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In the US alone, 3 to 4 million pets are euthanized each year and hundreds of millions of dogs and cats are strays left without a home or people to care for them. Natural disasters, and the economic downturn, have also put more pets at risk of losing their caring homes.

Many animal nonprofits focus on how animals can help heal people. This can include service animals helping the sick or disabled or sanctuaries where kids can learn the responsibility that comes with caring for an animal.

There are over 1 million different animal species on earth and only 50,000 nonprofits to help them. These nonprofits help people adopt stray animals as pets and rescue those animals that are at risk or abandoned. Many run low-cost spay or neuter programs or help owners with high vet bills. Some organizations fight for animal rights, whether on farms, in homes or in the wild and others fight against extinction by protecting endangered species. Work with an animal rescue or animal shelter near you and join the fight for animal welfare.