Where have all the people gone?
By Phil Snyder, Executive Director Suncoast Humane Society
Suncoast Humane Society and other animal shelters in Southwest Florida find themselves in a topsy-turvy world every season, compared to our counterparts up north. We know that more puppies and kittens are born during the spring, summer and early fall than at any other times of the year. This means that more homeless animals will be surrendered to animal shelters during these times.
With more homeless animals being surrendered, the need for adoptive homes is consequently greater during these periods. More volunteers are needed to assist staff with various duties, as well as provide animal comfort chores. And for sure, the need for increased donations to support the efforts of a non-profit organization, like ours, is far greater.
The many problems that surround pet overpopulation remain with us winter and summer. If animals could speak, I am sure those in animals shelters would be asking, WHERE HAVE ALL THE PEOPLE GONE, as we experience the dramatic seasonal drop in volunteers, adopters and donors.
Many of our snowbird friends, who provide a great deal of the support for non-profit organizations in our community, are now headed north to their summer homes.
Suncoast Humane Society, and the animals entrusted to our care, will lose many valuable volunteers. We will lose volunteers who greet visitors at the animal care center. There will be a drop in volunteer dog walkers and cat cuddlers, who help keep the animals socialized. In addition to volunteers, there will be fewer people around to adopt the ever-increasing number of homeless animals at the shelter.
The Society’s thrift stores in Englewood, Port Charlotte and Venice, rely on the sale of donated household goods and other usable items to provide nearly one-third of their operating budget. However, the dog days of summer (no humane society pun intended) will result in fewer donated goods, and as experienced by many retail stores in our area, a huge drop in shoppers.
But hey, this is not new to Suncoast Humane Society, and I am sure it isn’t to the other great non-profits throughout Southwest Florida. It may not be easy to make the most out of fewer resources, but we know that the animals and the community count on us.
So, if you are one of our bravehearts who live here year-round, please know how much charities like Suncoast Humane Society rely on you for support. Please donate as you can, adopt a pet when ready, and think about becoming a volunteer as your time allows.