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National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week

You know that person that you saw in the most recent viral animal video, taking the time to gain the trust of a scared animal? They might be a shelter staff worker. These kind hearted people work hard everyday to protect homeless animals and find them homes. To show shelter staff workers gratitude and how much their efforts mean for the betterment of animals, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), recognizes the first full week of November as National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week. This year, that week takes places from the 5-11. 

Animal shelter employees are the first ones to let animals know that they will be ok, and in some cases, the first examples of kindness that animals are shown in who knows how long. The main goal of animal shelters is to find animals in their care a loving family, but they are also a great resource in the communities they are located in. Shelters may have close associations with police departments to help investigate cruelty and neglect cases, schools to educate children to care about animals, and veterinary offices to provide spay/neuter services to help reduce pet overpopulation. Shelters are also often the first place someone will contact if their pet gets lost. 

Across the U.S., there are approximately 3,500 animal shelters and of these shelters, it is estimated that 6–8 million homeless animals are given a safe haven. Sadly, only about 20 percent of animals are adopted from shelters. But thanks to creative ideas of animal shelter staff and social media, there have been many instances of viral photos and videos of animals who have gotten homes. 

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week is a perfect opportunity for individuals, families and communities to familiarize themselves with their local shelter and shelter staff. If interested in adopting a pet, staff are the first people to talk to who can then introduce people to their new furry friend. If the process of adopting is not an option, people can always go to Facebook and like the shelters page. That way, not only do they get to stay up to date with news from the shelter, but can pass on information to someone who would possibly be interested in new arrivals. Volunteering is always an engaging way to show support to a local shelter or rescue, as well as donating supplies. Shelters need a variety of supplies including towels, sheets, toys, food and other not so known items including laundry soap and bleach. Volunteers can involve more people by asking family, friends and colleagues if they have any extra pet supplies or are willing to give a monetary donation.

Thanks to the efforts of shelter workers, rescues can carry on saving animals in need, and adoption continues to rise. So this week, stop in and say hello to a local shelter staff and make them feel like the heroes that they are to pets in need.