10 ways you can help save cats and dogs in 2021

With four more years to reach our no-kill 2025 goal, here's how you can help save the lives of pets across the nation.
By Kaitlyn Simmons

Here at Best Friends, we have committed to bringing every shelter in every community to no-kill by 2025. With just four more years to realize our vision of a country with no more homeless pets, we are closer than ever. Huge strides have already been made to help people and pets, but to achieve no-kill across the nation, the animals need your commitment in 2021 to take a stand and fight for their lives. Everyday people like you and me, standing up for what we believe in, creates true, lasting change.

Make a lifesaving New Year’s resolution and commit to using your voice for the animals. If you decide to take one of the following actions for animals, you will be helping to create a powerful movement of individuals coming to the aid of cats and dogs across the nation. Here are 10 ways you can make a difference!

  1. Learn more about what it means to be an advocate. Commit to reading the introduction to our grassroots advocacy toolkit. This will help you understand why and how everyday people like you and me are the key to saving pets in shelters.
  2. Take time to become familiar with our four advocacy campaigns. Ending puppy mills, protecting community cats, stopping breed discriminatory legislation and ensuring families can stay together with pet-friendly housing solutions are critical to keeping pets out of shelters and achieving no-kill by 2025. Which ones speak to you?
  3. Love community cats? Join the advocates across the country who are driving petitions to bring awareness and attention to this important issue.
    Brown tabby community cat outside with ear-tip
  4. All dogs are individuals and breed discriminatory legislation directly contradicts this notion by focusing on mere appearances. Commit to watching this video to gain a better understanding of this important issue.
  5. Puppy mills are essentially “factory farms” for dogs. To understand where your state stands on this issue, see our list of states that ban pet retail sales.
    Small fuzzy Chihuahua type dog being held over someone's shoulder
  6. Ensuring that families have access to affordable and pet-friendly housing means keeping families together (and is truer now than ever before). There are endless stories that illustrate why this advocacy pillar is so important to our mission. For example, one man who had to move into low-income housing was unable to keep his 17-year-old golden retriever, because the dog’s weight exceeded the limit for the housing complex. He was forced to leave his beloved pet in the care of his friend, Sandy, who said: “[He] has depression and the dog was so close to him. He does not see the dog because it causes him more pain."
  7. Do you prefer more personal guidance? Join an action team call to learn how you can become an advocate in your community. Sign up here to stay apprised of our monthly calls and what is happening with action teams across the country. There is even a 2025 Action Team Facebook group where you can connect with other advocates across the country. Join here.
    Ear-tipped gray and white community cat
  8. Build your pet preparedness plan. Helping animals can start at home with your community, neighborhood or even your own family. Check out this pet preparedness plan to make sure you and your pets are ready for anything that comes your way in 2021.
  9. See if there are any pet-friendly laws or ordinances pending in your state and take action to support them.
  10. Knowledge is power. Sharing this article with your friends will inspire others to take action and memorialize your commitment to standing up for pets and people in 2021.
    Brown and white pit bull terrier dog sitting next to a smiling woman


Find more ways to help

Want to know more about what’s happening in your community and how your actions can save the lives of cats and dogs at home? Join the 2025 Action Team and connect with others in your community.

Join the 2025 Action Team

Read more:

10 no-brainer New Year’s resolutions from the animals

Strut Your Mutt 2020 raises more than $1.5 million for homeless pets

Help for foster kittens is just a phone call away

Photos by Sarah Ause Kichas and Lori Fusaro