The Best Friends website has a useful article under their 2025 Goal aim.
It follows nicely yesterday’s post.
No-Kill for Cats and Dogs in America’s Shelters
You believe that animals deserve compassion and good quality of life. You also love your community and want to take action for the pets and people in it. Here’s how.
Last year, about 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in our nation’s animal shelters, simply because they didn’t have safe places to call home. Together, we can change that and achieve no-kill for dogs and cats nationwide by 2025.
Is your community no-kill?
Explore lifesaving nationwide using the interactive tool below and see which shelters in your community need your support. When every shelter in a community achieves a 90% save rate for all cats and dogs, that community is designated as no-kill. This provides a simple, effective benchmark for our lifesaving progress.
This dashboard presents a dynamic data set that is being updated regularly with the most current information available. We welcome your feedback to help ensure that our data is the latest and most accurate information.
Common elements of a no-kill community
All no-kill communities embrace and promote:
Collective responsibility: We hold ourselves accountable for the welfare of pets in our animal shelters and communities.
Individual community members are willing to participate in lifesaving programs.
State and local government are poised to support those programs.
A transparent shelter staff is working with their community to save more lives.
Progressive lifesaving: We value compassionate and responsible actions to save animals.
Decision-making is data-driven and anchored by best practices in the field.
Quality care is provided to every pet and quality of life is a priority.
Programs are designed to save the animals most at risk of being killed.
Programs are designed to tackle the root of the problem rather than the symptoms.
True euthanasia: We recognize that, for some animals, euthanasia is the most compassionate choice. This is why the no-kill benchmark for save rate is 90% and not 100%. In some cases, shelters may not meet the 90% benchmark, but do meet the philosophical principles of no-kill, which are:
Ending the life of an animal only to end irremediable suffering.
Ending the life of an animal when the animal is too dangerous to rehabilitate and place in the community safely.
End-of-life decisions are made by animal welfare professionals engaging in best practices and protocols.
These community maps are the first of their kind in animal welfare. They represent an enormous undertaking on the part of compassionate organizations and individuals throughout the country and a commitment to collaboration and transparency from more than 3,200 shelters across the country.
Setting a fabulous example of what an animal shelter should be like!
The chances are that the great majority of domestic animal lovers have an impression of the standard animal shelter. The chances are that this impression is not one of wall-to-wall approval. It is tragic that animal shelters are required but it is a fact of life that they are needed. Many of them depend heavily on volunteers and donated money.
But that’s not to say that there can’t be a shelter setting a very high example of how a shelter should be.
The words “county animal services” don’t really evoke thoughts of luxury, comfort or state of the art anything, but Miami-Dade is about to change that.
In June, the county opened its first ever “adoption mall,” an air-conditioned, high tech building where potential adopters can “shop” for their new furry best friend without even realizing they’re in a shelter.
“The old shelter was outdated and we wanted more capacity and to improve the wellness of the shelter pets,” explains Alex Muñoz, Director of the Animal Services Department about the project. “We have both cages and free roaming rooms and all areas for pets are air-conditioned.”
The Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center is a massive 72,000 square-foot facility that sits on five acres. Instead of sitting in kennels that don’t have much more than a small bed or sometimes just a couple of blankets on the concrete floor, adoptable dogs have plenty of space to move around and they stay stimulated in the outdoor canine exercise areas. When they’re done playing they can then retreat inside where the temperature controlled rooms keep them safe from the Florida heat.
For the kitties, a lounge area filled with toys allows them to play or just communally nap–after all, they are cats.
In 2015, Miami-Dade became a no-kill county, reaching a 90 percent save rate for all animals going into its shelters. Now with the larger building, the department was also able to expand the number of animals it houses. The new facility has 25 percent more dogs and 50 percent more cats than the previous shelter.
Since disease outbreaks are not uncommon in shelters, the new facility was built to prevent the spread of viruses among the animals.
“The HVAC System includes multiple air exchanges per hour to clean the air in order to avoid air borne diseases,” says Muñoz adding that “dogs are separated in different pods to avoid cross contamination.”
