Meet the organization doing everything it can to make sure pets go to forever homes.

Their volunteers are saving lives, both human and animal.

There are few things quite as special as adopting a pet.

Take it from someone who hates a mess but ended up bringing two rescue kittens into her tiny New York apartment. After years of fretting over the decision, it took just one day for me to realize the amazing amount of love you receive far outweighs any annoyance.

Did they run around like wild cheetahs and scratch all the furniture? Sure, but I also woke up to one sitting on my pillow and the other squished into my moccasin. It was love at first meow. Just as you adopt a pet, they bring you into their pack, and the bond only strengthens with time.


My husband, Mark, with our cat, Bill.

That, in essence, is why organizations like the Michelson Found Animal Foundation do what they do — put pets in good homes.

However, there are always more pets waiting to find theirs, and they require food, love, and care too.

Approximately 7.6 million pets enter animal shelters in America each year. According to Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of Michelson Found, there are currently several thousand pets in 20 different shelters in Los Angeles alone. Unfortunately, shelters rarely have enough time, money, or manpower to care for all of the animals that come to them, which, in some cases, results in animals being euthanized.

But that's where Michelson Found Animals Foundation comes in — they're an animal rescue umbrella organization that offers a variety of resources that help make pet adoption easier and more accessible. Their thousand volunteers work tirelessly to make sure as many pets as possible get to go home.

A kitten at an Adopt and Shop shelter. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

"Our mission is saving pets and enriching lives," Gilbreath says. "And that's not only the lives of the pets that we save, but also the people who love them."

The people who love them includes the many volunteers and staff members who interact with them on a daily basis.

"I like knowing everyday when I wake up and come to work, I'm making a difference in an animal's life," says one staffer.

Sure, they're giving them care and attention, but they're also helping them get ready to head on to greener pastures, aka a new family. What could be more fulfilling?

"Being an adoption counselor is so gratifying because you see an animal find its forever home and walk out that door for the last time," says one volunteer.

One kitten going to their forever home. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

While the job may be its own reward, these people definitely deserve some recognition.

SoCal Honda Dealers thought so too.

That's why they surprised the Michelson Found Animals Foundation volunteers with free lunch.

A Helpful Honda person with Lori Hitchins, chief people officer with Michelson Found Animals Foundation. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

But that wasn't their only surprise. They also provided lunch for all the animals in the shelter. That's approximately 44 dogs, 66 cats, and 168 kittens in foster care and at the adoption center. And they made sure to buy through the organization's Adopt and Shop program too, so all the money went to saving more animals.

Needless to say, the volunteers were incredibly grateful, and even more so when the staffers stuck around and played with some of the shelter's residents.

But more importantly, the gesture is a great example of the little things anyone can do to help enrich the lives of shelter animals, even if it's just one bag of kibble at a time.

A Helpful Honda person playing with one of the shelter dogs. Photo via SoCal Honda Dealers.

Adopting and shopping can go together, so long as you do it at a place like this.

Even if you're not ready to adopt right now, if you have friends with pets, consider getting them a gift from Adopt and Shop or donating to Michelson Found Animals Foundation in their name. They, their pet, and all the prospective pets and pet owners out there will thank you for it.

Learn more about these amazing organizations here:

SoCal Honda Dealers: Adopt & Shop

These volunteers are paid in love by the sweet animals they rescue.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This was written by Upworthy writer Ally Hirschlag.

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