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Rescue Me: Five Things Rescue Dogs Can Look Forward to in 2020

“Rescue Me” is a recurring column by Samantha Randall, editor-in-chief at Top Dog Tips. She’ll provide personal anecdotes and perspective about her life as a pet lover with a passion for cat and dog rescue. Today, she talks about all the reasons for shelter pets to be optimistic in 2020.

We typically don’t think of rescue pets as “fortunate” animals. What do they really have to look forward to, aside from the prospect of someday having a forever family? However, thanks to a number of generous organizations, the hard work of our elected officials and the constant expansion of technology, rescue pets have more to look forward to in 2020 than you might think. Here are just a few of them!

1. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act

Under a new law signed by President Trump, cruelty to animals is now a federal crime in the United States. This is great news for rescue animals! So many rescue pets have come from a life of abuse. Now, animal abusers can be held accountable.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is punishable by a fine and/or up to 7 years in prison. Every state already has laws criminalizing animal cruelty, but those laws aren’t always consistent and can be hard to enforce. The lack of federal legislation made it difficult to prosecute animal cruelty cases that took place in multiple states or jurisdictions. This law overcomes those obstacles to holding abusers accountable.

2. The “No-Kill” Initiative

Best Friends Animal Society has set a lofty goal for animal shelters in the United States. Their “No-Kill” Initiative aims to bring the U.S. to full “no-kill” status for shelter dogs and cats by 2025. While there are instances when rescued animals must be euthanized, the organization’s goal is to save 90 percent of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters from being euthanized.

A goal of 100 percent isn’t appropriate in this situation. Inevitably, some animals arrive at shelters incredibly sick or so badly injured that the humane and ethical thing to do is euthanize them. Best Friends Animal Society has started a rapidly growing coalition of animal rescue organizations that is working toward saving as many dogs and cats as possible. Their efforts will continue to grow in the new year.

3. The “Adopt Don’t Shop” Initiative

We’ve all heard this term before, and it seems to mean something different to everyone. This initiative isn’t trying to stamp out responsible breeding or put an end to purebred dogs. The “Adopt Don’t Shop” initiative was simply created to encourage potential pet owners to consider adopting a rescue dog before buying one from a breeder or pet store.

Supporters of the “Adopt Don’t Shop” movement ask potential pet owners to educate themselves and make a smart decision when choosing to adopt a pet. If you’re not interested in an expensive purebred pet, why not check out the animals in need at your local shelter or rescue organization?

This initiative has grown tremendously in 2019, and supporters are determined to help spread the word and educate as many people as possible in 2020. Want to help the cause? Do your own research and try to speak with friends or family members that are considering adopting a new furry family member.

4. It’s Easier Than Ever to Spread the Word

My local news station has a segment every day in which they feature a local rescue animal that is up for adoption. Quite often these animals have a waiting list of potential owners by the end of the day! I’ve also seen more social media posts highlighting specific pets that are need of a forever home.

Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever for animal shelters and rescue organizations to get the word out about pets in need. Whether they have a long-term resident who needs a home or the group is in need of donations, they can advertise the requests with a few clicks of a mouse.

I’m sure the local shelters in your area have social media pages. Be sure to follow their pages for important updates. Even if you can’t help out, you’ll be able to share the post. The more people who see the request, the more likely it will be that the shelter animals get what they need.

5. You Are Something to Look Forward To!

If you really want rescue pets to have something to look forward to in 2020, be that something! You don’t even need to adopt a pet to help out. Volunteer your time to help at the shelter. Rescue cats would certainly look forward to having someone come in and cuddle them or scratch them under the chin. Rescue dogs look forward to walks with a new human friend or a fun game of fetch.

Have you ever heard the mantra “Be the change you want to see in the world”?

If you want rescue pets to have a better year in 2020, help them out! You can help spread the word about adoptable pets on social media. You can help educate your family and friends about the “No Kill” initiative. Brighten the day of a rescue animal by volunteering some time at your local shelter.

If you haven’t made a New Year’s resolution, consider making one that will make a difference in the lives of rescue animals. Encourage others to do the same thing. Encourage your children to get involved. Encourage local businesses and organizations to hold pet food/supplies drives. There are so many things that you can do to ensure that 2020 brings happiness for rescue animals.

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.

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