A Chinese proverb states, “To be followed home by a stray dog is a sign of impending wealth.”
This adage certainly rings true for the person who decides to take the stray dog into their heart and home, as the love and loyalty of a four-legged friend enriches a person’s life immeasurably.
Sadly, the World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 200 million stray dogs around the globe, while CAROcat gauges that 480,000,000 stray cats roam the streets.
In the United States alone there are approximately 70 million stray companion animals. To raise awareness of these sobering statistics, April 4 has been deemed World Stray Animals Day.
What Can I Do To Help Stray Animals?
Although the statistics are sobering, there are actions that everyone can take to aid animals in need, both globally and locally.
Check out the efforts of nonprofits which help companion animals in underserved areas around the globe, such as:
- Soi Dog Foundation: A nonprofit which comes to the aid of companion animals in Thailand through a spay/neuter program; provides emergency veterinary treatment for injured and abused dogs and cats; provides meals to hungry, homeless animals, and much more.
- The Vanderpump Dog Foundation: Not only does reality star Lisa Vanderpump’s nonprofit rescue and rehome dogs from L.A. shelters, the foundation also operates two shelters in China for animals saved from The Yulin Dog Meat Festival.
- Animal People Alliance: Co-founded by The Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle, the nonprofit helps street animals in India and Thailand while providing employment to people in need.
- Nowzad: An organization which provides aid to animals in Afghanistan.
There are approximately 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats in shelters across the United States, hoping that their forever pet parent will walk through the door.
If you plan to welcome a dog or cat into your family, and are financially and mentally ready for the responsibility, choose to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization.
Foster a Stray Animal
If you are unable to adopt but still want to help an animal in need, you can open up a kennel space at your local animal shelter by temporarily opening your home to a homeless animal as a foster parent.
The room you create by taking on a temporary ‘roomie’ will give your new pal with paws a breather from shelter life, and give both your new buddy and a newly-arrived shelter animal the much-needed time it takes to get adopted.
Find out if an animal shelter has posted a wish list of essential everyday items on their social media platforms.
Make one of the shelter’s wishes come true by making a donation of blankets, toys, cleaning supplies, etc.
Give your local shelter the gift of your time by signing up to be a volunteer!
Socialize kittens, take cute photos of adoptables to post on social media or give a dog a break from a day spent behind bars by taking him or her for a stroll.
Unleash your creativity with a DIY project for a paws cause! Give a homeless cat a virtual hug by knitting or crocheting a toy or comfy blanket for their cage which can go home with them when they are adopted; make a cardboard cat scratcher; braid discarded T-shirts into a tug toy for a dog, or sew “adopt me” bandanas or vests.
Assist with Social Media
Circulate photos of shelter animals from adoption sites such as AdoptAPet, Petfinder, PetHarbor and Petango on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) to increase a dog or cat’s chances of being seen by their future pet parent.