I’m a little partial to strays, depending on what kind they are.
Back in the day when I was praying about a husband, one of the things on my list was that he had to be kind to animals even if they were strays. Animal cruelty is wrong and I think animals need to provided for and cared for. I knew that if a man was kind to animals, he would be kind to kids. If I ever got married, I wanted kids and I wanted them to be cared for in ways beyond just their physical needs.
When I spent a summer as a nurse at a camp, I watched this man I would marry take care of the horses on the camp farm. There was one unbroken horse who dared anybody to ride him without being thrown off. Dave managed to do both and he did it with firmness and with kindness. I was impressed – but I didn’t let him know.
I liked that in this guy, and as the summer progressed, I discovered that he fit a few other things on my list of requirements. Find a man who cares about animals and you’ll have one who cares about his wife and his kids.
So be assured that I’m not opposed to taking good care of animals. We’ve rescued a few dogs from the pound because we like to give homes to those who need a place. The only cats we have now are strays who showed up here and were allowed to stay. We’ve had stray puppies who came uninvited and unannounced that were given a home. You can be assured I’m not opposed to helping stray or homeless animals.
I guess you could say it’s in my genes. I grew up with cats and dogs. Some of them belonged and a few came as a stray. We dressed the cats in doll clothes and carted them around the yard in an authentic baby carriage. We lined the St. Bernard puppies up on the porch steps and played church with them for days on end. Our cats and dogs were well fed, including the St. Bernard that ate all our table scraps and huge amounts of dog food every month. But my mother had a heart for kids, too – which is one reason she hosted our summer sisters from New York city each summer for two and four weeks at a time through the Fresh Air Fund. My mama cared most about the children.
What disturbs me today is the many folks who beg people to take in a mistreated animal or pastureless horse but seem to turn a blind eye to the strays and the needs surrounding them in their own community.
Needs like kids who don’t get a square meal a day and, were it not for free breakfast and lunch during the week, many of then would go to bed hungry. Kids who need a place to go when their parents can’t provide for them – or aren’t allowed to – because of neglect. Kids who don’t experience love and care because the adults in their lives didn’t receive that as kids either and therefore don’t know how to give love themselves. One stray often leads to more stray animals.
I think a stray dog and a lonely kid would make a good pair. But if I have to choose between one or the other, I choose the kid.
That’s why we’re giving to pregnancy centers and to organizations that provide food, clothing, water, and education for kids in countries that would be hopeless without the support of others. There are so many organizations asking for funding.
- One of those I highly recommend (and no one there knows I’m mentioning this) is Compassion International. If you want to know more about it, click here.
- You can also consider Orphan Resources International. For more information, go to this link.
- Another well-known organization that I recommend is Samaritan’s Purse. Find out more about this organization and ways to help here.
- Recently, a friend recommended an organization that helps refugee families. Since this friend recommends it and I trust her judgment, I offer this suggestion for World Orphans.
When you’re asking me for a donation to the humane society, I’m more likely to give if I know your heart is out there helping kids, too. I’d make a larger contribution if I knew you were helping take care of kids who need a home and not just gathering up stray dogs and cats because you want them to have a home.
There is always something a person can do. You don’t have to be a foster parent. You can mentor moms. For local folks in my community, the mentor role model program is a way to help kids. For those who don’t live around here, you can find plenty of places to invest in kids as well as animals in your community. You can do playdates with kids, and volunteer in the schools. You can participate in programs or offer child care or financial support so others can if you are not able to donate your time.
I think it’s time we get our priorities in the order they ought to be. Let’s take care of the kids first – and then those extra animals might also find a home. Every kid needs a pet. Let’s find help and homes for kids and then provide them with pets. It’s a win-win.