With the new spiffy location, the county is also hoping to fight the association people make of shelters being depressing and its animals sad or broken.
A 2013 study done by Best Friends Animal Society found that 46 percent of people considered shelter pets second-rate compared to dogs from breeders and only 31 percent of young people were willing to consider a shelter adoption.
In addition to happier and more comfortable animals, the building also houses professionals and volunteers who will spearhead programs advocating for rescuing, fostering, caring for neonatal kittens and working with Miami-Dade County Public Schools to teach kids about responsible pet care.
This new type of shelter comes with a hefty price tag of $15 million but Muñoz says it could definitely be implemented anywhere.
And, please, if anyone who reads this is thinking of getting another cat or dog then do make a visit to your nearest shelter your first step. For if all the dogs and cats in shelters were found good homes there would be no need for shelters. An idyillic dream, I know!
Whether you’re on board with celebrating a “traditional” Valentine’s Day this year—chocolates, cards, romance—or not, this year should be the year we also show some extra love to the animals in our lives. Whether we focus on our own companion animals or forgotten creatures out there in the world who also need compassion, this Valentine’s Day could be the start of a new tradition. Here are a few ideas to really bring the love to our furry and feathered friends this year:
1. Plan a trip to an animal sanctuary
Animal sanctuaries are wonderful places to visit solo, with your partner or with the kids. Most, if not all, states have at least one farmed animal sanctuary where pigs, cows, goats, chickens, geese, horses and many others have found a permanent home after being rescued on the way to slaughter or from their terrifying lives in the animal industries. There are few ways to connect with an animal and appreciate all they have been through in their lives that shine brighter than spending time petting a goat or cuddling a pig.
There are also other types of sanctuaries open to the public with different types of animals to behold, such as bats, tortoises, exotic birds, wolves and wild cats. The difference between reputable and respectable animal sanctuaries and zoos is, in many cases, the dedication to the animals’ needs. Some zoos may have great conservation programs, yet any profit-driven establishment who puts animals on display in unnatural living environments and social groupings does not have the animals’ true interests at heart. Sanctuaries strive toward giving the animals the best lives they can have—public observation is not at the heart of the matter. By supporting reputable animal sanctuaries, you are showing immense love and compassion to animals.
2. Dine on a meatless meal
To have a truly animal-friendly Valentine’s Day, don’t serve any of them on your plate! By choosing to dine on a plant-based meal full of fresh vegetables, hearty legumes, sweet fruits, wholesome grains and satisfying nuts and seeds, you are showing the animals the utmost respect. Try these Valentine’s recipe ideas, ethical wine suggestions and delicious vegan chocolate truffles for the big day! And, if you are interested in reducing the amount of animal products you consume beyond V-Day, visit the Meatless Monday website to learn how to tip the scales gradually toward regular vegan meals.
3. Reach out to an animal in need
Do you have a friend who could use a dogsitter for an upcoming trip? Does your local animal shelter or adoption agency need an extra hand with walking the dogs, cleaning cages and spending time with furry friends? Have you spoiled your own companion critter lately with a new toy, extra play time or some homemade treats? Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to extend our love to our own companion animals and to those around us who also need a little extra love. The rewards from reaching out to a pet in need are tenfold what we expend putting forth the effort. Use this February as an excuse to spend more time with some critters!
Dogs have lived alongside us for thousands of years, earning the reputation as “man’s best friend” for good reason. But while some people may be quick to dismiss a dog’s devotion as simply a relationship based on need, experts say that’s just not true.
“Dogs have developed the strongest ability of all animals on Earth to form affectionate bonds with humans,” says Dr. Frank McMillan D.V.M., director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society, an organization helping adopters find loving companions. “Dogs don’t just love us — they need us, but not just for food and physical care. They need us emotionally. This is why the attachment bond a dog feels for his human is one of deep devotion and is, as has been often stated, unconditional.”
But how exactly does a dog say, “I love you”? Read on to find out.
Your dog wants to be close to you.
