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National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week 2012


National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week may be ending today, but any time is a great time to thank those who take care of homeless pets and try to find them good homes!

*************************************This week is National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week. It was originally established as a way to remind all of us to be grateful for the work done by all the dedicated workers and volunteers in animal shelters across the country. Last year, animal rescue groups were added, in recognition for the vital role they play in filling the gap to help animals in need.

Consider that every year an estimated seven million homeless pets find their way to one of the approximately 3,500 animal shelters in the United States. Most are not there because they were bad pets. In today’s economy, many families have had to give up their furry friends because they just can’t afford to care for them properly any longer. Or someone in the family has an allergy to pets. Some owners must relocate and cannot keep their animal companions. Whatever the reason for surrender, shelter workers and rescue groups know that if these animals are just given a chance, they can be wonderful, loving pets. All they need are caring people who will adopt them into new forever homes.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, animal rescue workers and volunteers were on scene as quickly as possible, rounding up and sheltering hundreds of animals now left homeless because of the massive storm damage. With the Nor’easter that hit the east coast on the heels of the hurricane, the situation became critical and deadly for many animals who had not found their way to one of the permanent or temporary shelters. There could not be a more important time to appreciate the vital role all shelter workers, volunteers and rescue groups play in making a dramatic difference for homeless pets. As Patrick McDonnell said this week in his Mutts comic strip, “Look at all the good people helping to rescue animals – heroes with a thousand faces!"

There are several ways you can show your appreciation to all the heroes who help homeless pets every day. Make a donation, volunteer your time, or just stop by your local shelter or rescue group office to say thanks. And while you’re there, maybe you can rescue your next best friend by adopting one, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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