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These adorable shelter pets are eager to prove that adopting is the way to go.

When you're ready to get a pet, why not make adoption your first choice?

These adorable shelter pets are eager to prove that adopting is the way to go.
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Ad Council + The Shelter Pet Project

There are tons of reasons to adopt when you're looking for a pet.

Before you make your decision, though, these adopted pets would like to weigh in.

Image courtesy of Lucky and Doxie, via Angela Maria/Instagram.


Did you know that if just 10% of the families who plan to get pets in the next year choose to adopt, all the dogs and cats currently entering shelters will have homes? You could help make a big difference!

And if that's not enough to convince you, why don't you hear what the adopted pet community has to say? Lots of pets are adopted through The Shelter Pet Project, which is a joint effort between The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie's Fund, J. Walter Thompson New York, and The Ad Council to make shelters and rescue groups the first place that potential pet-owners turn to when looking to add a friend to their family.

When the rescue pets heard what The Shelter Pet Project was doing, they wanted to help. They even made a video! Watch:

Yup, shelter pets are definitely social media-savvy.

GIF courtesy of Meatball via David Minkin/Instragram.

And ready to hang out with you, whether you want to stay in all day...

Image courtesy of Harvey/Instagram.

...and all night...

Image courtesy of Ruby via Barbara Davis/Instagram.

...or if you want to hit the town!

Image courtesy of Andy the Pomeranian/Instagram.

Want a beach bud? Your rescue pup is by your side:

Image courtesy of Jelly the Frenchie/Instagram.

Or perhaps you'd rather be on the water?

Image courtesy of Bea and Emmylou via Leeann McCollum/Instagram.

Or you can stay on land and stretch out in the sun!

GIF courtesy of Barry via Emma White Turle/Instagram.

How about a gardening buddy?

Photo courtesy of Bonnie.

Or a dinner date:

Photo courtesy of Holly/Kellyanne Lark.

You'll always have a buddy to keep you from getting bored:

Image courtesy of Butters McGillicuddy/Instagram.

GIF courtesy of Ella/Instagram.

...or to make a gloomy day a little brighter.

Photo courtesy of Henry.

Even if you already have pets, why not consider adding an adopted pet to the family? Many adopted pets are eager to make friends!

Image courtesy of Chowder, Buddy, and Jackson via Elise/Instagram.

"Most pets end up homeless through no fault of their own ... meaning shelters and rescue groups are full of wonderful, family-ready pets," writes Kenny Lamberti, acting vice president of the companion animals department at The Humane Society of the United States in an email.

Rescue pets are every bit as cuddly, lovable, and ready to fit into your home as any animal out there.  And, says Lamberti, "whether you want a dog, cat, rabbit, parakeet or hamster, shelters often have the best selection of animals anywhere."

See for yourself: Use The Shelter Pet Project's site to find adoptable dogs and cats or shelters near you and see who's out there looking for a new home. (And even if you're not ready to adopt, lots of shelters need fosters and volunteers, so there are plenty of ways to help out.)

Image courtesy of Cali and Oscar/Instagram.

Pretty soon, you could be snuggling with an adopted pet of your own!

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.