02/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Every Monday Matters: "They Give More Than They Take."



There are 4,000 to 6,000 animal shelters in the U.S.

Nearly 8 million dogs and cats are placed in shelters each year.

Approximately 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because not enough people adopt them.

1 out of 4 dogs in shelters are purebreds.

Adoption fees are usually much less than the cost of purchasing an animal from a breeder.

Only 16% of owned dogs and 15% of owned cats were adopted from an animal shelter.

Many shelters and adoption centers vaccinate, deworm, and spay or neuter for free.


1. Go to an animal shelter or adoption center near you to see if there is an animal with which you "connect." If not, visit another location or come back another day.

2. Speak with an adoption counselor at the location about whether your choice of particular type or breed will be best for you and your lifestyle.

3. Only select a pet if you have a realistic understanding of the time, effort, and money required to provide a healthy, loving environment for your pet.

4. Enjoy your newfound friend.

Animals are unconcerned about age, looks, or physical ability; they accept you just as you are. If you're thinking about getting a pet, seriously consider adopting. Not only will you be saving your new pet's life, but you'll also be rewarded with years of companionship, entertainment, unconditional love, and increased opportunities to meet others. Single? Go to the dog park...but only if you have a dog.


Stephanie Lilly of Bowling Green, Kentucky is a new mom! Unable to give birth herself, Stephanie had been researching adoption...trying to find the perfect set of siblings to bring into her home. And, after a year of searching, it finally happened.

"I am so excited. I found the two sisters I was looking for. One is white with grey spots and the other is grey with brown and white markings. I named them Shari and Lala. They are only 11 months old and already potty trained. They are so much fun," explained Stephanie.

Stephanie is obviously not talking about children. The whole "white with grey spots" thing might be kind of strange. Rather, she is describing her two new kittens.

"I had been looking for a breeder of Persian kittens for over a year. I knew they were expensive and it was impossible to find a nearby breeder, but I always wanted to have Persian cats. And then I read "Every Monday Matters" and realized how many animals had been euthanized during that same year of searching. I felt bad," shared Stephanie.

So Stephanie hopped in her car and drove to her local pet store. Sure enough, they had 12 cats for adoption. They had all been spayed or neutered, were given all their necessary shots, and were even potty trained. An hour later, after a bonding session with the cats, a short interview with the adoption director, and some paper work, Stephanie was on her way home with her two new kids.

"It was so easy, and I am so thrilled to be offering Shari and Lala a new home. Instead of their small, cold cages, they now have brand new carpet and sofas to sleep on, not to mention a ton of room to run around inside. They are so happy."

Not only are the cats happy, but so is Stephanie. Stephanie was recently relocated by her job, so she is living in a new environment, away from her family and friends.

"I used to kind of dread coming home after work because it was so quiet and lonely, but now, as embarrassing and strange as it may sound, I am actually look forward to it. Shari and Lala have added so much energy and love to my home," added Stephanie. "They have been as much of a blessing to me as I have been to them."

Stephanie, even though kittens can't really "use their words" (yet), if they could, we are sure they would be saying: "Thank You...You Matter."

Please visit to buy the book, get involved, book a speaking engagement/event, and share your stories about making a difference in the world. You matter.