If you can’t adopt….foster.
If you can’t foster…sponsor.
If you can’t sponsor…volunteer.
If you can’t volunteer…donate or transport an animal to safety.
If you can’t donate or transport…educate, network, and cross-post.
Everyone can do something, large or small, to help save a life.
~Pit Crew, IL
I often hear people say they can’t help because “It’s too upsetting,” “I don’t have the money,” “I don’t have the time,” …etc, etc, etc…. well – you CAN help – in many different ways, regardless of your time, level of involvement, or financial situation. The purpose of this post is to show you that there are many different ways, and numerous levels of participation you can involve yourself in to help save an animal’s life – both with little time, or little/no money!
There are also many people out there who really want to help, but not sure what they can do to assist. There are plenty of different ways to help either at a local shelter – or a rescue organization. Remember…Just a few hours can make such a difference for an animal in need!
Contact a local shelter or rescue organization today, and ask how YOU can contribute…there are MANY ways to assist! Here are just some ways how you volunteer to help change the life of a homeless animal:
- Walking and exercising the dogs: Get some exercise yourself while giving a shelter dog a break from the kennel! Walking and playing with shelter dogs can be very rewarding, and provide much-needed exercise and stress-relief for shelter animals.
- Cleaning kennels: Help keep kennel, walking areas, and play spaces tidy, and help wash kennel bedding to help shelter animals’ stay a more enjoyable one.
- Donating food, toys, newspapers, old towels and sheets: Have you ever heard the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Many items you may normally throw out could be used by shelter pets to provide stimulation, reduce stress, or provide bedding. There are MANY toys, household items, pet care supplies, medical supplies, and even office supplies that shelters could use. Contact the specific shelter to find out what items they could use most.
- Donating money to the shelter: Most shelters even have an online donation option.
- Planned Giving: Remember a favorite local shelter in your will. Making a lifetime gift by bequest is easy. Simply direct your attorney to include the shelter in your will when it is drafted. You can designate a specific dollar amount, or percentage of your estate. You can also bequeath specific assets to the shelter or organization.
- Sponsoring a shelter animal: You can sponsor a specific shelter animal by donating monthly to that animal until they find their forever home. You can decide on the level of support to which you would like to commit, select a shelter pet to designate that support to, and receive updates on that supported shelter animal.
- Memorial and tribute gifts: Honor a loved one – human or pet – by making a memorial or tribute donation. Most shelters and organizations will send a card to whomever you wish to honor with your donation.
- Get involved at shelter events: Volunteer to help set up, break down, or run a table (sell merchandise, educate people who stop at the table by telling them about the organization, accept donations, etc) for the rescue at events.
- Foster a pet to free up space at the shelter: Fostering a shelter pet frees up space in the shelter for other incoming animals. It is also a very rewarding experience, and a personal way to get involved in saving an animal’s life. Fostering increases the number of animals a shelter can save, and plays a huge part in the shelter’s ability to find homes for homeless animals. Most shelters will provide veterinary care, supplies, advice, and more while the animal is in your care. Contact a local shelter for specific details.
- Become a foster: Fostering is a critical part of an organization’s success. Fostering provides a loving a stable environment for an animal until they can be adopted into their forever home.
- Transport animals to their foster or adoptive homes: Drive a “leg” or two of a transport! Most legs are only an hour or so long, and just an hour’s drive can help get a homeless animal closer to their foster or adoptive family.
- Be a coordinator: Help coordinate or monitor transports, or help by working with shelters and other groups who need assistance with animals in need. Coordinators receive information about dogs in need, and work with the shelter and rescue to place dogs in foster homes.
- Perform home visits/inspections for potential adopters: Visit homes of nearby potential adopters and evaluate the home, property, and family for rescues in order for decisions to be made for adoption approvals.
- Make phone calls: Call potential adopters to review applications, and applicants’ veterinarians for background checks in order for decisions to be made for adoption approvals.
- Evaluate a animal in a shelter: Visit a specific animal in a shelter to analyze it’s temperament, overall health, etc.
- Get involved in a fundraising event for the organization: Volunteer to help set up, break down, or run a table (sell merchandise, educate people who stop at the table by telling them about the organization, accept donations) for the rescue at events. There are even more opportunities for fundraising, or participating in the event itself. Some events you can even bring your dog – have them participate as a donation dog!
- Donate: Rescue organizations depend greatly on donations from supporters. Most rescues are all-volunteer non-profit organizations. Monies donated go directly to the care (spay, neuter/vaccines/heartworm testing, treatment, and preventative/and other general vetting of the animals in the program)… there are no offices, shelter, or paid staff to support.
- Donate supplies: Food, treats, collars, leads, toys, bedding, crates…and much more!
- Shop Online and at Sites that Support the Organization: Many rescues now have sites that will donate a portion of sales to the rescue. It does not cost you any additional money, and really adds up for the rescue organization.
- Buy rescue merchandise: Show off your love of animals and your passion of saving animals lives by buying merchandise from a rescue. Rescues often sell hats, shirts, magnets, and more. Proceeds will help fund your favorite rescue or organization.
- Educate: Get the word out of animal-related events happening in your area. Rescues always need volunteers to help spread the word about the work they do. Often rescues have brochures and other materials available to help publicize their organization and the work they do.
I’m sure there are even more ways to assist a local shelter or a rescue organization – contact one today to see how YOU can help save the lives of animals!
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever”