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How to turn your passion for pets into action

(BPT) - Are you passionate about pets? Whether you have a beloved animal of your own or simply appreciate all the joy pets bring to our lives, there are many ways you can turn that passion into action to help make a difference in your community.

Consider these three ideas to support pets and people to make a lasting impact:

Help pets find their people through promoting pet adoption

When you adopt a pet, you're saving their life and enriching your own. Pets of all breeds, sizes and ages are in need of loving homes, so if it's time to expand your family, check out, the world's largest database of adoptable pets. On the site you can browse pets available for adoption in your area from a network of over 14,000 shelters and rescues. Encourage your friends and family to do the same!

In addition to pet adoption, you can support your local shelter and their mission in a variety of ways. Consider volunteering to walk dogs, playing with cats, assisting with adoptions or helping with marketing outreach. You can also foster pets waiting to be adopted or consider hosting a personal fundraiser to collect money or supplies.

You also can make a difference by choosing brands that support pet welfare initiatives. For example, in 2023 Purina invested more than $30 million to support programs that aim to bring and keep people and pets together and help communities and the environment thrive. As part of these efforts, Purina donated over $10 million in nutritious pet food and cat litter to dozens of pet shelters throughout the country that are caring for adoptable pets.

Connect people with pets to support mental wellness

The number of youth who report struggling with their mental health is increasing. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 6 youth in the United States ages 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year and 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14. Research shows that spending time with pets can help make a difference in supporting youth mental health.

To provide support, Purina is matching therapy dogs with youth - including in schools and at pediatric hospitals - to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure and increase self-confidence.

How can you help important initiatives like this and support youth in your community? Remove the stigma and talk openly about mental health with your friends and neighbors. Have a conversation with your child's teacher, principal or the school board about how therapy pets might assist kids in managing stress. You may even consider if your pet is a good fit for becoming a touch therapy pet.

Donate to support pet owners in crisis

People have such a strong bond with their pets, so when facing a crisis, that bond becomes more critical than ever. Consider this eye-opening statistic: 48% of domestic abuse survivors delay leaving their abusers because they can't take their pet with them.

The love between a person and their pet is unparalleled and both should be able to stay safe. Yet only 19% of domestic violence shelters accept pets. To help, consider a donation to the Purple Leash Project to help domestic violence shelters create safe spaces for people and their pets by making pet-friendly renovations.

Purina has invested more than $2 million with the Purple Leash project with the goal to help 25% of domestic violence shelters become pet friendly by 2025. You can make a difference with your donation and by spreading the word about this important need in your community.

There are numerous ways to channel your passion for pets into meaningful action within your community. By considering pet adoption, supporting shelters, connecting people with therapy pets and donating to initiatives such as the Purple Leash Project, you can make a tangible difference in the lives of both pets and people.

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