BRATTLEBORO — The Windham County Humane Society (WCHS) says it is in desperate need of a variety of new dog and cat toys to keep shelter pets' spirits bright as they wait for their new families.
For dogs, cats, and other pets, toys are not a luxury, but a necessity. “Toys help fight boredom and provide comfort when animals are feeling nervous,” Keri Roberts, director of operations at WCHS, said in a news release. “Toys can even help prevent animals from developing certain problem behaviors.”
The shelter houses hundreds of homeless animals each year. While some dogs, cats, or other pets are at the shelter for only a few days, an injured or sick homeless animal may require more time to become well and find their new loving home.
“Stress is directly linked to illness,” says Roberts, “so having enough toys as well as a variety of toys is part of how we keep them mentally (as well as physically) healthy,” adding that a dog or cat that is playing is not stressed.
The shelter looks forward to the holiday season for a large influx of new pet toys. People are buying their pets gifts during this time of year and often they buy a couple of extra toys for the shelter animals.
“The desperate need to replenish the toy bins now is because of winter,” said WCHS's executive director Maya Richmond. “The dogs are inside more than they are outside. Colder, short days lead to fewer volunteers walking the dogs or venturing to the shelter to cuddle with the kitties.”
It is a slower time of year for adoptions. The winter doldrums set in, and the same chew toy remains entertaining for only so many days.
“A toy that a dog or cat isn't into doesn't work. It may look good in their cage, but it isn't helping them mentally. This is why we need to give each animal options,” Roberts said.
The pet toy drive runs from Saturday, Dec. 10 through Tuesday, Dec. 20. Popular toys include Kongs, Nylabone chew toys, plush toys, feather wands, crinkle balls, and catnip mice(1)..
One Stop Country Pet Supply, 648 Putney Road, Brattleboro, (2)is offering 30% off all toys purchased for the shelter at their location. They will collect the toys and bring them to the shelter on Dec. 21. People can drop off toys at the WCHS shelter, located at 916 West River Road (Route 30) in Brattleboro. Monetary donations are also accepted on the website, windhamcountyhumane.org, and at WCHS, P.O. Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302.