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Raising awareness of shelter pet adoption

The family dog or cat is more than a lovable animal who brightens the household. Whether they are pure breeds or no breeds, Fido and Fifi are part of the family.

The U.S. Postal Service is now forging to the front in a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the adoption of shelter pets with an issue of a pane of 10 new stamps. Featured are portraits of five dogs and five cats.

Although estimates vary, most sources agree that animal shelters take in several million dogs and cats in the United States. Sadly, for lack of space and financial resources, about half of the animals that end up in shelters are euthanized.

Adoption could save more shelter pets from this fate! Many people don't make this choice, however, because they believe abandoned animals might have behavioral problems. In fact, most shelter pets are well-behaved victims of circumstances.
Owners in many cases are not prepared for the responsibilities of caring for an animal, dog or cat, especially when they have to relocate. In many situations, families are reluctant to give up their pets.

Some animal lovers may not consider adopting from a shelter. They prefer to buy only pure breeds. They do not realize shelters house just about any type of dog or cat that they might want, even puppies and kittens.

There are numerous reasons to adopt a shelter pet. One is cost because adoption fees often include vaccinations and spaying.
The best reason of all to adopt a shelter pet is the satisfaction of knowing you've saved a precious life. No one should ever adopt without being aware of the financial and moral responsibilities of pet ownership.

The pets shown on the stamps were photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce near her home in New Milford, Conn. All had been homeless at one time.

First Day covers collectors may phone the postal service at (800) stamp-84.

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