When a disaster strikes, the community often comes together to support those in need. Big or small, you can make a difference in the lives of animals who have been affected by hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, or any other disaster. All you need to do is give a little.
The way people communicate during a disaster has changed drastically during the age of social media. Many people affected take to Facebook and Twitter to ask for help and offer resources. In the case where a pet is lost, a Facebook post may be the key to reunite them with their owner.
Be conscious of your community and don’t be afraid to share resources or make connections where it counts. This could mean sharing the post of a lost pet, or connecting a pet owner to a resource group looking to reunite pets with their owners.
Donate funds or supplies
Find a reputable organization to donate funds when they need it most. Even a few dollars make a difference when enough people donate. You can donate to large rescue organizations like the Humane Society of the United States or check online for smaller rescue organization that may need help. Websites like CharityNavigator.org can help you locate a reputable charity.
If you’re short on funds or want to make a bigger impact, fundraise for a specific organization. Host a yard sale or start a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to charity. You can also ask friends and family to donate on your behalf in honor of your birthday or other celebration.
To take it a step further, contact a local shelter to see what they need most. Many list what they’re looking for on their social channels. It can be monetary donations, supplies, or volunteers.
Volunteer your time and skills
No matter what your skill set is, volunteering can be a huge asset for those affected by a natural disaster.
Those with training in veterinary medicine can volunteer to rescue, immunize, triage, and treat animals impacted by a disaster. People with technical skill computers, writing or photography, can help adopt out pets or reunite lost pets with their owners. If you simply love animals, donating some time to feed, socialize, transport, or clean up after pets may be exactly what a rescue organization needs. All you really need to volunteer is time.
Foster a dog or cat
During a large disaster, many pets can be displaced and shelter and rescue organizations often look to foster homes to help manage the influx of animals under their roof.
Even if you don’t live close to the area impacted by the disaster, you can still foster a displaced animal. Before Hurricane Harvey, many adoptable pets were transported out of Texas to shelters in states like Washington and California that had space to take them in. This leaves room for displaced pets to find shelter while they wait to be reunited with their owners. It also increases the possibility for shelter pets to find a forever home.
Each rescue organization is different. But in general, all you need to foster a pet is time and some extra space in your home. You’re expected to provide love and a safe space for your foster pet. Many rescue organizations will provide supplies and match you with a dog or cat who fits your lifestyle. These are often young, old, or recovering cats and dogs who don’t do well in a shelter environment.
Adopt a new family member
Finally, you can make a big difference in the life of a pet by adopting a dog or cat. By adopting a pet from an impacted area, you can save two lives—the pet you’ve added to your home and the pet that takes their space in a shelter.