5 ways to save homeless pets

Here are five ways you can save homeless (shelter) pets: Adopt, volunteer, donate, be and advocate, and share happy stories about your adopted pets.
By Nicole Hamilton

This summer marks five years since two Best Friends pet adoption centers opened their doors — the NKLA Pet Adoption Center in Los Angeles and the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Salt Lake City. It’s cause for not just one or two — but thousands of celebrations. Since they opened, the two centers have made it possible to save countless dogs and cats from homelessness.

In Utah, we celebrated with an adoption event that featured $5 pet adoptions. People were lined up outside the center waiting for doors to open. But wherever you live, you can help us celebrate by taking steps (big or small) to save lives. The list of ways you can help is endless, but here are five suggestions on how you can help make no-kill 2025 a reality.

5 ways to get to no-kill for pets

Adopt a pet

When you adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group, you save two lives. Not only can you feel good about saving the pet you adopted, but you’ve also it made room at the shelter for another homeless cat or dog. There’s nothing more rewarding than adopting a pet who knows what home life is like and has been missing it — until the day you bring that pet home. Adoption truly makes you a hero. Adopt a pet near you.

Person walking a dog outside the NKLA Pet Adoption Center

Volunteer with animals

Whether you like rolling up your sleeves and cleaning kennels, socializing with a few of your kitten besties or crunching numbers, your skills and interests can make a huge impact on the lives of homeless pets in your community. Fostering is a fun way to get lots of helpful hands-on time. Shelters and rescue groups rely on foster families to take in dogs and cats on a short-term basis. No matter what you like to do and what you’re good at, there’s a volunteer job for you. Find your dream volunteer gig with animals.

Smiling woman holding a kitten in front of a wall with lots of cat graphics and quotes

Donate to the animals

Whenever you give to Best Friends or to a shelter or a rescue group in your community, you’re helping to save lives. Consider paying it forward by sponsoring a pet’s adoption or donating food, cleaning supplies, blankets or towels to your local rescue. You can also help animals right from your computer or phone by donating items from the Best Friends Amazon wish list.

Young boy holding up two dog toys he's donating to an animal welfare organization

Be an advocate for animals

Animals need your voice. Help change policies that affect homeless pets by supporting trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs in your community or working with your state and local governments to repeal breed discriminatory ordinances. Find out if your local shelter makes its data public; and if not, encourage the staff there to start — because transparency is paramount to reaching no-kill. The Best Friends action network is a great way to get started in animal advocacy. It’s free and easy to sign up and lend your voice to important issues. Join the Best Friends action network.

Happy stories about pets

There’s power in the positive. Make your friends jealous with adorable photos of your foster kittens. Tell everyone where you adopted your one-of-a kind pup. You never know who you’ll inspire to foster, adopt or volunteer. And while no-kill was once a new idea (imagine that — the thought that maybe we shouldn’t kill our furry friends), it has more than ever before moved into the mainstream. City shelters and nonprofit organizations alike are embracing no-kill concepts and working harder to save pets who become homeless. Share the news, get involved. Together we can Save Them All.

No-kill nationwide by 2025

Man wearing a NKLA T-shirt holding a fluffy white dog

Photos by Stacey Axelrod, EricaDanger, Sarah Ause Kichas and Lori Fusaro