There are nearly 3.7 million animals euthanized in the United States each year. This is mostly a result of abandonment, abuse, and illness of the formerly beloved pets in American households. This tragic number will probably never reach zero but is falling.
For some people, there is no greater joy than to help others, whether the other is a human or not. Animal shelter volunteers are truly heroic humans making a difference in the lives of animals who have suffered abuse and neglect.
The point of volunteering is that you are providing a service out of kindness, with no expectation of reward. The most amazing part of volunteering at an animal shelter is that rewards are freely given in the form of sloppy puppy kisses and the contented purring of kitties, amongst other animalistic displays of gratitude.
There are limitless ways in which you can volunteer at your local rescue centers, vet clinics, and in area animal activism programs. Saving a pet from certain death is sometimes only the first step toward completely rescuing it from the abuse it has endured.
Maybe you’ve seen recent viral videos showing unexpected animal pairings, like the pit bull and her pet cow, or the mama kitty who adopted puppies. These animal matchups defy logic but provide critical nurturing for both sides.
Another oddly perfect pairing has been seen with recovering addicts and disabled veterans and their rescued pets. Regardless of the unexpectedness of the match, once these people and pets share a bond, it often lasts a lifetime.
As humans, we like to think of ourselves as the dominant species, but anyone who has pets knows this isn’t exactly the truth. True companionship with animals involves mutual respect and love. It’s no secret that an animal friend can make even the darkest times less frightening, simply by being present.
When we donate our time and resources, open our homes, and let these animals into our lives, it’s often hard to tell who is rescuing whom. The benefits of adopting from a shelter over a breeder or pet store are multi-faceted and can be readily seen in both adoptive pet parents and adopted pets.
It’s likely that when you choose to adopt a pet from a rescue shelter, you’re one step closer to meeting your newest best friend. None understand the need for love and affection as well as those who have been deprived of it. This is equally true for rescued animals.
The choice to adopt an animal from a no-kill shelter, rescue center, or other animal protection agency is one that requires a bit more love and patience than that of other adoption choices because these animals have already experienced first hand how cruel humans can be.
With proper training, extra snuggles and lots of patience, you might just get rescued right back.