If your dog is always in your lap, leaning against you or following you room to room, it’s clear your pooch is attached to you.
“A dog’s affection is most evident in their desire to be physically close to you. This can sometimes appear to be a clinginess, and it isn’t always easy to distinguish healthy positive clinginess from insecurity, but in both cases your dog is deeply attached to you,” McMillan says.
Your dog gazes into your eyes.
When you and your pup share a long look, your dog is “hugging you with his eyes,” according to Brian Hare, a professor at Duke University who studies canine cognition, and research shows that this “hug” has a profound effect on both man and animal.
When scientists at Japan’s Azabu University took urine samples from dogs and their owners before and after 30 minutes of interacting, they found that the pairs that spent the most time gazing into each others’ eyes showed significantly higher levels of the hormone oxytocin, the same hormonal response that bonds us to human infants. “It’s an incredible finding that suggests that dogs have hijacked the human bonding system,” Hare told Science.
Your dog excitedly greets you.
Does your pup jump up, wag his tail and barely seem able to contain his excitement when you arrive home? If so, that’s a sure sign of affection.
“This becomes even more obvious when your dog learns, like Pavlov’s dogs, that some sound signals your upcoming arrival, like the garage opener or sound of your car, and they show excitement upon hearing that sound,” McMillan says.
Your dog sleeps with you.
Dogs are pack animals that often huddle together at night for warmth and protection, so when your dog snuggles up with you, it means he considers you to be part of the family. And these canine cuddles may even help you get a better night’s sleep.
You are your dog’s safe haven.
“Much affection in animals and humans is based on how much you can be relied on as a source of comfort and support in scary situations,” McMillan says. “If your dog seeks your comfort during thunderstorms, car rides, vet visits or other frightening occurrences, then you are seeing another aspect of her attachment bond to you.”
Your dog ‘reads’ you and reacts accordingly.
A close bond with your dog may enable him to sense your mood and respond with affection. “Many dogs who sense that you are upset or not feeling well will demonstrate their affection by spending even more time by your side. They might give you licks or rest their head or paws on some part of your body,” McMillan says.
Your dog yawns when you yawn.
If you’ve ever yawned after witnessing another person’s yawn, you’re aware how contagious the act can be. This contagious yawning is unique to only a few species, and man’s best friend is one of them.
Researchers have even found that not only are dogs more likely to yawn after watching familiar people yawn, but also that dogs will yawn when hearing only the sound of a loved one’s yawn. So if your canine companion yawns in response to your yawns, odds are good that his affection for you enables him to empathize with you.
Your dog focuses on you.
It’s not unusual for dogs to delight in positive attention from virtually anyone, but just because your pooch loves on everyone, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you most. Pay attention to how your dog acts when in a room full of people. If he stays focused on you or ignores others while awaiting your return, you know you hold a special place in your dog’s heart.
Your dog forgives you.
“Part of the affectionate feelings your dog has for you shows up in their willingness to forgive you for things you do that make them feel bad, such as raising your voice, or misplacing your frustration on your dog by ignoring them,” McMillan says. “Forgiveness is your dog’s attempt to maintain the loving bond they share with you.”
However, even if your canine best friend doesn’t show affection in these ways, it certainly doesn’t mean your pooch doesn’t love you. Just as some people can care deeply without expressing their feelings, so can your pup.
“Be sure not to go through the list above and think that because your dog shows very few or even none of these things, he or she doesn’t love you. Odds are, love is very much there. After all, we’re talking about a dog here,” McMillan says.
And how can you show your dog some love? Engage in playtime, take a long walk, bake some yummy dog treats, or give your pup a homemade toy. Above all, McMillan says the best thing you can do is simply give your dog more of you because that’s what man’s best friend wants most of all.
As humans animals can be also friends. If animals live together they became often friends. Friendship between different species can be cold as unlikely animals friendship. In this you can see friendship between dogs and cats, Lion tiger and bear friends, Baby Chick and Chihuahua best friends, cat and own friendship etc.
