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Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

bfishadow [Flickr]

The reason this little cat (along with its fellow shelter residents) has a chance for a new forever home and a loving owner is because the shelter workers are there to feed her and take care of her until her new owner finds her.  That's something to appreciate! 


When was the last time you really appreciated your community animal shelter? It may have been when you found that stray cat, but your landlord doesn’t allow pets. The folks at the shelter were there to take her in so she wouldn’t be alone and hungry.

You may have appreciated your local animal shelter when your dog got loose while you were on vacation and someone else was taking care of him. Sure enough, you checked at the shelter and there he was, jumping up and down in his cage, thrilled that you had come to take him home.

Perhaps the pet that shares your life right now was once a resident at your community animal shelter. Maybe you were looking from cage to cage, not sure which one you should take home and then you saw her – and she saw you – and you both fell in love. Now she sits curled at your feet while you listen to this, and you remember how grateful you were to the folks at the shelter who were there for her, who fed her and cared for her while she waited for someone exactly like you to adopt her and give her a loving home.

Today marks the end of the 2016 National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, a time to remind all of us just how vital our local shelters are for our cities and towns. Without them, hundreds or thousands of stray pets might be wandering in your community, creating health problems for humans as well as for themselves. Shelters offer animals refuge from the elements, escape from hunger and disease and predators. Without shelters, very few lost pets would be reunited with their owners.

Sadly, too often the work of animal shelters and the important services they provide go unnoticed and under-appreciated by those of us who care about pets. So today consider how much your community benefits by having a shelter, and dedicated people who work there, protecting the animals. You may decide to make a contribution, or volunteer your time – you might even consider adopting a new best friend. Now that’s a great way to celebrate National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week when you’re speaking of pets.


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