'They just want to be loved': National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day raises awareness of animals in need of homes

NOW: ’They just want to be loved’: National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day raises awareness of animals in need of homes

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is Tuesday, April 30. It's an annual day to raise awareness about supporting animal shelters.

If you're ready to bring some new love into your life, there are several shelters in Wisconsin with hundreds of pets that need homes.

"I think when you have people who love animals, they just are naturally nice people," said Mary Longsine, a volunteer at the Wisconsin Humane Society's Milwaukee campus.

She has spent her days at the shelter for 21 years, clocking more than 10,000 hours of volunteer work.

"I have done everything. I worked with the rabbits, and the cats, and the dogs," Longsine said. "It's wonderful. It's a wonderful place to come every day, so why wouldn't I?"

She has made her mark as the resident photographer for new intakes - most of the photos of adoptable animals on the Wisconsin Humane Society's website are taken by her.

"I also get to talk with people coming in to get animals, and sometimes I can help them out a little bit, which I really love to do," Longsine said.

Mary is one of hundreds of volunteers that give their time and love to animals in need.

"They play such an important role in the day-to-day operations in the shelter," said Stacy Oatman, the media coordinator for Wisconsin Humane Society.

In 2024, Wisconsin Humane Society has seen an increase in dog and cat intakes, but adoptions have been slower overall.

"There's a lot of financial barriers happening right now in our community, a lot of housing barriers that are happening," Oatman explains.

For those who are ready and able to adopt, now could be a "purr-fect" time.

"Spring is kitten season. We see a ton of tiny kittens coming into our shelters almost daily," Oatman said. "With it being nicer outside, it's a great time to potty train those puppies. If you adopt an older animal, it's a great time to get out and take walks and really bond with your new pet."

Right now, the Milwaukee campus has more than 70 pets in their care.

"Adopting an animal frees up a space for another animal in need," Oatman said.

If you're ready for a new best friend, shelter staff can help you make a fulfilling choice.

"They just want to be loved like anyone wants to be loved," Longsine said.

If you're not quite ready to adopt, you can still help. Wisconsin Humane Society is always accepting volunteers and fosters.

"The Wisconsin Humane Society provides everything that fosters need, whether that's carriers, food, any medications that your pet might need when they're in foster," Oatman explained.

Click here for more information.

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