Help your local pet shelters because they need it

Cats and dogs need friends too

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke


Photo by John Paluta

Chief Copy Editor Rebecca Mennecke with one of the cats at the Eau Claire County Humane Society.

There is nothing better than going to an animal shelter.

I’m not even kidding. Over the weekend, a friend and I decided to venture to the Eau Claire County Humane Society to pet some cats. It was the best decision I’ve made in a really, really long time.

The ECCHS features a number of different types of furry — or feathery — friends. From bunnies, birds, rats, dogs or cats, it seems like the shelter has every type of family pet one could possible want. They feature, like many shelters, a cat colony, where cats just climb right into visitors’ laps, purring. There is nothing more calming than a soft kitty — or puppy — to pet. (Maybe I’m biased, though, with four cats, two birds and a dog at home.)

I was the most calm I have felt in weeks. After stressful, last-minute homework assignments, papers coming out of my ears — and work, work, and more work — I knew that taking time to de-stress was important. However, I didn’t realize just how important it was until there was a fluffy black cat snuggling on my lap and I just felt all of my anxieties melt off of me.  

Last year, during a particularly difficult part of my first year, I visited the Dunn County Humane Society. There, cats literally crawled all over me to be my friend. Animals were everywhere. In one section of the shelter, several newborn kittens meowed for attention. It nearly broke my heart; I loved every second of it. I would return in a heartbeat.

But, there’s one sad reality to this happy scene: Animal shelters don’t get enough community support and they need it.

According to their website, the ECCHS receives “no funding from any local, state or national organization.”

They, like many organizations, run strictly off donations for food, water, pet toys, kitty litter, trained staff and other important things to an animals’ wellbeing.

When animal shelters are overcrowded and no one adopts — and the facility just doesn’t have the resources to support that many animals — they often turn to euthanasia to eliminate any animals they may deem unadoptable. This is why it’s important to support local shelters as much as possible so they don’t have to face such an ethical crisis. The American Humane Society reported that only approximately 24 percent of shelter animals are adopted. I think you can figure out what happens to the rest of them.

Helping a shelter doesn’t always mean donating money. Shelters always need kitty litter, food, blankets, toys, and so much more. They also often run off of volunteers to play with cats or walk the dogs. Even adopting a pet is a form of helping out the shelter. There was a kid at the shelter when I visited, who looked to be probably around six or seven. He was talking about using his birthday money — his birthday money, mind you — to adopt a cat.

When I was his age, I was really hoping for a Nintendo DS Lite.

We should want to support our local shelters and the safe homes that they provide for animals like this kid at the shelter I was at. Animals are great for us, and we’re really great for animals (better than cold cages, right?). Even if you can’t have a dog or a cat in your apartment, consider checking out the animal shelters and seeing the fuzzy little guys, petting them or walking them. You never know how you can find you can help.

Mennecke can be contacted at [email protected].