Written by Brad Karger
Each year, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) celebrates National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week during the first full week of November, as a way to honor animal shelters and the dedicated people who work to protect animals.
Animal shelters are vital resources for their communities. A shelter is a safe haven for animals, and a great place to adopt a new family pet.
Shelters also provide critical services, such as:
- Investigating cruelty and neglect
- Reuniting lost pets with their families
- Teaching kids to care about animals
- Providing spay / neuter services to help reduce pet overpopulation
There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the United States available to serve the estimated 6–8 million homeless animals that seek refuge each year, but only about half are adopted.
While 63% of American households include pets, fewer than 20% of them were adopted from shelters.
Each November, National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week provides a reminder for you, your family, and your community to become acquainted with our local shelter, operated by the Humane Society of Marathon County at 7001 Packer Drive in Wausau.
Here are a few ways you can get involved:
- Adopt your next pet from a shelter!
- Become a fan on Marathon County Humane Society’s Facebook page.
- Volunteer – Helping animals at the shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
- Conduct a child’s birthday party at the animal shelter — Instead of giving and receiving children’s gifts, ask guests to make a financial contribution or to donate an animal-related item to the shelter (see details below). The kids will love the opportunity to visit with the animals during the party!
- Be a responsible pet owner — Keep your pet as a member of your family for a lifetime. Spay/neuter your pets, make sure they are wearing collars and ID tags (to get them safely home if they become lost), and don’t let your pets roam loose.
- Donate supplies — Shelters are often in need of towels, food, toys, and other pet-related items. Always check with the Humane Society staff to find out what they need. Request donations from family, friends, and colleagues. You might also want to team up with your child’s school, afterschool group, or camp to organize an Animal Shelter drive.
- Attend a “Cat Yoga” Class — (Yep! That’s a real thing.) Bring your yoga mat to the Humane Society and enjoy a 45-minute yoga class taught by an instructor from 5 Koshas with free-roaming, adoptable (and snuggle-friendly!) felines. Fee is $10. More information on class times can be found here.
To clarify, The Humane Society of Marathon County (HSMC) is a non-profit agency — not a department of county government. Its vision is a cruelty-free Marathon County enriched by the special bond between people and animals.
I know a lot about HSMC, as my wife, Linda Berna-Karger, is President of the HSMC Board, and she serves along with Alicia Richmond of the Marathon County Finance Department, and Ralph Illick of the Marathon County Public Library.
Our own adorable pet — Pierre — is an important part of our family, as can be seen below.
Helping animals is a cause that’s clearly near and dear to our family’s heart…
We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to the workers and volunteers who shelter animals and create opportunities for families to adopt a new pet.
We invite you to visit the Humane Society of Marathon County in person, or check out their Facebook page of adorable pets waiting for YOU!
Marathon County Administrator
In his Administrator role, Brad Karger leads an organization with 700+ employees and an annual budget of more than $165 million. Brad has been in leadership positions with Marathon County for the past 30 years. He is known statewide for generating innovative ideas and solutions to problems, openness and transparency, and a commitment to community service that extends well beyond the normal workday. Email Brad Karger.
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