Culturally, when someone says “Humane Society” or mentions an animal rescue organization, the image conjured in a person’s mind is of emaciated animals undergoing a lifesaving transformation – one that ends with their health restored and in the arms of a loving family. That story is an accurate depiction of the work we do at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County.
While the animal is at the center of this story, there is also a family in the background of the shot. Every rescue story features a person or group of people whose lives are made undeniably better because they have the opportunity to love and cherish an animal, and to receive unconditional love from the animal in return.
People often forget about this important part of our mission and work – to enrich the human experience through animal companionship. If you’ve ever loved a pet, you know what it’s like to come home to a toothy grin and a tail wag, or to be seated on the couch and discover that a feline friend has deemed your lap the prime place to nap. These small moments warm our hearts and remind us that even the worst days end with love from our companion animals. We believe that this experience should be shared universally and shouldn’t be a privilege afforded only to people and families with wealth or status. All families should be able to experience the joy of animal companionship if they choose.
This is where the Humane Society’s community services come in. To support pet parents in low-income communities, the Humane Society offers several low-cost veterinary services to families on government assistance in Memphis. We also host vaccine clinics throughout the year to ensure animal owners can maintain essential vaccinations, and recently, we began offering low-cost spay/neuter services to help curb unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. We hope to expand our services soon, providing more support for animal owners across the Mid-South.
The way we care for the animals in our shelter also makes animal adoption more accessible to families. We provide and fully cover essential care – like heartworm treatment, spay/neuter, vaccinations and needed operations – before animals are able to be adopted. We also provide training and behavioral support that makes the transition from shelter to home smoother for both the animal and the family. Our adoption fees are low and fixed, which makes the process financially easier for families that are budget conscious.
The precautions we take prior to adoption and the services we provide to the community help contribute to long, healthy animal lives. They also empower owners by allowing them to properly care for their animal. Unfortunately, when families feel like they cannot financially support their animal, they are more likely to turn them loose or to surrender them to a shelter. This contributes not only to the rampant animal homelessenss battle we’re fighting in Shelby County, but can also pose a threat to public health and safety.
The Humane Society’s community veterinary programs are as much about the people as they are about the animals. We seek to provide a dignified veterinary experience that empowers people to be lifelong pet parents. If you want to support low-cost veterinary care in Memphis and Shelby County, make a donation to the Humane Society today.