6 to 8 million. That is the estimated number of homeless animals each year that need shelter. The number is overwhelmingly staggering, and frankly, heartbreaking. Heather Bialy, director of shelter services for the Human Society of the United States put it this way: “Animal shelters and rescues are making great strides towards finding homes for as many animals as possible, but they can’t do it alone. Shelters and rescues need the support of their communities to cope with the sheer number of animals that need homes, and to respond to emergencies… By working together, communities can put programs into place to address pet homelessness and keep pets with their families.”
There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the United States, who provide services the millions of cats, dogs, and other companion animals that end up in the care of rescues or shelters for a myriad of reasons – from family relocations, to allergies, and so on. Some of the most wonderful pets come from shelters and rescues, providing unconditional love and companionship to their human counterparts.
National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week is celebrated each year during the first full week of November. Founded in 1996, the Human Society of the United States established the event as a way to get communities involved with their local rescue organizations and shelters.
The Human Society of the United States recommends the following as a few ways everyone can get involved with their local rescue or shelter and help save homeless pets:
• Adopt a pet. Find your next pet online at theshelterpetproject.org and become a fan of the Shelter Pet Project on Facebook at facebook.com/shelterpetproject.
• Encourage your friends, relatives and neighbors to choose to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue and save a life.
• Share our Facebook icon and show your friends you support shelter adoption and rescue. Better yet, share with your friends a shelter animal’s picture and help find a him or her a home.
• Write a letter to the editor letting readers know about the benefits of adopting and the support shelters and rescues in your community need to increase life-saving.
• Volunteer. Helping animals at a shelter or rescue organization can be a rewarding experience. Look on local groups’ websites for opportunities or visit VolunteerMatch.org. Young people can visit humanesociety.org/youthvolunteer for tips on helping local shelters or rescues.
• Donate funds or supplies. Shelters and rescues are often in need of towels, toys, and other supplies for animals – and collect needed items from family, friends, and colleagues.
We encourage everyone to visit humanesociety.org/sheltersrock and join their Facebook event on November 5th to show others you support shelters and rescues!