By the Greater Antelope Valley Association of REALTORS® (GAVAR)
The housing crisis of 2008 and its after-effects left many homeowners feeling victimized, as home values dropped and payments became unsustainable. Many an upside-down homeowner elected to abandon their properties, as foreclosures became their reality.
Lost in the shuffle were many pets that were discarded along with the homes. Realtors® often found themselves on the front line, confronted by an abandoned dog, cat or more exotic pet. Few expected that animal rescues would become a part of their new job description.
In committee meetings, members of the Greater Antelope Valley Association of REALTORS® (GAVAR) discovered that many had stories of animal rescues. Most stories were heartbreaking. Families losing their homes often shared that they couldn’t stand the further heartache of euthanizing their pet. Abandonment seemed the less painful option.
Elle Stamsek, a Realtor® with Centennial Realty shared her first rescue. “It was a cute little pup that was so matted that I didn’t know what kind of dog it was. I paid to have it cleaned and vaccinated and managed to place it with a former client.” Stamsek went on to share that she’s placed 24 animals, including dogs, cats, goats, fish and a hamster into new homes.
Dana Haycock, a Coldwell Banker/Hartwig Realtor had numerous stories, but indicated that perhaps her most interesting was the discovery of 20 fish tanks with exotic fish slowly perishing. She said, “I have never seen such sad faces in my life.” She inferred that if a fish can have a sad face, imagine the face of an abandoned dog or cat. A local pet store took them in and nursed them back to health.
Local Realtors are not a shelter or rescue organization, but many have had personal experiences which have encouraged them to speak in favor of:
- Increasing attendance at animal shelter and pet rescue organization events.
- Finding and organizing volunteers for adoption events.
- Providing information on pet-friendly buildings, abandoned animals in vacant homes, or what to do when faced with an animal emergency situation.
- Building awareness of the importance of adopting rather than purchasing a pet.
- Generating financial support to animal shelters and pet rescue organizations.
The Greater Antelope Valley Association of Realtors® wanted to pause and remind everyone about the importance of responsible animal stewardship and the proposition that companion animals are gifts. And with the advent of the holidays, finding new homes for pets-in-need seemed all the more important.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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