National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day!

Ringo

RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.

If you've thought about adopting a pet, Dani Cox, 20, in Miami, thinks today is a good day for it:

Thinking of eventually adding a furry new friend to the family? Planning on having a pet at sometime in your future? I would venture to say you nodded. Or at least acknowledged that it’s a happy prospect. So why not start to make it happen today, which is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day?

Just one of millions, the silky and dashing Ringo pictured here is not only up for adoption via KittyKind, but he has also been sponsored for a place (with a hand-drawn portrait!) in this book, All Black Cats Are Not Alike.

According to the ASPCA, more than eight million pets enter shelters in the United States every year; that’s 21,918 abandoned animals per day. Of these, 13,699 are euthanized daily. Daily. Could you imagine if I were talking about human lives? Maybe they’re just animals, but to make a point here: How many of you have felt like your pet was part of the family?

The good news is there is something you can do: Adopt from a shelter and you can save a life. On top of that, shelters provide spaying, neutering and vaccinations, as well as taking care of other veterinary needs, so you’re getting a healthy animal. No more worrying about diseases that can come from puppy mills or negligent breeders. As if adopting isn’t already a no-brainer, it’s cheaper, too! Those medical bills are taken care of, and the adoption fee is pretty minimal.

From there, your job is to enjoy your new friend — and the fact that you’ve given an abandoned animal a second chance at a loving home. My older brother adopted his awesome character of a cat, Church, from a local shelter. My biggest concern was that it might never feel like Church was my brother’s pet since he wasn’t the first owner. Now I am someone who considers this cat my nephew and that concern one of the silliest things I have ever thought.

So next time you or your friends are considering an animal addition to the family, think of Church, and think of going to your local shelter to save your new best friend’s life.

RED Hearts guest poster Dani Cox is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.