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National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week 2024: When It Is & How to Help

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

woman working in animal shelter

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week 2024: When It Is & How to Help

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week takes place the first week of November, so the dates change every year. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) started the event to get the word out about how animal shelters contribute to their communities and improve the lives of animals.

HSUS is one of the oldest and most storied animal welfare organizations in the nation; it’s been around since the 1950s and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of all animals. It currently has initiatives to prohibit animal fighting, puppy mills, and wildlife abuse. It also works to protect wild horses and marine wildlife.

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How Do Animal Shelters Benefit Communities?

Animal shelters provide refuge for cats and dogs in need, and they often play a critical role in helping abused and neglected animals get back on their feet and enjoy happy, healthy lives. Shelters are often the first places people turn to when they find lost pets, and they are the moving forces behind reuniting lost pets and their humans.

Shelters also play a huge role in limiting pet overpopulation by providing free and low-cost spay and neuter surgeries. Many also provide free vaccinations for feral and stray cats. Some provide subsidized veterinary care to ensure that all animals have access to medical care regardless of their companion’s ability to pay.

kittens in a cage of a shelter for homeless animals
Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

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How Is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week Celebrated?

There’s no one right way to celebrate National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, and you have several fun options, including engaging with local animal welfare organizations on social media and showing them love through donations of money or time.

Engage With Your Favorite Animal Welfare Organization on Social Media

Liking or following animal welfare organizations with missions that resonate with your values can be a great way to show support for what they do and the people who work every day to improve the lives of animals.

The week is a great time to let the world know if an animal shelter has played a role in bringing love into your world, either through introducing you to your companion or giving you a call to let you know that your lost pet is safe, sound, and waiting for you to come to take them home.


Adopting a pet is a great way to expand your circle of love, and there are millions of cats and dogs in shelters just waiting to meet the right person or family. Kittens and puppies bring laughter, energy, and adventure into people’s lives, while older pets are sweet, loving companions.

Kittens and puppies are a bit more expensive to adopt than older pets, and most shelters send animals home already spayed or neutered and microchipped to make it easy for new pet parents to get started.

Image Credit: JW Design, Shutterstock


Cats and dogs are family members that can live for several years. Giving pets a temporary home helps save lives by taking animals in when things become too crowded at shelters, and it also gives pets quiet, calm places to get ready for adoption.

Fostering also provides people looking for an option other than adoption with all of the great things about hanging out with animals, along with a bit of flexibility. Most shelters are happy to accommodate foster parents by covering the costs of essentials such as food, toys, and medication.

Make a Donation

Financial donations play a huge role in keeping animal shelters running, particularly non-profit organizations. Cash donations are incredibly easy to set up and can often be recurring if you’re interested in providing long-term support to an organization. Some accept donations of old vehicles, and many work with companies to match donations made through employee-giving programs. Some shelters have wish lists you can consult if you want to purchase an item the organization needs.


Animal welfare organizations rely on volunteers to keep their facilities running. In many organizations, they’re responsible for important tasks such as administrative work, providing adoption support, and caring for animals.

It’s also sometimes possible to partner with shelters to host fundraisers to raise cash to help support the organization’s missions. Many organizations also offer fun ways to get involved, such as participating in events like parades and 5-K runs to raise money for the cause.

blind cat in animal shelter
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

Do a Bit of Emergency Preparation

Animal shelters regularly provide assistance during natural disasters, often stepping in to help pet parents impacted by emergencies care for their companions. Being prepared for a natural disaster or sudden evacuation is a critical part of being a responsible pet parent. Consider spending time learning what to do in case of a fire or evacuation order and getting a disaster kit for your pet so you can keep them safe in case of an emergency.

Do Something Nice for Your Companion

If you’re lucky enough to live with a cat, dog, or other companion animal, you must be doing something right in life! National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week is all about love and appreciation, so it makes sense to give your pet extra love and appreciation for all the joy, happiness, and companionship they bring into your life.

Treats, special meals, and new toys can help you show your pet how much they mean to you. Checking to make sure your pet’s microchip information is registered and that your contact information is another vital task you can complete on National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.

Take a Look Inside a Shelter

It can be incredibly humbling to tour your local animal shelter if you’ve never visited one! Many have regular hours during which it’s possible to drop by and visit the facility and the animals. It’s a great way to discover what the organizations do, how they operate, and the services they provide. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get a look at the inner workings of the organization if you’re interested in exploring volunteer opportunities.

Kittens in shelter
Image Credit: 279 photo Studio, Shutterstock

Say Thank You

If you adopted a pet from a shelter, consider reaching out to thank the shelter workers who cared for your buddy and brought the two of you together. Send a note or an email letting them know how much joy they brought into your life by bringing you and your pet together, and don’t forget to include a few cute pictures so those who once took care of your companion can see the result of their hard work.

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National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week occurs annually during the first week of November. HSUS created the event to call attention to the critical roles shelters play in the lives of animals and in creating and supporting strong communities. Shelters provide safe places for pets who need help finding forever homes, and they give love to the world by introducing animals to their forever families.

They also help reunite lost pets and their owners and provide low-cost medical care, such as spaying and neutering services that help limit animal overpopulation.

Featured Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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