It was a great way to start out the month for animal lovers. The Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, which was observed from Nov. 1-7, is one way to honor animal shelters and their dedicated staff across the country. According to HSUS, there are approximately 4,000 animal shelters across the United States, available to serve the estimated 6-8 million homeless animals who seek refuge each year. While 63 percent of American households include pets, only 10 percent of owned dogs and 18 percent of owned cats are adopted from animal shelters.
The HSUS suggests you look on the Internet for information about shelters in your area, or call them to find out when they’re open to the public and pay them a visit. Talk to the staff, ask what you can do to help support the work they do for animals in your community.
The Humane Society of the United States offers a few suggestions to help out shelters and the animals they care for:
• Find Your Next Pet: The next time you want to adopt a pet, look to your local shelter for an animal.
• Adopt or Foster an Animal: Consider adopting or fostering a homeless animal. Whether you decide to bring home a new pet or foster an animal until she finds a forever family, you’ll be giving a critter a safe and caring home while making room for another homeless pet in your community’s animal shelter, where space is limited.
• Say Thank You: Drop a note in the mail or shoot an email to your local shelter and let them know how much you appreciate all they do for animals. If you can, sweeten your thank you by adding an item from the shelter’s wish list, a check or a gift card from a pet supply store.
• Volunteer Your Time and Skills: Whether you end up walking pooches, helping at special events or lending your expertise as a newsletter editor, your shelter can match your schedule and talents to their needs. Not only will you be helping animals in your community, but you also will be building knowledge and skills. Call your local shelter and find out how to start volunteering.
• Support Spay/Neuter: Spaying or neutering your pet or offering to help fund a spay/neuter surgery for a friend, family member or neighbor’s pet will save animals’ lives by helping to lower the number of unwanted animals in your community and reduce the strain on your local shelter’s resources.
• ID Your Pet: Your pet should never go naked – that is, without a collar and ID tags. It’s the number one way that lost pets are returned to their owners. Without it, a Good Samaritan or animal shelter will likely have no idea how to contact you. Even if your pet is microchipped or your cat never goes outdoors, always err on the safe side and make a collar and tag permanent – your pet’s life could depend on it.
In Sullivan County, contact the Sullivan County SPCA, PO Box 995, Rock Hill, NY 12775, (845) 796-3120 phone, (845) 794-2254 fax, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Katskill Mountain Critters, though not an animal shelter, is a no-kill non-profit rescue group which is always looking for volunteers to foster animals until they can be adopted into good homes. (This is NOT a shelter; volunteers who have room at home to foster a pet are always needed.) You may contact them at 845-866-1975, or 845-583-5178; or email email@example.com
The efforts of these organizations and their volunteers should be applauded more often than just the first week in November. Please help them out if you can.