Making sacrifices in where we spend our money is perhaps the most influential impact we can have on changing the world. But it isn't always easy. Many people travel long distances to purchase pet supplies at stores that don't sell animals. Others give up products they like so as not support practices that are cruel to animals. Some end long family traditions of certain meals or events in order to stop giving money to those not protecting animal rights. Signing petitions and sharing horrifying photographs helps spread animal rights messages but the only real way to force the closures of puppy mills, stop animal testing and end animal deaths and torture is to cut off the cash flow.
My most recent personal sacrifice for the greater good of animals has been to stop competing in American Kennel Club (AKC) events with my dogs. I used to spend well over $1,000 a year on AKC dog sport events. But with the AKC's continued support of puppy mills, I simply cannot justify the price of the lives of poorly treated breeding dogs simply for me and my dogs to have fun. And competition dog sports are very fun. I already miss the thrill of being in the ring, the joy of working seamlessly side by side with my best friend, the camaraderie of fellow passionate dog enthusiasts. However, there are many other organizations that hold dog sport events. Alternative dog sport organizations don't make tens of millions dollars a year from supporting questionable dog breeders and spend some of their $100K political lobby funds to rally against animal rights legislation the way the AKC does. I look forward to spending my money elsewhere.
The AKC isn't going to crippled my the lack of my money flowing into their massive bank account but at least I know that my hard earned money isn't supporting puppy mills. Feeling good about where my money goes is sometimes the best I can do to help change the world for animals. For this reason, I am always examining where I spend my money. I avoid products made in China or Japan. I never get a caffeine fix where civet coffee is served or sold. I don't buy food containing palm oil. I, like many others with the resign to help animals, do my best to spend my money where my heart is. I know that if everyone did, there will someday be no more money in the pockets of those who treat animals poorly. And that is a someday worth sacrificing for.
A to Z Challenge: Yesterday was L for Looking: Easter Egg Hunts For Dogs, tomorrow is N for Natasha Katarina II.
Circuses have been on my radar lately, though, besides seeing the occasional tweet or e-mail about yet another animal cruelty photograph, trainer account or video surfacing, they're usually not. On our recent trip to Boise, Idaho, we encountered animal rights protestors outside of the CenturyLink Arena because the Shrine Circus was in town. This weekend, a friend told me it was a bit of a moral dilemma for her, but she took her kids to a circus while visiting family in the mid-west. Both of these recent experiences made me ponder the moral dilemma that many people have with circuses. They want to go to the circus, maybe it's a family tradition or they just truly enjoy the clowns, but they also don't want to support the cruelty that has been documented in the circus animal training and travel world. There's a whole lot of very good reasons not to go to the circus. And if we stopped going, and tickets stopped selling, the animal cruelty would stop too. But what else can you do? Well, here are some ideas:
Two Saturdays a month, volunteers gather at The Union Gospel Mission in Seattle to provide free or discounted veterinary care, as well as pet food and pet care items, for qualified low-income or homeless pet owners. The Doney Memorial Pet Clinic is the legacy of Dr. Bud Doney, who saw a veterinary care need for the pets of homeless people in Seattle. Dr. Doney began to fill that need over 25 years ago, inspiring the formation of The Doney Clinic and it's hard working volunteers.
Volunteers at The Doney Clinic range in age from retired veterinarians to teenagers interested in the veterinary field. Volunteers come from all over the state, driving 4-6 hours to help sometimes 50 pets in 2 hours on clinic days. One volunteer is a former client of the clinic! Donors to The Doney Clinic come from all walks of life as well. An elementary school student recently made 8 jars of dog treats for a school project and donated them to the clinics food bank.
volunteer run organizations. I'd rather employ patience and understanding with a non-profit that is using 100% of my donation to help the cause instead of paying employees. And 100% volunteer fueled organizations like The Doney Clinic mean something. Everyone, from the board members to the vets to the bookkeeper, are doing this purely because they love it. That is volunteerism at it's finest!
Thank you to Blog the Change for Animals and National Volunteer Month and to The Doney Clinic for inspiring this post and the many like it. I am proud to be a part of this blog hop and of the The Doney Clinic.
Cascadian Nomads was not asked to or paid to promote any businesses or organizations mentioned and linked in this post. We're just sharing information or stuff we like!