Each year, The Humane Society of the United States (The HSUS) celebrates National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week during the first full week of November, as a way to honor animal shelters and the dedicated people who work to protect animals. Animal shelters are vital resources for their communities.
A shelter is a safe haven for animals and a great place to adopt a new family pet. Shelters also provide critical 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. There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the United States, available to serve the estimated 6–8 million homeless animals that seek refuge each year, but only about half are adopted. While 63 percent of American households include pets, fewer than 20 percent of them were adopted from shelters.
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week is a perfect opportunity for you, your family, and your community to become acquainted with their local shelter and to help homeless pets. Here are just a few ways to get involved:
- Adopt your next pet from a shelter! • Become a fan of your local shelter on Facebook.
- Volunteer—helping animals at the shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
- Be a responsible pet owner. Keep your pet at home as a member of your family for a lifetime. Spay/neuter your pets, make sure they’re wearing collars and ID tags (to get them home if they become lost), don’t let your pets roam loose. Ask your local shelter what else you can do to be a great pet owner.
- Donate supplies. Shelters are often in need of towels, toys, and other items. Always check with your local shelter first to find out what they need. Request donations of from family, friends, and colleagues. You might also want to team up with your child’s school, after school, or camp to organize an Animal Shelter Drive. The HSUS is the nation’s strongest advocate for local humane societies. Besides celebrating the valuable service that shelters provide to our nation’s communities through National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, The HSUS supports shelters and animal rescue groups by providing training programs, hosting the nation’s largest trade and educational show for shelter professionals, and advising shelters on best practices. The HSUS has also partnered with Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council to launch the Shelter Pet Project, the nation’s largest promotion of shelter animal adoption.