November 6–12 marks the 16th annual National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, a concept founded by The Humane Society of the United States in 1996. Celebrated each year during the first full week in November, The HSUS encourages pet lovers to support their local animal shelters and rescues.
"Animal shelters and rescues are great places to find your next pet, but local shelters and rescues also do so much more," says Inga Fricke, director of sheltering and pet care issues for The HSUS. "Not only do they give homeless pets a second chance, these organizations provide other life-saving services such as investigating cruelty and neglect, reuniting lost pets with their families, teaching kids to care about animals, and providing spay/neuter services to help reduce pet overpopulation in their communities."
There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters in the United States serving the estimated 6–8 million homeless animals out there. Many dogs and cats are given up because of allergies or a family not being able to bring the pet when they move – factors that are completely out of the pet’s control. These animals could all make great pets if given a second chance at a home.
The most obvious way to support local animal shelters is by adopting a pet from them. Another way to help is by promoting pet adoption. Become a fan of the Shelter Pet Project on Facebook and share it with friends. Donated funds, or supplies such as toys, towels, and treats, are always needed. Finally, volunteering is an easy way to support a local shelter if adopting an animal is too big of a commitment right now.
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