Calling all heroes for animals

Child wearing a green superhero mask and cape hugging a heeler type dog
Join this year’s National Action Week for Animals on June 10-15.
By Best Friends staff

Imagine being stuck in a place far from home where you don’t speak the language or know how the local system works, with no way out unless someone who’s not even the same species as you advocates on your behalf. That’s the reality facing dogs and cats in shelters. The lucky ones are in shelters where they’re cared for and efficiently moved into new homes. Even better are scenarios when those pets never have to step a paw into a shelter in the first place.

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But there are thousands of pets landing in shelters that struggle to place them in homes. Those are the animals who could really use an advocate on their side. The humans who work in those shelters could use a friend, too. That’s where grassroots advocacy comes in, and by taking part, you just might be the hero the pets in your community desperately need.

Get involved with animals in your community

Best Friends’ second annual National Action Week for Animals (NAWA) takes place in June and is designed to give animal lovers tools and resources to advocate for pets in their own communities. Last year’s NAWA was a smashing success, and hopes are high that this year’s event will be as well. “We were awed by the amount of interest and participation in our very first action week, and we hope this year’s is even bigger,” says Kaitlyn Simmons, Best Friends’ director of grassroots advocacy. “Over 3,000 people signed up to participate in the week.”

Aspiring advocates took time out of their day to learn more about supporting community cats specifically and find out how they could help promote trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) in their communities. Participants included everyone from experienced advocates to people who didn’t yet know who their city council members were.

Support animal shelters

Talking to local decision-makers might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about saving pets’ lives in your community, but it truly makes a difference, Kaitlyn says, adding, “Shelters need the support of both their community and their elected officials to implement and sustain lifesaving work and a no-kill community.”

The activities during NAWA are geared for anyone interested, regardless of past experience. “We will teach anyone, from newbies to seasoned advocates, how they can advocate for bringing their community to no-kill through a series of guided steps,” Kaitlyn says. “This week is for everyone.” It’s one more way to get involved and support pets who are going where they all deserve to be: home.

What is National Action Week for Animals?

NAWA is a week-long virtual event with both live webinars and prerecorded offerings to inspire people to create positive change for animals. Each day, participants learn about one aspect of advocating for no-kill, with one assignment to complete. By the end of the week, participants have a bunch of tangible actions they can take to make change in their communities.

This year’s event takes place June 10-15. Sign up at

This article was originally published in the May/June 2024 issue of Best Friends magazine. Want more good news? Become a member and get stories like this six times a year.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

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You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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