Between three and four million pets lose their lives in shelters in the US each year despite all our efforts to find them an adoptive home, and yet only 30% of pets adopted across the country are adopted from shelters.* While we celebrate the happy adoptions, “Remember Me Thursday” hopes to remember those pets who were not adopted and “shine a light” on those who are still waiting for forever homes—and who we can save and help to reduce the numbers of pets euthanized in shelters each year by encouraging the adoption of shelter pets.
A month ago Smokie would have been one of those shelter deaths. I keep repeating that fact because many people don’t know or don’t believe the statistics of pets killed in shelters. And it’s not because the animals had something wrong with them—certainly there was nothing wrong with Smokie that a little extra socialization didn’t fix, and now he’s a perfect and perfectly beautiful kitten, ready for a loving forever home. And it’s not because the people in that shelter hate animals and want to kill them instead of finding homes. Smokie and his sibling were rescued and surrendered there, and sent to foster by the shelter itself, given veterinary care and one sibling was successfully adopted. They did all they could with the means they had to find homes for the two brothers. Then the rescue I volunteer with stepped in to help, and got Smokie to me. It’s because all these people know the fate of millions of animals and work hard on both parts—getting animals adopted, and getting them the care they need to get adopted if they have challenges, and preventing the deaths of ever more pets. And I will always have a place for a Smokie or a Bella or a Kennedy or an Emeraude and Lakota, as I have always had a place for a Cookie or a Sophie or a Peaches and all the others, to make sure they don’t end up a euthanasia statistic in a shelter.
The Helen Woodward Animal Center, the organization behind the “Remember Me Thursday” campaign, encourages animal lovers and animal welfare organizations not just in the US but across the globe to come together on the fourth Thursday of September—this year, Thursday, September 25, 2014—with a Remember Me Thursday pet candle-lighting ceremony.
According to the website,
“The candles, which will be lit on the exact same day across the world, will honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and shine a light on the millions of healthy pets who are still awaiting adoption. The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign encourages individuals to light a candle this day (literally or virtually) and to opt to adopt, reducing the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year.”
The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign is championed by Mike Arms, President and CEO of Helen Woodward Animal Center, and creator of both the International Pet Adoptathon and successful Home 4 The Holidays program which, in partnership with national animal organizations, has placed 8.3 million pets in homes since 1999. He is joined in partnership with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, which represents over 150 animal welfare organizations in New York, New York and by animal organizations worldwide.
Last year, the first year of this event, “139 countries united to support the movement, with over 100,000 individuals around the globe holding candle-lighting ceremonies of their own, spreading the message through social media, visiting the Remember Me Thursday website and lighting a virtual candle.”
To read more about this event and to light a virtual candle in remembrance of a shelter pet, visit visit www.remembermethursday.org.
We remember pets in shelters and rescues every day here on The Creative Cat and hope you’ll visit the site and light a virtual candle, and also spread the word in social media as well as go out and actively encourage someone to adopt a pet from a shelter. Locally, an article cited statistics from a Best Friends Animal Society survey of 1,000 young adults, the new generation of pet guardians, showing that only 31% had adopted their pets from shelters, had little idea that pets faced euthanasia if they weren’t adopted, and viewed shelter pets as “damaged goods”. Others insist they need to “know what they’re getting” when they adopt an animal and opt for a purebred pet. We need to even out the playing field and highlight all those animals in shelters who are waiting to fill the needs of these prospective adopters.
Shelters for animals are the center of services for them, a place to land when homeless but not the end of the line or their only option for finding a new home. Many shelters have outreach programs that place pets in PetSmart programs or in other pet stores in their area, or who have adoption kiosks in malls, who attend community events or any number of other offsite adoption opportunities for animals. Many also work with their local community through smaller rescues who can take special needs pets and foster homes who can raise young kittens or puppies, administer medications to sick animals or socialize a frightened animal. All these actions have helped to reduce the numbers of euthanasia in shelters as well as increase the adoption of animals who find themselves in shelters.
Last year on Remember Me Thursday I shared the story of Baxter and Bailey, two cats who we won’t be remembering by lighting candles today because of a shelter who does its best to give frightened cats an extra chance, rescuers who were ready to take the two and a foster home who helped them recover from the trauma of losing their human. The actions of the shelter itself, their rescuers and their foster home all changed the game for these two cats and proved that shelter cats are worth the effort of saving and are excellent pets.
*These statistics are from the HSUS.
Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.
There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.
- Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
- Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
- Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
- Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
- Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.
If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.
Need to know more? Read Fostering for Your Shelter and Fostering Saves Lives
Browse some rescued cats and kittens—browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
Do you appreciate the stories and images we offer you each day?