In 1996, The Humane Society of the United States launched National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week–this year it begins Nov. 2. This campaign was designed to acknowledge and promote the invaluable role shelters play in their communities and to increase public awareness of animal welfare issues and shelter services. Here are the top 10 ways that the HSUS suggests you can show your appreciation:
1. Donate a Subscription to Animal Sheltering Magazine.
Shelter workers appreciate Animal Sheltering–an award-winning bi-monthly magazine chock full of articles to educate, inform and inspire anyone who works or volunteers with homeless pets. Donate a year’s subscription to your local shelter for just $20.
2. Learn How to Help Injured or Abandoned Animals.
Your local shelter and animal control officers depend on the community’s help to reach animals in need. Learn everything you need to know to take action, from how to put together a first aid kit to which community phone numbers you need to know.
3. Be an E-mail Ambassador.
Spread a shelter-friendly message every time you hit send–attach a tagline like this one to your signature for all outgoing e-mail messages: Love animals? Support your local shelter!
4. 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.
5. Say Thank You.
Drop a note in the mail or shoot an e-mail 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Donate a Dog Bed.
No shelter dog should have to sleep on a cold, concrete floor while waiting for a forever home, but providing bedding for the millions of homeless animals in our nation’s animal shelters can add up to thousands of dollars each year–not to mention loads of laundry. Help a dog in need by donating a durable, shelter-tested bed to a shelter of your choice through the Kuranda shelter donation program. The beds can increase the overall physical and mental well-being of a shelter’s doggie residents.
9. 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.
10. Add a Banner to Your Web Page.
Post a banner to your MySpace profile, blog, or website to show your appreciation for your local shelter. Just copy and paste the code here into your page.