This is the part where I help you give away your money. What's that, you say? You barely have enough money for yourself, let alone extra for shelling out to anyone else? I get it. I do. But here's the thing: You've got to give it away to keep it. I truly believe that in the universe, the more you pay it forward the more good things will come your way. Plus, you'll have that good feeling inside that you get when you've done something nice. And good feelings tend to work their way outwards, making you look good as well as feel good. Before you know it, you will be a gorgeous do-gooder filled with light and love! Trust me! To help you get started, here are four excellent programs that are deserving of your dollars.
Number One: City Critters
These worthy people help find homes for all the stray and abandoned cats and dogs (mostly cats) of New York City. I have personally gotten two cats from them, and when we got married, instead of giving out some lame favor for people to throw away the second they got home, we donated a big fat check to City Critters.
Unfortunately, Ted felt the need to explain to our guests why there were no favors, so he printed up photos of our cats that said "Instead of a favor, our mommy and daddy have made a donation to City Critters." I am not kidding. He referred to us as the cats' parents. And didn't even use the (very slightly) less irritating "mom and dad," but went right for it with the incredibly twee "mommy and daddy." I was obviously mortified, and tried to put the framed photos where no one would see them. Anyway, give them money! Save cats!
Number Two: Puppies Behind Bars
This group runs a program where prison inmates train puppies to be service dogs. This is obviously helpful for all the special-needs people who can benefit from service dogs, but it has the added bonus of helping in the rehabilitation of the prisoners.
Now, convicted felons may not be high up there on your list of people at whom to throw money, but we are all better off when rates of recidivism go down and former inmates become contributing members of society. So give them money! Help animals! And special-needs people! And convicted felons! Whatever!
Number Three: Hand 2 Paw
Animals in shelters are brought together with homeless teenagers in Philadelphia, the city where I went to college and met Ted, and where I can imagine it really sucks to be homeless. The animals get cared for, and socialized, so that they can one day hopefully be adopted. The kids get valuable job training, and also benefit from making emotional connections with the animals.
Whatever your views on felons, you have to have a place in your heart for teenagers who don't have a place to live. So give them money! Help homeless animals AND homeless kids!
Number Four: Dogs Deserve Better
This last one is particularly close to my heart, as I am an animal lover as well as an Eagles fan. This has been tricky to reconcile ever since the Eagles hired dog-murdering Michael Vick as their QB. Dogs Deserve Better actually BOUGHT Vick's mansion where all his dogs were kept, tortured, murdered and forced to fight, and are turning it into a sanctuary for abused dogs.
Vick, in another attempt to rehabilitate his image, has voiced his support, which makes me hate him about 1% less than I did before I found out about it. At this rate, in about 200 years I won't hate him at all! Yay! Give them money! Help man's best friends that were abused by same!
OK, enough preaching. Give money!! That just slipped out. Sorry.