Numerous studies have shown that doing good is good for you. Some have even demonstrated a measurable correlation between volunteering and good health. Not only do volunteers live longer, they live better: Volunteering can promote a sense of well-being, bolster the immune system, reduce insomnia, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, help keep weight in check, raise energy levels, increase relaxation, and a lot of other cool stuff. Sounds like the fountain of youth, a miracle cure, and a happy pill all rolled into one. With this in mind, I’ve set out to volunteer for a different Los Angeles organization each week. I’ll write about the experience here. This week: The Amanda Foundation.
What can I tell you that you don’t already know? That our fair city kills more animals in its shelters than any other metropolitan area in the United States? Devastating, right? That statistic is from an article published in Los Angeles magazine in May, 2006. It’s fresh, as far as stats go. I mean, I knew–we all knew, right?–that we had an animal population problem on our hands. But really, more animals destroyed here than any other American city? Does it bother you as much as it does me?
What kills me about the killing is how unnecessary it is. There are spay and neuter incentives all over the place, for example here, here, and here. The best way to keep animals out of the system that destroys them–tens of thousands of them, with averages between 150,000 and 200,000 each year–is to spay and neuter. Beyond that, there are nonprofit rescues and shelters like The Amanda Foundation, working desperately to save and house as many homeless pets as possible, for as long as they have to. You can help them by volunteering.
It’s pretty simple. So simple, actually, that I’m not going to go into great detail describing my experience. I’ll tell you this much, though:
The Amanda Foundation was founded in 1976 and has since placed thousands of homeless animals. It is a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs and cats who, through no fault of their own, are spending their last days at City and County Shelters. Their mission is to rescue dogs and cats slated for euthanasia at one of the six City of Los Angeles shelters. The animals are housed in the Amanda kennels until loving new homes have been found for them. Every pet has as long as needed to find their perfect home.
Really–as long as they need.
Hope is a perfect example. She’s been living at Amanda for the past two years. She’s sweet, gentle, affectionate, and really damn funny. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here’s four thousand for ya.
Volunteers can help in so many ways. I, for one, have become totally hooked on walking Amanda dogs. What’s wonderful about it is that once you’ve had your super quick and easy orientation, you can come and go as you please. They’re open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and volunteers can drop by without an appointment, whenever is convenient for them. Go for thirty minutes or three hours. Walk one dog or walk six. I promise it’ll be fun and rewarding.
As always, there are various ways to help. Get a group together, or make it a date! Brunch and then a walk with an Amanda pooch. Doesn’t get more romantic than that!
Check their site, give them a call (310) 278-2935, or find a similar organization closer to where you live.
Dr Shipp’s Animal Hospital and The Amanda Foundation
351 Foothill Rd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Alternate Phone: (310) 550-0101
And please, if you’re thinking about getting a dog or a cat, make your next companion a rescue and don’t forget to spay or neuter.