Wretched Days of Summer
Lillian G. Leslie
No work compares to street work. If you have not spent night after night in the alleys of the inner city, you cannot soundly grasp the difficulty of the work we do or the true picture of life on the streets for homeless animals. As for this summer, the picture is grim.
The unbearable heat and the drought pound a hardship beyond our understanding on homeless creatures trying to survive. Can any of us imagine going for weeks without clean water to drink? Of course, street animals never actually drink clean water, but at least regular rainfall will flush out some of the filth from the puddles they go to for relief. With no rainfall, animals must drink whatever they find, and I can tell you from my experience of seeing it, what they find is repugnant--but they drink it anyway because they must.
Summer is not nearly so hard on us as it is on the animals, nonetheless, summer is hard on us too. Spring and summer births greatly increase the number of animals needing our help; emergency calls always increase during summer as well. Because no other organization goes into the streets 6 nights of the week every week of the year as we do, and no other group routinely responds to emergency calls for help as we do, Alley Animals must shoulder a swelling burden of work. And, more work requires more expenditure.
Unfortunately, Alley Animals does not have even a modest financial cushion to rely on; we are nip-and-tuck every month. Will we be able to buy the 600 pounds of food required for one week in the alleys? Can we afford the alley vehicle's constant maintenance? Can we pay the rising vet bills? For us to go on, none of these expenditures can be sacrificed, yet we never know from month to month whether adequate funds will be available.
Those of you who receive our mailings know that we do not bombard you with pleas for money; you receive our newsletters and yearly raffles, and we dearly hope the message within speaks for itself--you know we need your support to continue our work. But this summer is especially difficult financially, and we find ourselves pressed to appeal to your generosity.
If you are wondering whether or not to contribute, try to imagine a thousand faces--a thousand hungry animals--and in that moment you will see in your mind what we see during the course of a single night on the streets. Remember as you prepare to retire for the evening that some of us are preparing for a full night's work in the alleys where danger threatens the animals (and us) at nearly every turn.
But we will return again and again because we have looked into the eyes of those who need us and, no matter what it takes, we cannot refuse them our help. Just as they have no one but us, we have no one but you to turn to for assistance; our hope is that you will find our efforts worthy and that, together, we can make their struggle just a little easier.
We're in the alleys 6 nights a week, every week of the year.