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National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week 2021

National Animal Shelter Appreciation.jpg
nataliaking [Flickr]
Some people see an animal shelter as a sad, dreary place full of unwanted (or undesirable) pets. In fact, a shelter is a haven for pets who find themselves without any home. The shelter offers them a place where they can be fed, cared for, and maybe find a new home with an owner who will love and care for them. That’s something we can all be thankful for, as we celebrate National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.

Last year during the pandemic lockdown, animal shelter cages were often empty when so many folks isolating at home adopted pets.  This year, as people left their homes and went back to work, many decided they no longer needed or wanted a companion pet.  Shelters were inundated with surrendered animals - animals who had been someone’s buddy, who helped people get through a tough time, became disposable and unwanted. And unfortunately, too many paid with their lives, euthanized due to a shortage of shelter space and a lack of adopters.

    Because of that, this has been a tough year for shelter workers, disheartened and overwhelmed by an increase in intake of animals and slowdown of adoptions.  That’s why this week - National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week - is a really great time to let your local animal shelter know that you care about what they do to serve your community. 

     One simple thing you can do is say thank you, with a note or email or letter, or even send a plate of cookies for the shelter staff.  Make a financial contribution, because every penny helps.  Most shelters have a “wish List” of items they need, like pet food, cat litter, towels.  My local shelter has its Wish List on its website so those who want to contribute know what they need. 

     Do your part to make sure your pet does not become part of the problem, by seeing that your pet is microchipped and wearing a collar and tag to help it find its way home.  And most important, have your pet spayed or neutered to ensure it does not have litters of puppies or kittens that either end up at the shelter or take up a home that might have gone to a shelter animal.

     And if you are looking for a furry companion for yourself, visit the shelter, see the great pets available for adoption, and find a new best friend – that would be the perfect 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.