Many people are under the common misconception that the only way to help animal shelters and rescues is by donating money to support their efforts, but that’s not true. There are plenty of great ways to show your support in earnest that don’t include writing a check. With that in mind, we wanted to share with readers some of the many ways their good intentions can be realized beyond a once-a-year cash influx.
Volunteer at Your Local Rescue
One way you can help is by donating your time, not necessarily your money. In many ways, this is more needed and even more appreciated than monetary donations. This is a terrific option for people who are cash-strapped. Call your local shelters and rescues and ask how you can make a difference and lighten their load. They may need dog walkers, volunteers to help with kennel upkeep, assistance at adoption events and food or pet supply drives, and many other activities. You’d be shocked at the amount of help they need and how understaffed they are.
Did you know that nearly all animal shelters and rescues have a registered wish list for the supplies they need? They’re usually listed on their websites or Facebook pages if they don’t have a dedicated site — which a lot of them don’t. They’re usually smaller volunteer-based groups that opt for social media to run their animal welfare activities. Businesses like Chewy, PetSmart, and many others, including Amazon Smile, allow rescues to register online and create lists of supplies you can help them with.
Community Rewards Programs
Another helpful idea is to enroll in a community rewards program with a retailer you frequent. Fry’s Food Stores, for instance, allow you to donate based on your percentage of spending as a form of fundraising. You simply enroll and pick the organization you want to support. This is popular with shelters and rescues of all sizes. You might be surprised at how many groups you can choose from to aid in this way and the number of businesses that offer the programs. Walking with the free WoofTrax app helps you earn for your favorite animal charity as well.
Donating Material Goods & Food
Shelters and rescues are always grateful for donations of blankets, towels, pet food, bowls, and other common items needed for the care and upkeep of animals. This year, rather than donating your old linens to a people-based charity, consider dropping them off at an animal welfare facility instead. Just remember that they can’t use blankets, quilts, or oversized pillows for beds that contain cotton batting, as the doggos in their care will shred them and create quite a mess.
Time and Talent
Are you an animal advocate who happens to be skilled at photography or do you maybe have prior dog training experience? Perhaps you grew up on a farm and you’re a regular horse whisperer. If you enjoy spending time around animals and have some sort of skill set that could be useful, reach out to animal groups and ask if they could use your experience to their benefit. Tons of rescues need someone to take decent photos of the animals they’re trying to find homes for. Sanctuaries can always use an extra set of hands with the creatures in their care. It could be assisting in human-animal therapy work, help caring for or monitoring sick or injured animals, or even feeding them and mucking out stalls.
Wildlife centers and habitat sanctuaries also need the public’s help, so don’t think you’re limited to just house pets if your desire to help is strong. A quick internet search will yield all sorts of possibilities in your area, and any of the talents or methods for assisting mentioned above apply here, too. Don’t sell yourself short. There’s a lot you can do to positively impact the health and welfare of animals of all shapes and sizes.