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Potsdam Humane Society volunteer Keagan Anderson interacts with kittens in 2015. Watertown Daily Times

For many people, beginning a meaningful relationship with a companion who will be forever faithful merely requires a trip to a local animal shelter.

And there are plenty of cats and dogs waiting to be adopted into loving homes. National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week begins Sunday, and the work that these organizations undertake is extraordinary.

Statistics show there is a serious need for adoptive families.

Information on the website for the Jefferson County SPCA states that 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year in the United States.

Sadly, 1.5 million of them are euthanized.

But numerous shelters endeavor to save as many animals as possible.

“Many people still see the shelter as a dreary, sad place. They harken back to the 1950s or ’60s and remember shelters as little more than death row for dogs and cats. And that’s only when they think about the shelter at all,” according to an article on PetSafe.com by Jim Tedford, director of animal welfare initiatives and alliances for the organization. “The truth is, in an increasing number of communities across the nation, animal shelters are places of hope, places of healing and redemption and places of learning. Animal shelters have become community centers where people with a passion for the welfare of animals gather to work toward a better world for animals and people. Modern shelters are not poorly lit, dingy grey prisons. They are warm and inviting, and are designed for the comfort of their special guests, the animals. The first week in November has been designated as National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week by the Humane Society of the United States. I would argue that we should appreciate our shelters and the people who power them every week, but this week is a good start.”

The Jefferson County Dog Shelter, 21897 County Route 190 in Watertown, is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Between 22 and 24 dogs will be available for adoption.

The Jefferson County Dog Shelter is normally open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Call 315-779-5900.

The Lewis County Humane Society, 6388 Pine Grove Road in Glenfield, will host an open house from noon to 3 p.m. as well as a work day on Sunday. The organization is looking for volunteers to help with necessary tasks.

It’s open from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; other hours by appointment only. Call 315-376-8349.

Other animal shelters throughout Northern New York include the following:

* Jefferson County SPCA, 25056 Water St. in Watertown. It’s open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday; noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday; and noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Call 315-782-3260.

* Massena Humane Society, 177 South Racquette Road in Massena. It’s open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 315-764-1330.

* St. Lawrence Valley SPCA, 6718 State Highway 68 in Ogdensburg. It’s open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 315-393-5191.

* Potsdam Humane Society, 8 Raymond St. in Potsdam. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Call 315-261-0148.

Shelters have a mission to connect adoring animals with families who will offer them the care they need. We strongly urge people throughout the north country to use National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week to become part of the solution.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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