Wednesday, August 18, 2010

International Homeless Animals Day

By Julia Williams

In 1992, the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) introduced National Homeless Animals Day and Candlelight Vigils, created as an innovative educational tool for informing the public about pet overpopulation. Since then, ISAR has commemorated the day annually to promote new campaigns, programs, ideas and solutions to the pet overpopulation epidemic. Now, because of the ever-growing support by animal lovers worldwide, they've rechristened it International Homeless Animals Day.

On the third Saturday in August, organizations and individuals around the globe rally together to raise awareness about pet overpopulation. International Homeless Animals Day activities include candlelight vigils, adoption fairs, microchip clinics, blessings of the animals, and heartfelt speeches given by council members, veterinarians, humane officers and shelter personnel. Other activities include slideshows, rallies, dog walks, open houses, award ceremonies, live music, raffles, and games.

Eight Ways to Observe International Homeless Animals Day

1. Download a free candlelight vigil packet from ISAR.  It includes guidelines for organizing a successful vigil event, with tips on site selection, reaching target audiences, poems, songs, sample press releases and more.

2. Check out ISAR's Event Schedule to find an International Homeless Animals Day Candlelight Vigil Observance in your area.

3. Participate in ISAR's 9th Annual Virtual Vigil and light an online candle for homeless animals.

4. Adopt a homeless animal. If you have room in your home and heart, one of the best ways to celebrate International Homeless Animals Day is to give an animal the blessing of a better life. No, this won't fix the pet overpopulation problem overnight, but it will give one beautiful animal a family to love and a place to call home.

5. Help your local animal shelter by volunteering your time or donating supplies. Shelters run on shoestring budgets, and they’re in dire need of volunteers to help with feeding, walking, socializing and simply loving the homeless animals in their facilities. You can also support your local shelter in honor of International Homeless Animals Day by donating pet food, blankets, dishes, grooming tools, toys and other things they need.

6. Have your family pet spayed or neutered. Sadly, millions of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters every year. Not every city has the ability or the funds to run a no-kill shelter, and euthanasia is the tragic result of an imbalance in supply and demand. Responsible pet owners recognize the importance of having their family pet “fixed,” which helps to decrease the supply of animals in need of a home.

7. Become a foster parent for homeless pets. For various reasons, animal shelters often need to place puppies and kittens, as well as adult dogs and cats, in temporary foster homes. Thanks to fosters, countless homeless animals can be in safe, loving environments until they’re ready to be adopted.

8. Help feed the homeless animals by donating to wonderful pet-related charities such as The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank. CANIDAE is proud to support this fine organization with donations of their premium quality pet food, which is used to help feed homeless animals. 

Please join me in observing and supporting International Homeless Animals Day on August 21, 2010.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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