In 1996, The Humane Society of the United States founded National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week to acknowledge the role of animal shelters throughout the country. It’s also a week to encourage people to get acquainted with their local animal shelter and learn how to help save lives.

Each year it’s the first full week in November so this year it runs from November 7th through the 13th. Even though dogs and cats are some of the most beloved pets in the United States, pet homelessness is a huge problem. There are 3,500 brick and mortar animal
shelters in the country. It’s at these animal shelters that pets receive a second chance. Over 3 million shelter animals are adopted each year.

Some people still see animal shelters as sad places.  They harken back to the 1950s or ‘60s when things were quite rough for homeless animals as well as the people who cared for them. The truth is that animal shelters are places of hope, places of healing and places of
learning.  Animal shelters have become community centers where people with a passion for the welfare of animals gather to work toward a better world for animals and people.

I asked some of our dedicated staff what made them want to work at the shelter and what did they enjoy most about their work. Their motivation is obviously a love of animals and the passion to help the animals and their humans. Their favorite part of their day was the interactions with the animals and helping them get adopted into loving homes.

If you’d like to help please consider the following:

1. Adopt a Best Friend. Animals provide unconditional love. Having a pet is a big responsibility and involves a lifelong commitment, but it’s worth every minute.

2. Take a Tour. Never been inside FHS? Take an hour to stop by between 10am and 5 pm and see firsthand how things work. If you’d
like a behind-the-scenes tour, that can be arranged ahead of time. To become more involved, find out how you can become a volunteer.

3. Keep on Giving. Costs to run the shelter keep going up, so every bithelps. Donating can be as simple as mailing a check or going on our website. It can be fun to shop for items on our wish list. Sign up for Amazon Smile so a portion of all your purchases can come to FHS without costing you a penny.

4. Connect with Kids. Help children learn about the importance of being kind to animals. Find out about our summer camps for kids. If you don’t have a child, consider sponsoring a child.

5. Be a Great Pet Parent.  Keep your own pets healthy and current on vaccinations. Visit your veterinarian or ours in our wellness clinic.
Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the number of homeless pets.

6. Be Prepared. We at FHS not only care for every animal inside the shelter during hurricanes and other disasters, we also open up the pet friendly evacuation shelters within designated schools. Be sure that your disaster plan includes your pets.

7. Be a voice for the voiceless. We also provide animal rescue and control. If you see a neglected or injured animal, please report it
immediately. You could be that animal’s only chance.


Amy Wade-Carotenuto is the Executive Director at Flagler Humane Society and can be reached at Flagler Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for- profit organization founded in 1980. For more information go to