When people think of helping homeless animals, most of us think the only ways to help animals in need are to adopt or donate money to shelters. There are actually several ways to help out animal shelters on a budget and without committing a lot of time. Helping out in any way you can makes a difference for the shelter and will make you feel great about helping pets in need. Here’s 7 ways you can help support your local animal shelter:
1. Donate pet items—Most pet owners have several pet supplies that we no longer use because we’ve replaced them or don’t have a need for them anymore. Shelters typically need gently used towels, food and water bowls, household cleaning items, leashes and collars, grooming supplies, pet food and kitty litter, animal beds, and pet toys. Check with your local shelter to see if they have a wish list and make sure the items are clean before donating!
2. Provide a temporary home—Fostering an animal opens up a space in a shelter for another homeless animal in need. Talk with your local animal shelter about bringing a pet into your home for a period of time ranging from a few days to a couple months. Each shelter is different, but it is common for shelters to cover the cost of food and other supplies if you take in a foster animal. Learn more about fostering a pet and find out if it’s right for you.
3. Engage on social media—Follow animal shelters and organizations on social media and tweet/retweet, share, comment, and “like” shelter organizations as well as content that they post to help spread the word about adoptable animals or other news and facts that they have to share. Wouldn’t it feel great to help a cat or dog find a forever home?
4. Get active or help socialize—Some organizations have programs where people volunteer time and take shelter dogs for a walk or hike. This is a great way to stay active while helping animals get the exercise they need to be happy and healthy. Another popular way to volunteer time is to help socialize cats and dogs which will give them the love and attention they need to be happy.
5. Put your talents to good use—Do you have a skill or talent that could help out an animal shelter? People that are skilled at photography and filming video can donate their time to take photos or videos of adoptable pets to help them find a forever home. Graphic designers can help design posters and marketing pieces to help the shelter save money and time. To operate smoothly, animal shelters rely on volunteer accountants to help them organize their records and manage their books. Are you someone that’s good at fixing things? Many shelters need help painting or building projects and fixing small repairs here and there. Visit VolunteerMatch to help find what animal shelters need in your area.
6. Become a doggy-driver—Don’t have the time to foster a dog or cat? If you have a car, talk to your local shelter about helping transport a dog from the shelter to a foster home or to their new forever home. Thousands of animals are moved from shelter to shelter or to a new home each day. Big cities and islands have the most trouble finding ways to transport cats and dogs from one place to another. If you’re planning to travel to an island or area with lots of tourists, chances are they need volunteers to help fly the animal back to the mainland or wherever it needs to go. If you’re already planning a trip to Hawaii, look into having a furry friend join you on the trip without having to spend any extra money. Read more about this program.
7. Support companies that give back—Another way to donate is by purchasing or using products or services from organizations that give back to animal shelters or animals in need. Barkbox, AmazonSmile, Trupanion, and PrideBites are just a few companies that are dedicated to donating to animal shelters. For every mile you walk your dog, the WoofTrax app donates to your local animal shelter. The app is free and simply tracks the distance you walk to determine the donation.
There are so many creative ways to help a local animal shelter. Make sure to contact your local animal shelter to find out if they have a wishlist and how you can help. Just remember, every little bit helps whether you decide to donate time, money, pet items, or your skills. Can you think of any other ways to help animal shelters?