‘Tis the season for animals too!

By Trisha Gurley
Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Solstice, it’s always fun to give gifts to friends and family. It’s been said for years that the holidays have become too commercialized and consumption-based. We’re now in an era of layoffs and job cuts, combined with a heightened concern for the environment. In short, people have less money to spend and need alternatives to future landfill fodder. Does your uncle need (or even want) that nose/ear hair trimmer? Will that Wii game your kid is begging for be played for a month, then left to languish in a box for all eternity? Do I even need to mention boxy fruitcakes? I think not.

Lo, what light through yonder mall window breaks? It’s giving the gift that indeed keeps on giving! No, not the fruitcake that doubles as a doorstop. How about a gift for homeless and abused animals this year? There are countless ways to warm a gift recipient’s heart as well as the hearts of animals who are literally and figuratively feeling very little warmth.
If you’d like to help locally, your first stop can be your own computer. The Memphis/Shelby County Humane Society website has a portal for you to donate online, and it can be in honor or in memory of anyone you choose, even a beloved pet. Go to memphishumane.org and click on the “Donate Now” button at the top left of the site.
Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services also permit online donations via their website, spaymemphis.org. Click the “Ways To Donate” link on the main page. They offer multiple ways to give, and your money goes to support affordable spaying and neutering for pets—the number one way to reduce pet overpopulation.

To keep it up-the-street local, log on to houseofmews.com and donate in your recipient’s name. On the top right of their main page is an adorable black kitty showing you the way to donate online. All of this is at the click of a mouse and renders nary a carbon footprint.

While a donation-as-gift is lovely, sometimes there’s just nothing like watching your relative or friend rip into wrapping paper and marvel at a present picked just for them. Good news, you don’t have to choose between a donation and a physical present! Many national animal welfare organizations feature gifts that are a joy for the recipient, the buyer, and animals nationwide!

Check out the site for the Humane Society of the United States, humanesociety.org. Here you will find all kinds of merchandise for any age group. There are t-shirts, hoodies, caps, jewelry, items for the home, and of course, items for your furry friends. They are also offering holiday cards that remind us that peace, joy, and love are for animals as well as humans!
Another great site is petamall.com. This site provides links to literally hundreds of animal-friendly vendors and is organized by category. So if your cousin Christy wants a fur jacket of the faux variety, you can easily find a cruelty-free synthetic mink to keep her warm all winter long. If your brother Bob wants only vegan treats, you can easily send him a holiday box chock full of carob cookies.

However you decide to celebrate the holidays, be sure to show your animal friends—and strangers—some extra love this season. Their love and companionship are truly the best gifts we could ever receive.

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