What You Can Do to Help Shelter Animals

Updated April 27, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

A Cat - What You Can Do to Help Shelter AnimalsApril 30th is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. This day was established to bring about awareness to the thousands of abandoned pets who need “forever homes.” In honor of this day, we at Infoplease would like to highlight some of the basics of pet adoption. Before you start googling names of local breeders or head over to your neighborhood pet store, consider paying a visit to your local rescue shelter to adopt an animal that is just as worthy of your unconditional love, maybe even more so.

Adoption Benefits Owners and Pets

Quite often, people are steered away from adoption because of negative stigmas that surround shelter animals. Some individuals believe that these animals must somehow be “damaged goods” and feel strongly that the majority of pets have been abandoned because they are dangerous or sickly. However, this is simply not the case. According to John Snyder, vice president of companion animals for the Humane Society of the United States, the number one reason that owners give away their pets is because they are moving. Other reasons people hand over their pets include allergies, a new baby in the house or the mere fact that the owners weren’t ready for the responsibilities that come with pets. Ultimately, it’s through no fault of their own that most pets find themselves in shelters.

When you do decide to bring an “unhomed” animal into your family, the rewards you reap are immeasurable. By adopting you choose to save a life, you help break the cycle of pet overpopulation and you support a valuable charity and community institution. The Humane Society offers some valuable insight on why adopting is so beneficial.

“Paws” and Lend a Hand

Now if you aren’t quite ready to be a full-time pet owner, keep in mind there are other ways you can help make a difference in an animal’s life. Many rescue organizations operate with donations they receive from their local communities. Often, the amount of resources shelters have--including money and pet supplies like food and toys--don’t come close to the amount they need. By making donations, you help shelter animals receive the care and supplies they need. Another way to get involved is by volunteering your time to help care for rescue animals. Shelters need people to walk, socialize and play with pets so they get exercise and can experience a little compassion and companionship. An additional way to make an impact on a furry friend’s life is by becoming a foster pet parent and temporarily opening your house to an animal in need. This can also be a great way to test out and see if your family is ready for a family pet of your own.

Consider Which Pet Fits Your Family

Whether you want a puppy, a mature cat, a rabbit or a rat, shelters and rescue groups have a huge selection of animals for you to consider. Keep in mind that most organizations screen for good health and conduct behavioral analyses of each pet. In addition, these groups are there to provide help and advice on making your relationship with your new pet the best it can be, so you’ll always have a pet support system. The shelter and rescue group representatives can help you make sure a selected pet will be the right fit for your family.

To read more about how you can help shelter animals in need visit: To find your local shelter and pets available for adoption, go to The Shelter Pet Project.

By Julie Flanagan