Liverpool woman conducting drive for Humane Association, CNY SPCA

— Litz noted that it’s especially important to help shelters during the winter months.

“Around here we have winter six months out of 12, and animals, especially dogs, get wet, muddy and matted, not to mention cold,” she said. “Imagine a dozen rambunctious 12-year-old kids running around in your yard, then running around in your house, and think about how many towels you would go through to clean them up.”

And it’s not just towels those animals need, but food, toys, beds, treats and other amenities to make their lives in the shelters easier and more pleasant.

“Anyone who has had a beloved pet knows the real meaning of unconditional love. These precious animals don't have anyone to give that love to,” said Litz, a self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady” who has several pets at home. “Shelters are over-crowded and scary to pets who often have never shared living space with other animals and don't understand why they are there. The amazing people who work there do the best they can to keep the animals feeling loved and wanted. It is up to us animal lovers to help them do their job.”

Litz said she understood that many people can’t afford to give a lot of money or time during the holidays, but she did hope that people could find a way to help the Humane Association and the SPCA.

“I know everyone is strapped for cash this time of year, [especially with] all the charities asking for donations,” she said. “I would be thrilled if everyone simply looked in their linen closet and found whatever towels and blankets they feel they can live without and donate them to these animal shelters.”

Litz pointed out that even small donations can reap tremendous rewards for both the giver and the recipient.

“That little tingle you get when you hold the door for a stranger and they say thank you, or when you drop your change in the bell ringer’s bucket? It's magnified 100 times when you really give back what you can,” she said. “Shelters are often under-funded, and they rely heavily on the community to help. We have seen locally how close they can be to closing, and have also seen the generosity of our community when they came together to save that shelter. We can't let it get to that point again.”

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