Have you ever had the heart-wrenching feeling of walking into an animal shelter and wanting to take ALL the animals home?
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the time, room, or money to have as many pets as we want, but that doesn’t need to stop you from still helping animals in need. We’ve put together just a few of the numerous ways you can help your local animal shelter, without adopting a new pet.
Shelters are always in need of more supplies for their many residents. If you look around your home, you may find many surprising items your local animal shelter needs you may have never thought of. Most local animal shelters will have a list of needed items on their website, but almost all of them could use:
- cleaning supplies
- unopened pet food or treats
- office supplies
- durable toys or those without squeakers (these can be a choking hazard)
- collars and leashes
- grooming supplies like brushes, combs, scissors, nail clippers, etc.
- flea and tick treatments
- nursing bottles (for puppies and kittens)
- food and water bowls
- dog beds, pads, or mats
- crates and carriers
Shelters could always use extra hands! Many times they will offer orientations or special training for their volunteers, who will then perform tasks like cleaning, helping with adoptions, or simply giving animals attention and exercise. Some organizations that raise service animals often just need people to come play with their animals to help increase their social skills, and exposure to new people.
You can also volunteer your home! With over-crowding often being an issue, animal shelters look for foster homes where animals can live until they are adopted. Living in a foster home can help the shelter learn more about the pet’s behaviors and give it a better chance of being adopted. Loving foster homes can also help with socialization and training.
3. BE THEIR BIGGEST FAN
Local animal shelters, like any other business, need exposure and to raise awareness in order to encourage more people to adopt. You can like, comment, and share their posts on social media, such as those featuring adoptable pets. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. Look up your local animal shelter’s social media, and follow them.
You can help them raise awareness in other ways as well including hosting informal fundraising at your own personal events. For example, in lieu of gifts for a birthday party, you can request that donations be made to your local animal shelter. You can do the same for other personal events like weddings, memorials, and anniversary celebrations. You help raise funds, as well as, awareness!
If you see a pet-related issue in your community that needs to be fixed, speak with your local representation. You can advocate for your local shelter by speaking with elected officials to either make newly needed animal regulations, or help fix outdated ones. Government officials have a lot to keep up with, and always love to have the input of their constituents when it comes to making positive changes.
4. START AT HOME
Many pets end up in a shelter because they have somehow become stray. Ensure this doesn’t happen to your own pets by ensuring they wear proper I.D. tags. I.D. tags should have up-to-date contact information for you, and the pet’s name. Micro-chipping has also helped to return many pets to their homes. A microchip can usually be scanned at animal shelters, or veterinarian offices, who can then locate the pet’s family.
Spay and neuter your pets, and encourage others to do the same. Many pets are euthanized because shelters are over-crowded. Being a responsible pet owner, means ensuring your pet does not contribute to the problem by inadvertently producing puppies or kittens.
5. SHARE YOUR SKILLS
Many people don’t think that their job has any relation to helping pets, but in fact, there are tons of jobs requiring skills that can be helpful to local animal shelters. If you know how to make websites, use social media, or practice photography you can help with their online presence. If you are a carpenter, or otherwise have constructive skills, you can offer to help shelters with maintenance, or repairs. Even lawyers or accountants could help by offering to donate their time to help the shelter with legal matters or finances. Even data entry can be an important job in an animal shelter.
Think about your own employment and skills, and how this could translate to helping shelters. You might even encourage your co-workers or employer to do the same. Contributing to local animal shelters as a business is a wonderful demonstration of community support.
The most important thing to know is that you can make a difference. Even if your efforts don’t seem like much help to you, every one making a contribution, even some small way, will make a huge impact. Reach out, and you may be surprised at all the ways to help your local animal shelter.