So many loving relationships! So many lessons for us to learn from our dogs!
With big thanks to Trish for sending me these details.
It may seem entirely irrelevant to the wider world to focus on one homeless dog now taken into care and looking for a loving home but if one ‘raises’ the theme to that of which Learning from Dogs is all about, namely Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them then not so!
I’m not going to waffle around this for much longer except to ask you to go across to Patrice Ayme’s Blog and read his recent essay, Blood: Appetite Comes With Eating. It’s a very erudite, and deeply upsetting, commentary on something I touched on in a recent Post. Patrice writes, “Today we have just one civilization. If it dies, it will have no replacement.” So go and read the full essay.
So when we wonder why there seems such a departure from integrity within the higher echelons of society, it makes my heart leap to be reminded of the innocence and integrity of dogs (and, of course, all of nature’s animals), and the outstanding beauty of all those who love and care for them.
So forget about the big, wide world for a while and read what Trish emailed me,
Tiny Tinker needs a forever home
Found fending for himself on the hot streets of South Phoenix, Tinker is six and a half pounds of pure puppy love! This sweet survivor was in very tough shape when he was rescued from the county shelter and brought to the vet. But while he was being examined, Tinker wouldn’t stop trying to kiss everyone around him, and couldn’t stop wagging his tail! Currently recovering in a foster home, this little trooper desperately needs to find a forever home where he’ll be loved for the rest of his life.
Can you help?
Tinker is a spunky sweetheart who loves to snuggle with people. According to the vet, this 12-year-old Chihuahua is the victim of bad genes and neglect. The poor baby was born with only one good eye, permanently dislocated back knees, and terrible teeth. He’ll have dental work done soon, so he can go to his new home with a healthy smile. But first, he needs to recover completely from kennel cough. His ragged ears are most likely the result of flies biting off the edges.
Despite everything, Tinker is one of the happiest little dogs you’ll ever meet. Extremely affectionate and full of energy, blood tests show he’s in overall good health. He’s already neutered, housetrained and up-to-date on his shots. And once he recovers, all he’ll need is medication for his knees to make him more comfortable. Tinker seems to like other dogs, so would welcome canine companions.
Small Chihuahuas can lead very long lives. And if ever a dog deserved to enjoy many years as someone’s cherished pet, it’s Tinker! If you or someone you know can offer him a good home, please contact Jill at (480) 363-8449 or email@example.com. She’d be thrilled to hear from you and delighted to introduce you to the terrific Tinker, who is living in Phoenix.
You can also help Tinker find a home by posting his adoption flyer wherever you work, play or shop.
Thank you for anything you can do to help Tinker and for everything you do for the animals. Each act of kindness brings us one step closer to No More Homeless Pets®.
Breed: Mix Chihuahua Location: Phoenix, Arizona Sex: Male Age: Senior Description: Little Tinker found himself abandoned and left to fend for himself on the rough lonely and HOT streets in Phoenix, Arizona. His previous life, he was not well loved or cared for. When I met this little bugger, I fell in immediate love with him and got him fully vetted. He still needs a couple of teeth extractions but he is in excellent health otherwise – all bloodwork came back negative and normal for any possible under-lying medical conditions.
This is one happy boy! GREAT SELF-ESTEEM, his tail never stops wagging and he only weighs 6 1/2 itty bitty little pounds and yes he is around 12 years old. He is now current on all his vaccinations and is neutered. He has a lot of life and spunk about him despite all he has been thru….very lovable, snuggly, and affectionate little pooch. Tinker would love nothing more than to be your sweet little lap boy and car rides – yes, he loves to go in the car with you.
Pleae consider giving him a loving home – he deserves it!!!!
Contact: Jill Lenz Phone: 480-363-8449 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So if you know someone who could help, then please follow that up. If you don’t, then circulate these details just as far and wide as possible. And if you are a person who might be interested or know someone who might be, and you are in another US State, then email or call Jill Lenz and say you saw the details on Learning from Dogs and somehow we can all work out how to get little Tinker in to your arms.