Life is tough sometimes, and humans have developed lots of ways to help each other recover or at least endure despite misfortune.

It’s tough for animals, too, but they’re not capable of such mutual aid. People have to do it for them.

That’s fitting, since the abandonment and often the injury of animals comes at the hands of people. But feelings about such help vary greatly. Some see animals as innocents just following their instincts and therefore deserving of special sympathy. Others see them almost as animate objects to be used as people see fit, like a tool.

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Those called to care for animals in trouble need plenty of feeling for them. Helping animals with no owners pays little or nothing, and although many will admire the caregivers’ efforts, the job is mostly thankless. The reward is seeing suffering reduced.

South Jersey’s rescuers of domestic and wild animals don’t just help afflicted creatures. They also give the rest of us who have compassion for animals a way to help short of going all in as they have done.

Funny Farm Rescue in Mays Landing and Freedom Farm Animal Rescue, also there but headed for Greenwich Township, provide homes for abandoned, sick or injured sheep, pigs, goats, calves, horses and geese. That involves the hard work of ordinary farming and the expense of feeding and care, but without a salable product.

New Jersey Nature hosts wildlife and formerly wild animals at its facilities in the Eldora section of Dennis Township. These, too, might be abandoned “pets,” such as snakes and alligators that got big and an otter whose antics made it a star of The Press’ “-30-” video magazine (still available at pressofac.com).

Some are animals being smuggled into the U.S. and seized by customs officials. New Jersey Nature manages to place many animals at zoos or other facilities and return some to the wild — but never enough.

These benefactors would love to see a reduction in animals needing help. To do that, people need to stop making inappropriate animals their pets and do what they can to ensure a healthy life for the animals in and around their lives.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of ways to fit animal rescue help into one’s life. Spend a little time helping with the chores. Provide some of the massive amount of feed needed. Make a contribution to the funding that these nonprofit organizations require to exist. Share a little in their success and what rescuers call one of “the best feelings in the world.”

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