person once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Besides the obvious meaning—that treating animals unkindly undercuts the moral status of a society—it’s important to remember that pets depend on humans for all their basic needs.
To drive home my point, here are a few stand-out programs in our community that go out of their way to look after the welfare of local pets and the humans who care for them.
Meals On Wheels for Pets Nassau County, mow4petsnassau.com
Keeping companion animals well-nourished and healthy is the mission of this organization. The program, in partnership with the Council on Aging, delivers food twice a month to homebound seniors who need assistance caring for their pets. Without pet food delivery, many companion critters would be eating food meant for their humans, which is unhealthy and could even be deadly. Dropping off a bag of dog food or cat litter keeps seniors and their pets together, and it’s another way to help older adults remain independent and healthy. Volunteers also offer assistance with basic preventive care and transportation to local animal clinics.
F.U.R. (Florida Urgent Rescue), floridaurgentrescue.com
For this rescue organization, saving high-risk canines is a top priority. Since its establishment in 2015, F.U.R. has saved many dogs from certain death. The foster-based rescue pulls pets from overcrowded rural shelters and cares for them until they’re adopted. Volunteers work hard to liberate these dogs from high-kill shelters (where animals are euthanized to make space for others), then transport them to areas along the East Coast where they have a chance at adoption and a healthy, happy life.
Feral Freedom – First Coast No More Homeless Pets, fcnmhp.org
The overall care for community cats in Northeast Florida has increased tremendously both inside and outside shelters since First Coast No More Homeless Pets introduced Feral Freedom. The program aims to trap free-roaming cats, spay or neuter, vaccinate, then return them to their stomping grounds—ear clipping helps identify which cats have been treated. Cats are allowed to live out their natural lives in their outdoor homes while colonies slowly reduce in numbers over time. To date, the program in the region has saved more than 30,000 cats from being euthanized in the city shelter, saving the community money, and saving the lives of thousands of cats, bringing us all one step closer to achieving a time of truly No More Homeless Pets.
As a dog, I often wonder what I can do to help less-fortunate animals around Northeast Florida. After all, pets do so much to lighten the day and give meaning to life. We are fortunate to have amazing organizations like these to remind us that by working together, people can do extraordinary—even heroic—things to help animals in our communities. By volunteering time, donating supplies, or just setting a good example, anyone can make a difference.
At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, join F.U.R. for HamBINGO at Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille in St. Nicholas. Every Monday, Hamburger Mary’s invites local charities to help raise money for their cause. Enjoy fabulous food and drinks, socialize with even more fabulous queens, and have a great time playing bingo while giving back to your community. Take note: Hamburger Mary’s warns, “This ain’t your church basement bingo!” Fur real. More info at hamburgermarys.com/jax/events/event/charity-bingo.
Davi the dachshund is a really do-good-doggo.