Recently, PetSmart came to my community of Casper, Wyoming, the first in the state. I have shopped this big box store for pet supplies in many other towns, enjoying the vast array of food, toy, and treat selections for my animals. Therefore, I was happy to see PetSmart open in my community.
I attended the grand opening, as did many others. How wonderful to see the long lines of pet owners and their beloved animals and to visit with the local rescue groups with which the Casper PetSmart is partnering: cats on one side of the building brought in by Temporary Home Animal Rescue (they rescue cats from Metro, our town’s kill-shelter) and dogs from Black Dog Animal Rescue on the other side of the new store. Our town already had a PetCo, which has been part of the community for several years. I have shopped there also. One of the reasons I shop these stores is not just because of the great varieties of food, toys, and treats, but also because each store has a foundation that supports pet rescue and adoption. Unlike other big-box pet stores, PetCo and PetSmart do not sell dogs, cats, puppies or kittens – they promote adoption and partner with local groups that rescue, spay/neuter, and adopt. This helps in many ways: (1) helps decrease the number of puppy/kitten mills; (2) keeps pet overpopulation/breeding at bay; (3) promotes pet adoption.
The foundations of each of these stores assists rescues and shelters in many ways. PetSmart Charities, for example, promotes pet adoptions and spay/neuter, to save lives. Nearly three million dogs and cats are killed in shelters every year. Through PetSmart stores and the Charities program, adoption events are held several weekends every year; in fact, one is planned for this weekend (check the closest PetSmart store near you). The PetCo Foundation also supports and promotes pet adoption events; the organization also raises awareness about and contributes to finding a cure for cancer in pets. And, both organizations/businesses support disaster relief regarding displaced pets. These are reasons I am happy PetSmart and PetCo are in my community. I like supporting small businesses also; however, the impact of these larger stores not only helps the homeless animals in my town, but also reaches beyond my community, helping animals in need across the country.
Another wonderful organization is Petfinder.com – not only can a person find a new furry friend via the group’s online search of shelters and rescues, but they provide wonderful resources on pet care. Petfinder also has a foundation, the mission of which is to “help ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home.” The group also helps in times of natural disaster, including the recent raving wildfires that took place in California.
As I wrote in a blog post last year about “it takes a digital village” to reunite pets, it takes a village to help pets in general. People who work in animal shelters, volunteer or staff rescues, individuals who adopt and donate, and businesses and organizations who partner with those shelters and rescues, and those who donate and/or purchase through those organizations and businesses (like PetCo/Foundation, PetSmart/Charities, and Petfinder/Foundation) – we all work together to help pets in need. Whether they are in need of new homes, of shelter from storms, or medical attention from abuse or disaster, we, as individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses, work together for the betterment of animals.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.