When 83-year-old Velma Bennett was murdered outside her Bluejacket home Wednesday, her children not only lost their mother, but the stray cats and dogs she took in as her own were also left with no one to care for them.
Velma lived out in the country, where dogs seem to be dumped from time-to-time. Velma never turned a stray away. When she died, she had more than 20 pets. Velma vaccinated the animals herself and mowed lawns to pay for dog and cat food. Her daughters said their mother would without to make sure her pets were taken care of, "God has got have a special place for a person like her. I'd like to think there is an animal heaven and mom is right in the middle of them," her daughter Kathy Walker said.
With their mother gone, her daughters didn't know what they were going to do-- they couldn't keep all the animals. That's when the Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter stepped in...to rescue dogs and cats Velma so thoughtfully rescued over the years. ( http://www.paasvinita.com ) PAAS Vinita is a new, no-kill, non-profit rescue group out of Vinita. Since it was founded in April, the rescue has saved more animals than it can count...and says it's an honor to add Velma's pets to that list.
You can read/watch our story about Velma and PAAS by clicking the link below:
Daily, animal rescue personnel are faced with one of our greatest challenges - the no longer wanted older dog or cat, especially when it's been someone's companion for several years. Municipal shelters, by law, have to accept the animals within their jurisdiction. I can vouch that it is one of the most heart-breaking aspects of their job description. What makes it doubly hard is when the family members choose to not take the beloved pet into their home. For the rest of us in rescue, we focus on saving as many dogs and cats as possible and the key word we use in making that decision, most of the time, is adoptable. Because there are soooooo many unwanted/homeless dogs and cats in our area we have to make the difficult decision to say "no" when an animal is too elderly, severely injured and/or very sick.
Within a six hour period, PAAS had several people come to the shelter who wanted to surrender elderly dogs - some had cataracts, some had tumors, many were missing teeth. We knew what they really wanted was for us to say "yes" we'll take your animal so the owners would not have to do the right thing - visit their veterinarian to make a humane choice for their pet. SERIOUSLY!!!! At the end of the day we were emotionally drained.
All of us wish all pet owners had this notification in their billford. Oh - - -if only!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For those of us who work in animal rescue we sometimes wonder if we’re crazy. It is emotionally hard work and, for the most part, you take the job home with you every night. Thankfully I had someone validate that we’re not crazy – and what we do is beyond amazing. Beauty shops and nail salons have similarities for women to coffee shops and good ol’ boys clubs for men.
Recently, a friend, whom I see every two weeks, had just returned from a long – successful – rescue of a dog that ran away during a transport exchange. It took several days and nights, lots of coffee and Mountain Dew, and a village of concerned people to accomplish the rescue. In the process they also discovered a feral dog, excellent mother, who routinely delivers puppies. The people who feed her were not interested in catching her and planned to continue to feed her and her puppies. In addition there was a huge feral cat colony behind the local discount store – and yes people fed all of them as well. However, when it came to solving the over population, the rescue was met with pushback. FRUSTRATING – oh dear lord – you have no idea.
Finding a workable solution requires patience, understanding of the political arena, and a diverse group of people who share one goal – reducing the overpopulation. They do not have to agree on religion, life style, how to raise kids or their voting preference - - they just need to agree on reducing the over-population of feral dogs and cats. Sounds easy – it is difficult to achieve. But we never, ever, give up hope.
OH, if only - - probably the most popular phrase in rescue. IF ONLY people would spay/neuter. IF ONLY people would provide a safe place for their pets. IF ONLY all dogs were on heart-worm and flea/tick prevention. IF ONLY all cats were spayed/neutered - including barn cats, feral cats, outdoor cats and inside cats. IF ONLY people would realize adopting a pet should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision. IF ONLY all pets were micro-chipped. IF ONLY dog fighters would find a different sport - one that hurt no one - - especially dogs who have no voice. IF ONLY people understood the wonderful connection that can happen when they bring a pet into their home. IF ONLY the municipal shelters, private shelters and foster-based rescues never, ever had to say "no" we have no space. IF ONLY everyone in Oklahoma decided they would support good spay/neuter legislation for their city and/or county. IF ONLY, IF ONLY spay/neuter were the two most popular words in everyone's "'pet" vocabulary. IF ONLY - - - - IF ONLY.
Every day we receive calls from concerned citizens about neglected, abused, unwanted, homeless animals. Here’s how you - - you reading this - - can help.
First, contact your local police/sheriff so you know the law for your area. Then, follow it. If it’s the water department, the police department, the sheriff’s office - - wherever it is - - just DO IT!!! Yes, it means taking a stand - but someone needs to do it.
Once you’ve made the complaint, then the authorities can investigate. Rescue organizations want to help, immediately, but we shouldn’t. It’s against the law and not worth risking our entire rescue operation. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that we can’t save all of them, but the reality is we can’t. We can, however, save more if you – the concerned citizen and animal lover - - do your part to help us begin the rescue process for those animals who have no voice and need someone to step up and help them.
Remember – it starts with you – you doing the right thing. And, as always, it really starts with fewer puppies and kittens - - which means Spay/Neuter - - it’s the right thing to do.
The amazing, successful underground railroad is alive and well. Today's railroad is actually dedicated individuals and organizations who effectively use social media to move hundreds (yes hundreds) of dogs to their new awaited families - - scattered throughout the northern states and Canada.
This does not include the equally effective bird in the air (aka plane). Pilots n Paws is just one of many such organizations that provides connecting rides for animals headed to a better home.
A few years ago, it would have taken many phone calls to make the necessary connections for a transport. Today - with social media - the connections are made via a text message, email or shared post on a facebook page dedicated to a specific transport, breed, or a group of concerned people who share a passion for helping.
Once our facility is open, we will be able to offer a stop-over place for animals headed up Interstate 44. We will reach out to transports and groups, let them know the logistics and space available. In addition to adoptions and transports - we will also be working with prisons to provide obedience training and organizations who train dogs for service - such as ptsd, diabetes, epilepsy and autism because, thankfully, shelter dogs are now recognized for their value as service dogs.
We have a long way to go, in Oklahoma, to save more dogs and cats. But we're making a difference and that's a start.