This week is the National Animal Shelter and Rescue appreciation Week. The Humane Society of
the United States (HSUS) started celebrating in 1996 in Lincoln, Neb. The week is to focus on the 3,500 animal shelters across the US who try to place the estimated 6-8 million homeless animals each year.
The week “encourages people to become acquainted with their local shelters and rescues and to learn how they can assist their lifesaving work.”
Every local shelter or rescue needs volunteers – fosters especially. Without fosters the dogs cannot be rescued from shelters and given a chance to transition into a home environment. Many rescues and shelters have people who are working with limited resources and do not have the means to get these animals noticed.
There is a way that you can help. You will often see rescues ask you to share pictures and posts of animals. Sharing saves lives! The more they are shared, the more they are networked, and the better chance they have at finding a rescue who has a foster or adopter.
Ten Ways to Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue
1/ Share your love
Tell the world how you feel about your local shelter or rescue by sharing their messages in person and on social media.
2/ Get to know your local shelters and rescue groups
Locate the ones in your area and go visit. They are always looking for people to help walk dogs or clean food dishes or cat cages.
3/ Learn before you leap
Before you adopt, do some research to learn what to expect when adopting a pet. Each breed has their own quirks. The more you know, the less likely you will become frustrated and return your new pet. Understand the challenges and rewards of adopting a pet beforehand they come home.
4/ Say “thanks!”
Take time to say thanks to the people who work at your local shelter or rescues. When you adopt a pet, share pictures and show how well your pet is doing. Rescuers love to see updates! Send a letter, email, or post something on their Facebook page or Website.
5/ Get crafty
Combine fabric, yarn, recyclables, and imagination to bring much-needed fun into the lives of local shelter and rescue pets. There’s no end to the toys you can make. Try braiding strips of fleece into fun for dogs, or cutting and folding a surprising household object into a cat distractor.
Create attention-grabbing “Adopt-Me” vests to spotlight available pets at adoption events held by shelters and rescues.
6/ Become a fan
“like” the individual groups on Facebook.
7/ Make wishes come true
Shelters and rescue groups always need towels, toys, and other supplies. Most have a list on their websites.
Even if you can’t adopt now, volunteer! Do you have experience as a carpenter or electrician? All types of skills are valuable!
9/ Help at your own home
Make the jobs of shelters and rescues easier: Have the proper ID for your animals (a microchip and ID tags) at all times. Have all of your pets spayed or neutered. Keep your cats indoors, where you can keep them safe, and keep dogs on leashes when off your property.
10/ Help your shelter make positive changes
If you see something – say something. The HSUS’s has published guidelines for addressing that concern in the most effective way.