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Pets At Great Risk — Save Shelter Animals from Crisis

7,941 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal

26.47% Complete

Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Animal shelters are a critical component of the animal welfare system, yet many face a constant struggle to secure enough funding and resources to care for their animals year after year. Take action to support your local shelter!


Animal shelters are a critical component of the animal welfare system in the United States.

They serve as temporary homes for lost, abandoned, or surrendered pets, offering them care and protection until they can be placed in a permanent home. Despite their vital role, the cost of providing food, vaccinations, bedding, and enrichment needs for dogs in shelters is often prohibitively high, limiting the number of animals that shelters can save and putting additional pressure on families with pets1.

Food is one of the most basic and essential needs for dogs in shelters. Providing dogs with high-quality, nutritionally balanced food is critical for their health and well-being, and it also ensures that they are attractive to potential adopters2. However, the cost of food can be a significant barrier to providing adequate care for dogs in shelters. Many shelters rely on donations to cover the cost of food, and while these contributions can be helpful, they can be inconsistent and unreliable, leaving shelters struggling to meet the needs of the dogs in their care3.

In addition to food, vaccinations are another crucial component of care for dogs in shelters. Vaccinations protect dogs from a range of diseases, including rabies, parvovirus, and distemper, and they are a critical component of ensuring the health and safety of both the dogs in the shelter and those in the surrounding community. However, the cost of vaccinations can be high, and many shelters struggle to provide this essential care to all of the dogs in their care4.

Bedding is also important for dogs in shelters, as it provides a comfortable and secure place for them to rest and sleep. However, the cost of bedding can be a significant barrier to providing adequate care for dogs in shelters, and many shelters are unable to provide a comfortable and safe place for dogs to sleep. This can lead to increased stress and anxiety in dogs, making it harder for them to adjust to their new surroundings and increasing the likelihood that they will develop behavioral issues5.

Finally, enrichment activities are essential for dogs in shelters, as they provide a way for dogs to stay active, mentally stimulated, and physically fit. However, the cost of providing these activities can be high, and many shelters struggle to provide adequate enrichment opportunities for dogs in their care. This can lead to boredom, stress, and destructive behavior in dogs, making it harder for them to adjust to their new surroundings and increasing the likelihood that they will be passed over for adoption6.

The high cost of providing food, vaccinations, bedding, and enrichment for dogs in shelters has significant implications for families with pets in the United States. In many cases, families are unable to provide the necessary care for their pets, either because of financial constraints or because of changes in their personal circumstances, such as a loss of employment or the arrival of a new baby. This can lead to pets being surrendered to shelters, further increasing the demand for resources and putting additional pressure on the animal welfare system7.

Providing food, vaccinations, bedding, and enrichment needs for dogs in animal shelters is a costly and complex undertaking, and it is a critical component of ensuring the health and well-being of dogs in the United States. Despite the challenges, it is essential that we continue to work together to find solutions to this pressing need, in order to ensure that dogs in shelters receive the care and protection they deserve, and to support families with pets in their time of need.

Whether you're a pet owner, animal lover, or simply looking for ways to give back to your community, there are plenty of opportunities to support your local animal shelter. Sign the pledge to support your local shelter and make a difference!

More on this issue:

  1. Natasha Daly, National Geographic (7 September 2021), "Why animal shelters are facing a new crisis."
  2. Central California SPCA, "[2 December 2015] "Top 10 Things Animal Shelters Use The Most."
  3. Mike Griffiths, itvX, (2023), Pet owners 'would go without food' and animal shelters in crisis due to cost of living."
  4. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2023), "Vaccinations for Your Pet."
  5. Susan Paretts, American Kennel Club (1 September 2021), "The Importance of a Good Dog Bed."
  6. Center for Shelter Dogs, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, (2023), "Enrichment."
  7. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2023), "Position Statement on Keeping Pets and People Together."
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The Pledge:

I understand that animal shelters are a critical component of the animal welfare system in the United States, and face a constant challenge in garnering enough donations to care for their animals year after year.

A such, I pledge to take the following actions to help my local animal shelter:

  1. Adopt a pet

The most obvious way to help your local animal shelter is to adopt a pet in need of a loving home. Not only will you be giving an animal a second chance, but you'll also be freeing up space for the shelter to help more animals.

  1. Volunteer your time

Many animal shelters rely on volunteers to help care for their animals, and there are a variety of tasks you can help with, such as feeding, grooming, and walking the dogs.

  1. Donate food, toys, and supplies

Animal shelters are always in need of supplies, such as food, toys, bedding, and litter. Donating these items can help make life a little more comfortable for the animals in their care.

  1. Foster a pet

If you're not ready to adopt a pet, consider fostering one. Fostering can help socialize and acclimate animals to life in a home, making them more adoptable.

  1. Educate others

Spread the word about the important work your local animal shelter does, and encourage others to get involved.

  1. Help with transport

Many animal shelters need help transporting animals to and from events, clinics, and foster homes.

  1. Share your pet's story

Share your pet's adoption story on social media and encourage others to adopt from their local shelter.

  1. Fundraise

Organize a fundraiser to benefit your local animal shelter, such as a charity walk, bake sale, or silent auction.

  1. Participate in events

Many animal shelters host events, such as adoption fairs, volunteer orientations, and educational seminars. Participating in these events is a great way to show your support and get involved.

  1. Donate to organizations that make a difference

Providing food, vaccinations, bedding, and enrichment needs for dogs is a costly endeavor for animal shelters across the country. Due to the high cost of these basic necessities, shelters often have to limit the number of dogs and puppies that they can save.

Your donations to Greater Good Charities can help provide these necessities with a care package. A soft bed and a full belly can go a long way for the well-being of shelter dogs and puppies. Through proper vaccination, animals' risk of disease is cut down or eliminated, leaving shelter volunteers more time to find good homes for these dogs. Animals that are healthy, happy, and well-fed stand a much better chance of being adopted.

By taking these actions I pledge to make a difference in the lives of the animals in my local animal shelter.

Pledged by,

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