Monday, April 7, 2014

Volunteering: by the Numbers

This week is National Volunteer Week, so we thought it was a good time to take a look at a few stats here in the U.S. Some of these you may know, and some may surprise you.

There are over five thousand animal shelters in the U.S., ranging from city and county-run to private 501c3 organizations. From open intake (e.g. high kill) to no-kill.

Overall, of the 5 million pets who enter the shelter system in any given year,
more than half of these never make it out alive.

Reaches New Low

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are at an eleven-year low for the number of people willing to donate their time and energies to help out.

The average shelter has far more than just 50 animals, so you can imagine the amount of manpower it takes to let a dog out to go potty just twice a day, or a cat to have his litterbox changed and to be given fresh water.

And what about socializing these poor, frightened animals? Or the countless hours spent fostering litters of kittens and puppies in private homes?

All this takes time, effort, energy and dedication.

For all of you who volunteer at your local shelter, this week has been set aside to honor your many unsung efforts on behalf of shelter pets.

From us to you...thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU.

A Tuesday Teaser

So what exactly do you think "natural" means on the labels of your pet's food?
We hope it doesn't mean this:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated: "The volunteer rate declined by 1.1 percentage points to 25.4 percent for the year ending in September 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. About 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013. The volunteer rate in 2013 was the lowest it has been since the supplement was first administered in 2002."

US Bureau of Labor Statistics
US News & World Report


  1. We hadn't heard those numbers before, especially not the volunteering numbers. It's interesting that volunteering is at an all-time low. We had thought it might be up, since there are high school programs that require it as part of the requirements to graduate in many places, which weren't the case when the head peep went to school (back when they were inventing the wheel and stuff). We hope more people will volunteer at shelters and other animal-related cuases to help needy animals find better lives. Every bit counts!

  2. the volunteering number is a little scary. we know our rescue is always looking for help.... and maybe someday so many animals will stop losing their lives just for not having a home

  3. Those stats are quite sobering, aren't they? Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the amazing shelter volunteers out there.

  4. We agree those stats are indeed sobering and very sad but also wonderful with so many people giving up their time in many different ways to help. That video is well hmmm unnaturally frightening. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. What made us especially sad was the number of pets who lose their lives once they enter shelters.

    the critters in the cottage xo

  6. Mom wanted to volunteer, but they closed the shelter near us and the next one is quite a drive from here. If we had one closer I know she would help out. Instead, we just adopt our cats from there.

  7. manee thanx iz rite.... two de vounteerz N foster momz & dadz.......if yur own speecheez wont say thanx for all ewe petz will...all oh uz high paws N headbonks for doin yur best.... ta make R lives de best....♥♥♥♥ frum uz petz....

  8. I didn't know there were so few shelters; no wonder euthanasia is so high.

    1. Yes, and that's up from the numbers the HSUS recorded in 2012 = 3,500 ( All our data came from the most recent ASPCA and Perfinder information.

      Scary, huh?

  9. Our local chapter of (First coast) NO More Homeless Pets put out a statistic that the euthanasia rate was down to 10% in our area counties. They offer free and low cost spay/neuter for the public depending on income level and do TNR spay/neuter free. It has really made a tremendous difference. Their goal is ZERO euthanasia.

  10. All natural? It's sad how we're all lied to about something as important as our food. :(

  11. That is very interesting, but sad! I am wondering what the situation is in the UK? Must get The Staff on to it!! Thanks for coming over today, guys :) xx

  12. This is SUCH an important message! My human needs to step up more.

  13. What a great message to share! Thanks!

  14. Yes, those numbers are way too sad. We are so lucky with our primary shelter to have more volunteers this year.

  15. interesting statistics.. What stinks about volutneers is that they often don't show up when they are needed, and I fear that goes back to the environment at the shelter. Our shelter does not seem to appreciate volunteers, so they show up for a while, then don't, and there is no follow through. There is no real thank you for those volunteers who show up week after week or event after event.. I've been with them for 15+ years and I've never been acknowledged.. I've fostered over 350 kittens, no note of that, etc. They occasionally do a random volunteer profile in their newsletter, and they do have a cook out for volunteer appreciation at the end of the summer at a really nice venue but the food is always subpar. They also do not invest in a volunteer coordinator. For the shelter and the amount of volunteers they need, they have a part time part time employee working 7-10 hours a week, and that also involves all of the training of new volunteers.. It's just sad..

    as for the video.. oh my goodness.. that is a knee slapper. I can't wait to see where you go with it.

  16. Oh such a sad post :-( We thinks peoples who volunteer to care for animals, or other people, are saints. She has volunteered off and on and she hopes to resume once she finally (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease) retires.

    In answer to your question, YES there is chick-hen and beef and turkey Gerbers--*AND* the only ingredients are the meat, water, cornstarch and sometimes a bit of lemon juice. Nuffing unpronounceable!

  17. Those numbers are so sad, and they can really be overwhelming. We, too, are so grateful for volunteers everywhere who give so much.

  18. Paws up for the volunteers ! Their number is very impressive (so is sadly the number of pets in shelters). Purrs, Zorro

  19. "Natural" means nothing. TBT reads the labels carefully, and THAT matters.

  20. Meant to add... So we get Avoderm, and Wellness canned foods and Eukanuba kibbles as "treats".

  21. It's almost too much to bear. All those poor little souls...

  22. Keen to comment in this post but Parisian wifi has notplayed ball until now!! We MUST keep volunteering. Sometimes the rescue may be small, run by those who love animals but find people a struggle ;-) changing the day you volunteer, or even the rescue you help, may be a way forward. We all need to try as hard as we can - support with our time if we can. Large rescues need us just as much - they have overheads - and may run a vitally important surgery for local folk, or for TNR projects. THESE PEOPLE ARE VITAL - great and small. I am proud to volunteer at my local cat rescue - try if you can - a few hours a week, helping drive an old lady's cat to the vet - each small drop fills an ocean with HOPE.

  23. Wow! I knew that the number of animals euthanized in shelters each year was high, but I had no idea that the volunteer numbers were so low. That's upsetting.

  24. Mom says she would have thought there were more shelters. An average of 100 per state sounds pretty small. The number of animals euthanized is appalling. Mom has always volunteered with some organization in some capacity. She says that it's just the right thing to do. The video was really good and informative. Thank you. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo


Coolio! A comment? For US?