Saying Thanks – National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week
Designated by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the first full week of November is set aside to show our local shelters some love!
There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the US and approximately 90 million homeless animals. Their chief responsibility is to take in stray animals and find them new homes, address injuries and other medical issues if needed, and to reunite lost pets with their owners. Remember, all pets need to be microchipped to help with reunification!
While there are still many shelters who are sad and depressing places, thankfully there are many shelters who are becoming their local community’s center for not only animal rescue and adoption, they also are providing animal health care, pet-sitting, training on behavioral issues and even grooming services.
Many offer free educational seminars to pet parents on health issues, pet safety around the house, integrating a new pet into your family and more.
More and more, shelters today are striving to be a “no-kill” shelter and find homes for all the animals in their care. Best Friends Animal Society in Utah is showing us the way through their partnerships with shelters and animal welfare organizations around the country with their SAVE THEM ALL initiative.
By 2025 they hope to make all shelters in the US “no-kill” shelters thereby saving 90%+ of the animals from being killed. Euthanasia would basically only be used when an animal is terminally ill.
Mom says that the modern-day Cat Café is the new form of a “shelter” since they are mostly owned/operated by non-profit cat rescue groups with adoptable kitties who need forever homes. Grab a latte and hang out with cute cats in a living room atmosphere and, who knows, you might just get seduced by that tabby on the armchair!
Traditional shelters should take note as some adopters are by-passing the local shelters and seeking out the cat café in their area so they can see the cats in a relaxed atmosphere and not in a cage.
So how can you show the love this week for your local shelter?
Think about the workers who are often paid low wages, and some are volunteers therefore unpaid – drop off a thank you card and tell them how much you appreciate their commitment and efforts for the sake of the animals. Bring them a tray of cookies or a bowl of candy to sweeten their day!
Since many shelters are non-profit, make a donation of money or supplies. No amount is too small! Often they have a wish list posted on their website of the supplies they need on a weekly/monthly basis.
Volunteer your time at the shelter to clean cages, socialize the timid and shy animals so that they will become more adoptable, and have some fun by walking a dog. Maybe they need admin help with flyers, updating their website, etc.
Volunteer to foster an animal with the local rescue group who doesn’t have a physical base as they depend on fosters for their adoptable cats. Our rescue group partners with the local PetSmart and showcases their adoptable kittens and cats on Saturdays. But it all starts with their dedicated fosters who take the cats into their homes and socializes and cares for them until the kitties are ready to find their forever homes.
Help educate your local community by spreading the word about TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) for the outside community cats to lower the population growth to zero. It has happened already in a few communities across the US, but there is a long way to go nationally.