Did you know that this week, November 4 through November 10, has been designated as National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week? Nationwide, five to seven million pets enter shelters every year. We here at PetMeds support pet adoption, as well as the shelters and rescues that are dedicated to helping homeless cats and dogs. This week is a great time to show our appreciation to these animal shelters and rescues across the country. To celebrate, we are interviewing different shelter and rescue groups this week. Hopefully, it will shed light on the important work done by these often unsung heroes.
To start, we talk with Laci from Benson’s Pals Animal Sanctuary:
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Tell us a little bit about your shelter:
The name of our shelter is Benson’s Pals Animal Sanctuary. We are located in Leesville, South Carolina. We rescue feral, abused, neglected animals.
How did you become involved in helping to rescue animals?
We became involved in animal rescue in 2009 due to the untimely death of a family member. Her dream, as well as ours, was to start an animal sanctuary together. Our rescue is dedicated in memory of she and her dog Benson. We recognize that our state has a very large feral population and the need to prevent useless euthanasia.
How do you feel your animal shelter differs from those in your area?
Benson’s Pals is a no kill animal sanctuary that provides a forever home to all animals who come to us so that they are never homeless again.
What does National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week mean to you and your organization?
What National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week means to Benson’s Pals is the ability to advocate for animals that are in need of foster or forever homes. It can help bring awareness of the importance of spay/neuter programs to end over-population so less are in shelters and more are in homes. It is a time to honor all shelters and people involved in saving the lives of animals in need.
Do you have a favorite adoption story you would like to share?
One year ago Benson’s Pals rescued 4 dogs that were going to be shot in the woods. All of them were malnourished and uncared for. After receiving healthcare and good food, we discovered that the black lab, Kip, was pregnant. We did not know at that time that Kip was a carrier of K9 herpes, which can kill an entire litter of pups. When her pups were born, they all showed signs of K9 herpes and their health was beginning to deteriorate. Our vet informed us that once they showed signs of the herpes, there was very little time left for them. We decided to try anything and began syringing an anti-viral natural supplement in them twice a day. Today, all six puppies and their mom are very healthy and happy here at Benson’s Pals.
We know the work you do is selfless and many may even say underappreciated. What do you feel is the most frustrating part of your job?
The most frustrating part of our job is finding companies that are willing to donate to shelters. The animals at Benson’s Pals become part of our family and we must continue to provide income to care for our family. Fundraising for small, unknown shelters is very difficult and we often find that people don’t care to donate to animal organizations. Another frustrating part of our job is to see the severe neglect and unconcern for feral animals. Also, spay/neutering does not seem to be a priority in our state. We believe that every state should have a spay/neuter law and low cost, affordable clinics. Benson’s Pals would also like to address the issue of ignorance against a breed. We rescued a pit bull that has become a wonderful addition to our sanctuary. Pit bulls make wonderful pets when given the love that they deserve.
On the flip side, what do you feel is the most rewarding part of what you do?
The daily long hours of work are a duty that we accept and enjoy as we care for these animals. Seeing wagging tails and purring kittens each day are enough of a reward for time or money spent. Knowing that we made a difference in the lives of God’s creatures makes every sacrifice worthwhile. With over 60 animals, every day is a challenge in some aspect and there is never a dull moment. The most rewarding part is their unconditional love for us.
Is there any advice you would like to give to pet owners, or potential pet owners?
Benson’s Pals would like potential pet owners to be patient with their new furry friends. We have seen puppies being returned because they were too active or barked continuously. That is what puppies do, and a little sacrifice and patience on our part goes a long way. Animals have just as much of an adjustment as the people who adopt them. Work through the hard times like you would with a beloved family member, the reward for all is worth it.
I believe that sacrifice, dedication, and responsibility are important qualities to teach a child, and what better way than through the love of a pet. Most of all, spay/neuter your pet. Backyard breeding, unplanned puppies and kittens seem to be the leading cause of over-population.
Lastly, what advice would you give to others wanting to become involved in animal rescue?
I would say do whatever you can to be actively involved in animal rescue. The smallest of efforts can make a world of difference at a shelter or in the lives of animals. I would encourage people to be prepared financially and physically for the dedication that is involved. We have found that sacrifice is the key to putting the animal’s lives before luxury. I would also encourage future rescuers to be patient with harder cases and difficult tasks, God can give you the strength you need when times are difficult.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Laci, and for everything you and Benson’s Pals does to help animals in need.
(Interview conducted via email)