10 Ways to Help Shelter Animals Without Adopting
A great number of us here in the LCD community have a passion for helping shelter animals. The only problem occurs when our pocket books can no longer support adding another furry member to our family. Fortunately enough, there are plenty of ways to help our shelter friends which do not include bringing another dog permanently into our homes or stretching our wallets past the ripping point. Here are 10 of the best ways to help shelter animals without adopting.
- Volunteering - Area shelters are hurting for humans. There are plenty of duties that anyone can cover when volunteering at a shelter, such as answering the phones, cleaning the cages, feeding the dogs and even being with families when they meet a dog for the first time. The best way to get involved is to get in touch with your local shelter and see where they need your help.
- Walking the Dogs - Dogs need exercise, and lots of it. Of course, properly exercising the dogs takes time and people, which shelters often do not have. Offer to take the dogs for walks once a week. This will free up time for the shelter staff and is a calming and enjoyable way to help out. You might even trim a few inches off your waistline!
- Transport - Right on the tail of volunteering, pun totally intended, is animal transport. Some shelters do not have the ability to staff a veterinarian, so any shots, health visits or surgeries that need to be preformed means the dog must be transported to the vet. Swinging by after work and taking a shelter dog to the veterinarian is a great way to volunteer and to help free up some time for the shelter workers. Transport volunteers are also used when a dog is moved from one shelter facility to another.
- Donating Gently Used Items and Food - Along with people, shelters are in desperate need for supplies. Donate gently used items such as dog beds or crates or even bowls and leashes and collars. Or pick up an extra bag of dog food next time you're out and donate it to your favorite shelter. Many shelters run food banks, which help the under-priviledged keep their dogs during tough times. The food bank system keeps thousands of pets out of the shelter who would have otherwise been owner-surrenders.
- Twitter A Critter - Social Media and online technologies make it easier than ever to help a shelter pet. One very useful application is Twitter A Critter. This web application was developed by Adopt-A-Pet to be used on the Twitter platform. In three easy steps, you can spread the word about pets that need to be adopted, greatly increasing their exposure to your friends, family and networking peeps.
- Sharing on Facebook - While you are logged into the Twitter A Critter account, why not copy that link and share it with all of your other friends and family on Facebook? The point is to get the most number of eyes on that cute, adorable face as possible. The more people to see the link, the better the chances of adoption, and you're helping out both the pup and the shelter at the same time.
- Foster a Dog - While it may not be practical to open your house up forever to a new dog, a temporary stay might just be what the doctor ordered. Fostering a dog frees up some room in the shelter for new arrivals, gives the dog a chance to become more socialized. At times the shelter helps offset the cost of food and vet visits. All you need to provide is a warm place to sleep and a whole lot of love.
- Fundraising - Here in Charleston, there are numerous businesses (such as apartments, restaurants and county parks) who help raise money for shelters through fundraising events or drives. Whether it is a pizza party or a fun day at the pool with a $5 donation and plenty of raffles, all of the proceeds go back to the shelter. Keep an eye out for these fundraisers and attend! Why stop there, try organizing a micro-fundraiser in your community. It helps raise awareness of shelter animals and also helps off-set the cost for the shelter or rescue.
- Support Those Supporting Shelters - There is a growing population of high profile figures who are stepping up to the plate to support shelters and what they do. A list was recently compiled by the Humane Society of artists who support shelters. By purchasing the music you were going to buy anyway, you may just be helping out in more ways than you think. Seek out local artists and businesses plugged into animal welfare and support them in order to help out your local shelters.
- Say Thank You - Shelter workers are typically over-worked and under-paid. While the pay doesn't mean anything to them compared to how it feels helping animals in need, just saying, "Thank you. We appreciate all that you do" can mean a lot to shelter and rescue staff. If you want to take it a step further, contact your local shelter and see if you can order in pizza for the staff, or send in a couple of gift certificates to a local restaurant (preferably one that supports shelters).
There are many other ways to help out your local shelters, but by picking one or two of these simple ideas, you can become a local hero to a wide number of dogs who are looking for their fur-ever homes. Click HERE for a list of all area rescues and shelters desperate for YOUR help.
What creative ways have you come up with to help out a shelter? Let us know in the comments section below.