This article was originally published in the Las Cruces Sun-News on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016
I am not typically one for making New Year's resolutions — too much stress and expectation! But I do enjoy the feeling of a "fresh start" and the refocusing that the New Year brings. I would like to share some ideas on how we can refocus in 2016 on the animals in Doña Ana County.
Be a voice
We have all heard, “Speak up when you notice neglected or abused pets in your neighborhood.” But we must start speaking up concerning the lack of grooming when we see dogs/cats in the community.
Also, when you see an unaltered animal, make sure the owner is aware that it is socially unacceptable not to have your animal altered (unless you are a reputable breeder) and refer them to the available affordable spay and neuter programs in the community, including the one offered at the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley, 575-382-0018.
When you hear about an accidental litter being born, please do not “ooh and ah” over them; instead make sure the mother and all the offspring are altered before going to their forever homes. When you hear of animals being abandoned at the ASCMV, explain to those who abandoned them that action is not socially acceptable and that when you take an animal into your home, it is your responsibility to take care of that pet for its natural life. This isn't pleasant, but if you can help even one animal escape a painful life, it is worth it.
There are hundreds of animals in need of your attention/help every single day at the ASCMV. I realize this concept can be overwhelming for many people. Every little bit of enrichment helps, though.
You can walk some dogs at the shelter if you cannot handle seeing them in kennels/cages; you can help with the cats at our off-site locations; you can help with our off-site adoption events (transporting, adoption counseling, or enrichment).
You can become a foster to some of the many animals that need home-like enrichment; or you can become part of our photography team. It has been proven the cuter the photos, the less time animals remains in the shelter. The ASCMV always takes in-kind donations: canned food, towels/blankets, crates and of course we accept monetary donations. The ASCMV is located at 3551 Bataan Memorial West, Las Cruces, NM, 88012.
Regular exercise has the obvious health benefits; that’s why the Mock family climbs ‘A’ Mountain on a regular basis. But it also is a great time to bond with our pets. A simple daily walk helps a dog learn proper manners, provides some good-quality time and does wonders for the human counterparts, too.
Keeping pets at the proper body weight reduces the risk of heart and joint problems, diabetes and a host of other poor health conditions. I am amazed at the number of obese dogs/cats that are surrendered to the ASCMV.
So I am giving the people of Doña Ana County three New Year’s resolutions to ponder. In order to make Doña Ana County the pet-friendly community that we all desire it to be, we should incorporate the above three concepts into our daily lives.
Dr. Beth Vesco-Mock is executive director of the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley.