CatWalk FurBaby: Why Shelters & Rescues Need Us So Badly Right Now

by Elysian Magazine

Founded in 2011 by Cathy Bissell, the Bissell Pet Foundation has made a difference in all 50 states through a variety of wide-reaching programs that have saved the lives of a half-million animals — and counting. The foundation financially assists and supports 5,600 partner organizations, mainly shelters, through lifesaving programs such as Empty the Shelters Events and spay/neuter initiatives.

To this end, ELYSIAN presents a 12-part series that closely examines the present and desperate state of pet homelessness, and the dire situation that shelters throughout the country are facing. This series aims to educate and inspire. By educating, we hope that you will learn about the urgent conditions and problems facing abandoned pets and animal shelters today. By inspiring, we hope you will engage and do your part.

The focus of this series is on the positive work that Bissell Pet Foundation has done, and is doing, to promote adoption and address the overpopulation crisis. The tireless work of the foundation’s staff and their collaboration with a nationwide network of shelter partners benefit homeless pets of every age, purebreds or not, in good health or poor, with or without issues, with or without needs, because every pet deserves a kind and loving home. To this end, many shelters across the country are implementing community services programs committed to maintaining pets in their own homes by making available pet food pantries, free neutering and spaying, as well as free microchip registration (so lost pets can find their way home), temporary housing, and low-cost medical assistance.

But the challenge — and the numbers — are immense. According to the consensus among national animal welfare groups, approximately six million cats and dogs enter shelters each year. Roughly four million pets are adopted annually and another million pets are returned to their owners. These numbers are far too low — and further complicated by outside factors, such as rising inflation and the national rental crisis, which has dramatically increased the strain on shelters by drastically increasing owner surrenders.

This is an unprecedented time for shelters that must cope with overcrowding, slowed adoptions, and the stress of maintaining essential care for the pets when veterinarian, volunteer, and staff shortages are exceeding an all-time high. Bissell Pet Foundation is one of the beacons shining a light on the crisis — and making a difference. And that’s the reason for this series — and the reason behind CatWalk FurBaby.

In future articles you will learn how Bissell Pet Foundation is helping by:

  1. Extending its national Empty the Shelters reduced-fee adoption events to support shelters and encourage adoption.
  2. Supporting free and low-cost spay/neuter services in underserved communities throughout the country.
  3. Coordinating and funding the transportation of pets from overcrowded shelters by air and ground to shelters with more space.
  4. Working with its national network of partners through the National Shelter Alliance to address disaster preparedness and response and crisis management.

We hope, by the end of this series, you will find it in your heart to lend a hand — through your donation of money and/or time — because the help you give will save a life and ensure the future of not just one pet, but many.

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