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National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

RWC tutor Audrey Bergen gives ideas on how to commemorate this holiday, including volunteering, fostering, and adopting a pet.

April 30th is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. This day was created to promote adoption of the thousands of animals across the U.S. who are in need of a home. Unfortunately, many shelters across the United States from Texas to the Central Valley are experienced such overpopulation that they choose to euthanize animals to make space. There are many steps that can be taken at an individual, local, and national level to curb this overpopulation, including spaying and neutering animals, volunteering, fostering animals, and adopting animals. There are many pros to adopting a shelter pet, and I will be discussing a few of them as well as local shelters where you can get involved. 

Types of Pets at Shelters

Local shelters have more than just cats and dogs up for adoptions. The Central California CPCA has horses, guinea pigs and rabbits, and even ducks! Stanislaus Animal Services in Modesto has everything from bunnies to pigs to goats. There are even reptile rescues and sanctuaries out there for those who prefer cold-blooded companions. Whatever your preference, you’re bound to find the right animal for you! Below I have included some tips in finding the right pet for you, and what adopting a shelter pet can add to your life.

While puppies, kittens, and younger animals are cute and cuddly, consider adopting an adult animal, or even a senior. While there are certain health issues that come with age to keep in mind, older dogs are just as loving and deserving of a home as younger ones. Adult dogs and cats are much less likely to get adopted than younger ones. Large dogs, both black dogs and cats, certain breeds like pit bulls, and animals with disabilities and special needs are also less likely to get a home. If you have the means and the heart for these kinds of animals, consider welcoming one into your home.

What to do if When Adopting a Pet

When adopting an animal, there are many things to consider. First, if you have any other animals in your home, it is a good idea to either do a meet-and-greet with them and your potential new pet at the shelter or to slowly acclimate them in your home, with dogs and cats in particular. Making sure your home is ready to welcome a new pet is another important step. This can involve buying supplies like food and a bed/crate for your pet, and can include “puppy-proofing” the house when adopting young dogs who may be teething. The most important things, however, is love and attention. Some animals have been in a shelter for years, and just simply taking care of them and showing them affectionate can go a long way towards making them feel at home.

Benefits of Adopting Pets

As for the benefits a rescue animal can bring to your life, the possibilities are endless. Animals can not only provide us emotional support, but motivate us to be active and spend time in nature, help us connect with other animal lovers, and so much more. 

My family’s dog, a 13-year-old miniature schnauzer named Pepper that we’ve had for 12 years now, has brought much joy to our lives.

Even though he’s older now and not as active as he used to be, he still makes us laugh with his silly antics like bolting out of his crate each morning in anticipation of his daily treat.

Ways to Help Out

If you don’t have room in your life for a pet or the desire to adopt one, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or rescue, donating supplies, spreading the word about the good work they are doing, and even fostering an animal. Fostering is mostly for dogs and cats and depending on the organization can be short-term (1-2 weeks) and long-term (until the animal gets adopted, usually a few months but can be longer). Whatever you decide to do on this day, even if it’s celebrating the rescue pet you already have in your life, know that no action is too small, and that you are making an impact.

Where to Volunteer Near You 

Valley Animal Center in Fresno, CA-

Fresno Humane Animal Services-

California Bully Rescue (foster-based, no physical location)-

Paw Squad 559 (foster-based, no physical location)-

Fresno Bully Rescue- Sanger, CA-

Valley Oak SPCA- Visalia, CA-

Stanislaus Animal Services in Modesto, CA-

The Cat House in the Kings in Parlier, CA-

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