DOGGY TREATS: Dog warden Andy Wood has helped to collect donations of pet food for the Darlington FoodStore on Whessoe Road in the town.  Pictured are Darlington FoodStore Network manager Lisa Marsh holding Milo, Andrew Coltman, and dog warden Andy Wood.  Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

5 Ways For Pet Homelessness

Many pet lovers know that overpopulation is the greatest challenge facing pets in the U.S. An estimated 7 million pets enter U.S. shelters every year. Just over half of them get adopted. No matter how many times we read the numbers, it’s hard to think about all those pets who don’t find homes.

But together, we can solve the problem of pet overpopulation. We’re working hard to help the 3 million pets who don’t make it out of U.S. shelters. You can help us make an even bigger impact. Here’s how:


1. Adopt a best friend

The easiest, most accessible way to end pet homelessness is by adopting a pet. With so many healthy, adoptable pets in shelters, choosing to give a pet a home has an immediate impact on the pet, the shelter and you.

You might have a meant-to-be moment, like Tamara did with Astro, a dachshund/Chihuahua mix. Your story might turn out like Steven’s, who “just knew” that beautiful Bella was the perfect cat for him. Perhaps you’ll decide to give a senior pet a home, as Melanie did when she adopted Sula.

Shelter pets are healthy pets! Pets who are available for adoption have been examined by veterinary and behavioral experts. Most are spayed or neutered before you meet them (all pets available at PetSmart Charities Adoption Centers are already fixed), so you won’t have to worry about scheduling the surgery. It’s one of many reasons that adopting is less expensive than purchasing a pet.

New pet parents often tell us how simple and straightforward their adoption experience was. If you don’t know much about adoption, you can learn right now. And when you do meet your match, shelter staff will help guide you through the process.

When you adopt, you save a life and enrich your own. Are you ready to find your new best friend? Find adoptable pets near you.


2. Foster a pet


Space is one of the most limited resources in shelters — there simply isn’t enough to hold all the homeless pets. Pets who are sick or very young are the most at risk of euthanasia. Sometimes all they need is a little time and love.

You can save a life by helping to free up space in a shelter by fostering a pet. As a foster parent, you care for her while she grows, or recovers from illness or surgery.

Want to do more? Put an extra room (even a spare bathroom) to better use. You can save a whole family by fostering a mother cat and her babies. By giving the kittens a safe place to grow with their mom and keep them safe from illness while they get stronger, you’re giving all of them a second chance. Best of all, when you bring the family back to the shelter, they’ll be the cats most likely to be adopted.

When it comes to working toward ending pet homelessness, fostering a cat family is the biggest “bang for your buck” — and the shelter’s buck, too. Adoptable kittens usually bring the highest adoption fee for the shelter.


3. Spay or neuter your pet

You can have a direct impact on the number of homeless pets by targeting the overpopulation problem at its source. Prevent unplanned births — and countless more pets who will need homes — by spaying or neutering your pet.

Pets can get pregnant as young as 4 months old. But research shows that cats and dogs can be spayed or neutered safely at 2 months of age or 2 pounds in weight. If you’re a pet parent, don’t wait to have your pet spayed or neutered.

Every pet available for adoption through PetSmart Charities Adoption Centers is already spayed or neutered. If your pet isn’t altered yet, find an affordable spay/neuter clinic in your area.

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