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The Best Therapist You Ever Met

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October is Adopt a Pet Shelter Month, and as far as I am concerned, we should be celebrating this every month of the year. According to the Humane Society site, animal shelters care for up to 8 million dogs and cats every year and euthanize around 4 million animals. Today there are more than 135 million dogs and cats in our homes. Back in the 1970s, when there were just 67 million pets, over 12 million dogs and cats were euthanized a year; so in a sense our society has come a long way in caring for our animals.

All of our local shelters do their best in trying to get these defenseless animals a home. As was reported in the Bandera Bulletin this week, "Saturday turned out to be another great day for adoptions in Old Town Helotes where 9 dogs and puppies found new homes." Publications like Philadelphia's PhillyBurbs.com continually promote local animals available for adoption. They even suggest that if you can't adopt one yourself, be a good citizen and "support local shelters by putting together care packages which could include baked goods for the volunteers, blankets and toys for the pets, and pet food items for the shelters' supplies."

And don't forget the Red Star Animal Emergency Relief effort that was reported on recently in The Huffington Post. This part of the American Humane Association helps animals in disaster events like the Minot, N.D. flood this summer and the Joplin, Mo. tornado last spring.

There are plenty of Americans who don't have pets and don't understand how important a companion these pets can become. Pets are also teachers helping humans of all ages learn about loyalty, responsibility, empathy, sharing and unconditional love. Kindness to animals can rub off and teach us to be kinder to our fellow man and woman. If you are elderly, a pet can offer you hope, because being responsible for another life can add new meaning to your life.

Every American should give thought during this special month for pets on how they can help their local shelter. My company, DollarDays is giving away $5,000 in supplies to shelters on our Facebook page. If you have a favorite shelter, make sure you nominate them to win. If you don't have a favorite shelter, support them all by donating to one of the national organizations helping animals.

During these tough economic times, it is quite difficult to help the humans who need us, let alone the animals that need us. So if you can't support this cause financially, volunteer at your local shelter. These animals need a friend as much as you do, even though pets offer us much more in return than we give them. They can help us learn more about love and friendship than we can teach them. Just a few hours with a pet can improve our emotional health. These animals may be the best therapist you have ever met.

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