President’s Message:

How You Can Help Animals During This Pandemic Lock-Down

Well, COVID-19 has taken its toll on everyone. People feel at sea and things will never be right again with the world, if indeed they ever were, but at least life was tolerable for most of us. Now, no movies, no plays, no concerts, and most restaurants half open – just awful. Many of us are looking for relief inside the refrigerator – not a good idea – or losing ourselves in mindless TV shows. Some believe that additional wine is the answer. But here are some options.

Call your local animal shelter to see if they have opened up a bit in terms of COVID-19 and are allowing volunteers to resume tasks like walking dogs, while practicing safety with masks and social distancing. Shelter dogs have suffered during this pandemic along with the rest of us when their regular dog walkers were confined. Having a walk is the highlight of a shelter dog’s day. And it is good for all of us to be out in the brisk fall air that can refresh the soul and body.

You can replicate NYSHA’s efforts to support local food pantries by asking your friends to join you in donating pet food. All the places where we bring pet food in Ulster County are so appreciative when we arrive with our donations.

One of my friends had another idea. He purchased a kit and has spent COVID time affixing the various pieces of wood and canvas to the walls of a spare room for the benefit of his cats who now love to play on their new wall gym, providing entertainment for both them and my friend. If you have the room, this is an option.

Pat Valusek, president of New York State Humane Association
Pat Valusek, President of New York State Humane Association.

Here are some other ideas that benefit both people and animals. Create a backyard bird and critter refuge as you do yard cleanup in the fall. Push a bunch of leaves and brush together in a pile next to your shed or back fence; it can provide shelter for a possum. Thoroughly clean your bird feeders and start placing seed in them, so the birds get used to coming there. As it gets colder, buy a heated water bowl to put on or near your back porch for critters for whom usual water sources may become frozen. Heated bird baths are available, so your backyard birds can have a water source all winter. It is very rewarding to watch those thirsty animals drink, knowing you are helping them survive. Providing water for outside critters and birds is important year round, but especially in summer and winter.

Who knows how long this pandemic will continue, but we can put our time to good use by helping our fellow creatures. Then we can sit back with a snack and a glass of wine and watch some mindless TV and be pleased with ourselves.

Always be kind to animals,

Patricia Valusek

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXXVI Fall 2020.