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Appreciate Your Animal Shelter

Beverly & Pack [Flickr]

Some people may have a negative attitude toward animal shelters, but for homeless dogs and cats a shelter may be their only refuge from hunger, fear and unforgiving elements.  If you have the chance, say "thank you" to a shelter worker for caring about these often forgotten animals.


When was the last time you gave any thought to your local animal shelter? Most of the work done at animal shelters often goes unnoticed – but have you ever wondered what would happen if there were no shelters?

The ASPCA estimates that more than SIX MILLION com

panion animals pass through animal shelters in this country every year. The shelters are there to serve as a refuge for pets that have no other place to go. Some are lost and may be returned to their owners. Others are surrendered because their owners can’t keep them or don’t want them. And some are found homeless, and the shelter is their last hope for some TLC and possibly a real forever home.

Folks who work at shelters do their best to provide the basic necessities like food and a safe place to sleep. And because there are so many animals and not enough homes, too many times the shelter workers must make the difficult decision to euthanize animals in a humane way, to make room for more animals that need a place to stay, at least for a little while.

This week has been National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, a time to remind all of us to be grateful for those who are willing to take care of animals that have nowhere else to go. There are many ways to do that. 

One would be to make a contribution – money, pet food, supplies. Your local shelter probably has a list of needs and would be happy to give you some ideas for ways you can help.

If you are active on social media, promote the work of your local shelter by liking their Facebook page, and share their posts on your own page – especially announcements about fundraisers and adoption events. You might consider becoming a volunteer.

And of course, you could adopt a cat or dog from the shelter. That will make room for one more animal to have a chance at a new home. Nothing encourages shelter workers more than seeing one of their animals find a loving home. What a great way to let those hard-working folks know they did a good job! And as a bonus, you get a new best friend, when you’re speaking of pets.


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