Christmas is a time for giving back to those in need, and that applies to cats and dogs, too.
Clarke County Animal Shelter's donation drive is going on now through Dec. 28. Stop by Clarke County Publishing, 111 E. Washington St., and drop off a donated item for the local animal shelter.
Keeping doors open
Joy Durham, manager of Clarke County Animal Shelter, said the purpose of the donation drive is to "keep the shelter doors open."
Money from donations goes to pay veterinarian bills, but basic things like cat litter are needed, as well.
"People don't think toys are important, but they're a huge enrichment for the dogs and cats," Durham said. "Because, even though we spend time with them, they spend a lot of time in their rooms, and so the toys help immensely."
She added, toys are beneficial to show how animals interact by sharing or guarding toys. This is helpful to determine an animal's personality traits, and whether a pet should be given to a family with small children.
Most needed items
The shelter's most needed items are cat litter, bleach and cleaning supplies like Clorox wipes.
"Because cleaning supplies, even though they seem silly, cost us the most," Durham said. "It costs us between $10 and $15 a day to take care of a cat — between its food, washing its bedding, feeding, changing litter. People don't realize how much that stuff costs sometimes. Even with the dogs, we wash bedding. Laundry soap is a huge thing."
Durham said it's important to adopt local animals because its a way to help and give back to the Osceola community.
Once a spot at the shelter opens up, the shelter can take in another animal.
"Some of our cats have been here since April, and that's eliminated that room for another animal," Durham said.
There are many tips for people looking to get pets. Durham said try to never get an animal that is under eight weeks old.
A lot of animals have come into the shelter that are between four and five weeks old. That means Durham has to find foster-care homes for them because they're too young to be adopted.
Another tip is to keep pets vaccinated.
The animal shelter depends on the generosity of the community. All donations collected at Clarke County Publishing will go directly to Clarke County Animal Shelter in support of homeless cats and dogs in the community.
So far, the shelter has received a lot of donations from people who have recently lost pets.
"We can still use the end of that bag of dog food or brush or comb, collar, leash. … Their pet can live on through other pets," Durham said.