NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For those with furry family members, it's no doubt that those pets are truly part of the family.
While many shelters saw an uptick in pet adoptions amidst the pandemic, there are still millions of animals waiting in shelters to find their forever homes.
That's why April 30 is National Adopt-A-Shelter Pet Day. It's a day created to raise awareness of shelter animals and to share all the good work local shelters are doing.
David Miles is the Director of the North Little Rock Animal Shelter. He said adopting a shelter pet makes a huge difference in communities.
"Animals in a shelter understand what happens when someone adopts them and they are grateful and thankful to get out of the kennel and start their new life," he said.
Miles said that when people adopt, they really save two animals.
"You save an animal when you adopt and then you open a kennel to give another animal a chance to take its place and find a home," he said.
When someone adopts a shelter pet or donates to their local shelter, the money helps provide crucial medical services, including funding for low cost or free spay and neuter programs.
"It is money to vaccinate, feed, and sterilize animals," said Miles. "Shelters aren't here to make money."
While some shelters have done virtual-only adoptions during the pandemic, more are now opening doors. Miles said people can come in and find their next family member.
"Adopters can come in with a face covering and meet animals, walk them, and bring their other animals to see if they all get along," he said.
The animal shelter in Jacksonville is also open. Shelter Director, Hedy Cass, said it's always a joy-filled day when a family finds a new pet.
"It's like a kid in a candy store," she said. "You see the happiness in their face."
Cass is urging people to give their local shelter animals a chance today.
"Always try to look around at a shelter," she said. "You never know what you might find and that perfect dog or cat is there for you."