My Facebook feed is full of bittersweet stories of animals who were abandoned and abused but go on to live wonderful lives with humans who spoil and adore them. My friends and especially family just love animals. I also subscribe to some “save these animals from euthanasia” pages because somehow I think I might be able to help. So as an animal lover it’s excruciatingly hard for me watch those ASPCA commercials starring Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan. Those sweet cats and dogs, some with visible injuries, look up at you from their shelter cages with their sad hopeful eyes and you just want to cuddle, bathe and feed them. You wonder which ones made it out alive as the music swells. Did that German Shepherd get to sit at someone’s feet by a roaring fire or did he live out his short life in the cold, sterile environment of the local shelter?
In order to save you from bawling during what should be a happy holiday season, I’m not going to embed any of the videos here or mention the song lyrics. If you want to see them, links follow. The one you’re thinking of came out in 2006 and two others which came out in 2008.
It turns out that Sarah McLachlan can’t watch the videos either. In a recent interview with Makers, she said that she doesn’t watch them, but that she often gets recognized for starring in the PSAs, particularly when they were in circulation.
On the ASPCA videos making her famous
I got a whole new audience out of it. I swear I’d be at Target in like Missouri at 10 o’clock at night and I’d be going down the aisle and these two little old ladies would be like ‘are you that dog lady? I love your song.’ Daily this would happen.
How she joined the cause
A friend of mine was on the board of the ASPCA and said ‘he would you mind doing a PSA for us?’ I was free that week… I love animals.
She can’t watch the ads
I have to say it was brutal doing those ads because can you just be a little sadder… it works like a hot damn those ads generated over $30 million dollars for the ASPCA… but I can’t watch them it just kills me.
I don’t blame her – those videos are so rough to watch. It’s worth noting that the ASPCA is not affiliated with the local SPCA shelters and is instead a separate organization. I tried to research whether ASPCA does good work and I found a lot of animal activist pages saying they suck and do euthanize animals, so I’ll just quote CharityNavigator, which is a neutral charity rating site. They give them an overall rating of 82%, which isn’t bad.
One of my resolutions for next year is to give back to my community, and since I love dogs and can’t get one (I want a dog so badly but I travel too much) I am considering volunteering at the local shelter as a dog walker. I’m worried that I’ll hate the fact that I’m not doing enough to save these sweet animals in need of homes. I’ll never know unless I try, right? Is it stupid to walk dogs when I’m probably just going to adopt one? I’m so looking for an excuse to get a dog.