Most peoples’ first impressions about animal shelters aren’t pleasant. Many think of animal shelters as crowded camps of stray pets and other animals that people either didn’t want or couldn’t afford to keep. Sadly, the impressions formed about animal shelters can impact even the good work that they do. What many don’t realize is that most animal shelters do their best to facilitate long and happy lives for dogs, cats, and other pets they encounter. In order to clear the air, let’s review four crucial things that animal shelters in your area are actually doing.
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Provide Medical Attention
Some people have this idea that animal shelters merely take in animals, hold them, and then either send them to new homes (or in some unfortunate cases, euthanize them). This just isn’t true! Most animal shelters provide around-the-clock medical care to pets out of their own pockets. From vaccinations and spaying/neutering to helping pets heal from various injuries, there are many forms of medical attention provided. So the next time somebody asks you “what do animal shelters do?”, you can start by responding with this little factoid.
Help Animals Rehabilitate
Some animals that find themselves in shelters might not need medical care, but many do need a different type of attention. All too many animals find their way to shelters after being neglected or even abused, making it difficult for the pets to adjust to new homes. Before an animal shelter can give dogs or cats to a new home, they first must be rehabilitated. This means plenty of TLC, training and careful attention to helping better socialize shelter pets and ensure they are comfortable around others.
Educate the Public
The tasks of an animal shelter are never done, but one of the goals of a shelter is to reduce the number of cases where a pet needs to be taken in in the first place. All too often, pet owners do not carefully consider the consequences of owning a dog, cat, or other pet for years or even decades. As such, animal shelters often work with other local organizations and the public on information campaigns, helping to educate people about ownership. From the ins and outs on neutering and spaying your pets to tips on how to avoid taking in a pet you can’t ultimately keep; animal shelters do great work in this area.
Most shelters use donations and private funds exclusively. This means that shelters are often forced to operate as efficiently as possible, putting each pound to good use. This actually helps build stronger community bonds, as it brings vets, volunteers and local organizations together, all of which give their time and money to help make the community a better place.
Despite the image that some people have about animal shelters, many are no-kill facilities that provide around-the-clock care to pets. The existence of shelters helps bring communities together, educates the public about proper pet care, and ensures that pet overpopulation problems are addressed in the long-term. Those are plenty of reasons you should support and appreciate your local animal shelter.