November 5–11, 2017 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, and to support this worthy cause Broadway Barks encourages everyone to go visit your local animal shelter. Click here to find a shelter near you!
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (NASAW) was started by the Humane Society of the United States in 1996 and was inspired by the Capitol Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska. The purpose is to encourage people to learn about their local animal shelters and rescue organizations and to help assist their efforts to save the lives of homeless animals. There are about 3,500 animal shelters throughout the United States serving between six and eight million homeless animals, so there is likely one close to you. Stop by and visit the animals, and thank the employees and volunteers who dedicate their lives to this important work. Or call up the shelter and ask how you can help. Here are a few ideas for other ways to participate.
“Like” Them on Facebook
Find your local animal shelters and rescues here. Then, if possible, “like” them on Facebook. Engaging with your local shelter on social media is an easy way to help out. When your shelter advertises about animals in need you can share that information on your social media and help spread the word. This can be very effective and efficient and you never know who in your “friend” list may be looking for a family pet.
Shelters are often in need of towels, cleaning supplies, toys, and other items. Always check with your local shelter first to find out what they need. You can gather donations from family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. You might also want to team up with your child’s school, after-school program, or your church to organize an Animal Shelter Drive. Websites like Amazon make it really easy to donate to shelters. The shelter can create a “wish list” that you can purchase from. Then Amazon will ship the needed products directly to the shelter. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! And if possible, donate money—that is always most helpful to shelters and rescues.
Even if you can’t adopt a pet, you can help make life better for homeless animals by volunteering with your local shelter or rescue organization. Do you have expertise as a carpenter, painter or electrician? Are you a marketing, fundraising or dog-walking wiz? Would you be willing to serve as a foster? Are you a cat whisperer? All of these skills are valuable and desperately needed! Shelters need help with everything from building maintenance to kennel cleaning, and every little bit of help ensures that the animals are cared for properly. Just volunteering once a week to bathe dogs makes a world of difference for that dog and the shelter!
Take a minute to express your gratitude to the people who work at your local shelter or rescue groups. If you’ve adopted a pet from one of them, update them on how well your pet is doing by sharing a recent picture via a letter or email, or post it on the organization’s Facebook page or website along with your words of thanks. Maybe consider dropping by the shelter with a card to say “thanks.” You may just brighten the day of shelter workers who give their all for the animals in their care and experience the ups and down associated with their work.
Be a responsible pet owner. Keep your pet at home as a member of your family for a lifetime. Make the jobs of shelters and rescues easier: Outfit your cats and dogs with collars and proper ID (a microchip and ID tags) at all times, and register them with your local animal control if that’s required where you live—all of these things will help your pets get home if they become lost. As soon as you bring them into your family, have all of your pets spayed or neutered. And don’t let your pets roam loose: Keep your cats indoors, where you can keep them safe (though it’s great to take them on walks if they are comfortable on a harness and leash), and keep dogs on leashes whenever you’re off your property.
Although 63 percent of American households include pets, fewer than 20 percent of those animals were adopted from shelters. Every year six to eight million homeless animals are cared for in shelters and rescues, but sadly only about half are ever adopted. More adopters are needed! If you, or someone you know, is considering the addition of a family pet, please visit your local animal shelter FIRST! You will likely find the perfect pet and will be saving many lives in the process.
So c’mon! National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week only lasts for a few days. Get out there and show your appreciation!
Contributed by Charlene Sloan