Make 2017 a year of solutions for animals
CAROL REESE, Special to The Jackson Sun Published 6:35 p.m. CT Dec. 27, 2016 | Updated 10:44 a.m. CT Dec. 30, 2016
I know that many of you reading this column were the child that came home with the a tiny kitten or skinny pup you found abandoned. It is certainly my story and it was only in the last decade or so that I found “my people.”
I was so grateful to find that several animal rescue groups are devoted to linking animals in need with people that can help, but it does feel a lot like the story of the little Dutch boy. There are simply more animals being born in West Tennessee than there are places for them to go.
This was the story of Jackson County, Tennessee, until Julie Jacobson took initiative. She realized that the only way to stop the tide was to prevent it. With her passionate movement called Spay Tennessee, she focuses on finding funding to get animals fixed, It became so successful that not only did she help people that were looking for inexpensive ways to get their animals fixed, but she was able to begin an aggressive program of reaching other people who were not actively seeking that service. While word of mouth proved to be effective, it also helped to pass out informative fliers at places where people buy pet food, or even knock on doors.
It wasn’t overnight, but within a few years, the tide of homeless animals began to ebb, until it was apparent that Jackson County had made this work. Jacobson decided to take her mission to other counties and any time she can get a group to hear her message, she hits the road.
I heard her at the recent meeting organized by Karen Byers of West TN Spay Neuter, and I’m all in. We learned of a few opportunities for funding from large corporations, and grants here and there, and those will certainly be sought ... but there is lots of competition for those sources.
I say we should make this work by using West Tennessee funding to fix a West Tennessee problem ... and this is how: I signed up to make a $20 donation each month and promised to find two more friends who could do the same. They are each to ask two more friends to do the same, who will ask two more friends to do the same. Can’t do $20? Even if you do $5, or $10, it will multiply exponentially until there is a steady income stream, and the beauty of it is that all of it goes to getting local animals fixed..
On Facebook, you can find and smile at the great stories already being told about the successes of West TN Spay Neuter and spread the word to those that need a hand. I hope you will be inspired and sign up to support this mission. You can also check out the web page at westtnspayneuter.org, or call 731 300 6610 for more information.
Carol Reese is ornamental horticulture specialist for the Western District of the University of Tennessee Extension Service.