Tomorrow — Monday, Dec. 23 — is the last day to drop off your donation to the holiday season benefit drive for the East Haven Animal Shelter. And, while Christian's seasonal effort may end soon — the need to care for and find forever homes for our local shelter's homeless animals will continue.
The holidays have arrived here in East Haven. And for most of us, it is a time filled with family, friends and fun festivities.
But not everyone is as fortunate, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Thankfully, there are long-standing programs to help bring some holiday cheer to local children and families in need. But what about our homeless four-legged friends?
Their only wish this Christmas is to find a new forever home: have they been forgotten this holiday season?
Thanks to the efforts of one shoreline resident, the answer this Christmas time is "No."
'Holidays Are a Tough Time'
Liz Christian, a 911 dispatcher and volunteer with the East Haven Fire Department, has spearheaded an effort this holiday season to collect food and monetary donations needed to help care for the dogs and cats living at the East Haven Animal Shelter.
"I wanted to have this drive for the East Haven shelter because the holidays are a tough time for all those who are homeless — whether they're humans or animals," Christian, a Branford resident, told East Haven Patch.
Shelter Wish List
As part of the drive, Christian asked East Haven Animal Control Officer Owen Little what was on the shelter's wish list this Christmas time.
Little responded with the items below:
- dry dog food
- dry cat food
- wet (canned) cat food
- cat litter
- cash donations
And Little noted that all monetary gifts this holiday season can be made out and mailed directly to the East Haven Animal Shelter at 183 Commerce Street.
Making a Difference
With tight budgets across the board these days for all town departments, Little said every donation no matter how big or how small, makes a difference in the lives of each of the animals the shelter takes in.
"To be able to provide them with that extra care — knowing they're going to a new home as a healthy pet — makes a difference," Little told East Haven Patch, referring to the series of veterinary and wellness services every animal at the shelter receives.
"And those donations make all of this possible," he said.
'Volunteer Your Time'
Christian notes that there is one other item people can donate to help their local animal shelter: time.
"Even if you don't have money, you can always volunteer your time and play and socialize with the animals," she said.
Christian herself regularly visits with animals at shelters across the region.
"Sometimes, it can be just as simple as taking a dog on a walk," she said.
Think 'Adopt,' Not 'Shop'
But the shelter animal advocate says the holiday drive is not just about collecting donations and encouraging volunteers.
She also hopes it serves as a vehicle to raise general awareness for the millions of homeless dogs and cats currently residing in the nation's countless overcrowded shelters.
This is why, Christian said, it is important to think "adopt" and not "shop" when it comes to finding your family's next new pet.
She noted that petfinder.com is a great way to locate animals available for adoption in your area. And the site can be particularly helpful for those looking for a particular type of animal or have any kind of "special request" when it comes to adopting a pet.
"Please don't shop for dogs and cats at pet stores," Christian said, as she romped around with Lovey in the East Haven shelter's outdoor run. "There are tons of great animals right here at your local shelter."
East Haven Shelter Info
You can view pets available for adoption at the East Haven Animal Shelter via the organization's PetFinder page.
And you can also keep up to date with the shelter's latest news, updates and other pet-related information via its Facebook page here.
The shelter hours are as follows:
- Monday-Friday: 8am-3pm
- Saturday: 8am-3pm
- Closed Sunday and Holidays