7 Ways You Can Support Your Local Animal Shelter Without Spending a Dime
The first week of November is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. If you want to celebrate but are unable to donate money to your local shelter, here are seven ways to show your appreciation (and you’ll likely be appreciated back).
1. Volunteer your time.
“Whether you walk dogs at your shelter, stuff envelopes for an educational mailing or assist with a fundraising event, you can make a difference in the lives of animals,” says the Humane Society of the United States.
To find out about volunteer opportunities, contact your local animal shelter or do a search on volunteermatch.org.
2. Foster a pet.
Pets have a much better chance of finding forever homes when they can be taken from scary shelters and placed in loving foster homes, where they learn basic obedience skills and good manners.
When you foster a cat, dog or other pet, you will provide love, care and attention for a certain period of time or until the pet is adopted. You also open up a space in the shelter for another homeless pet, possibly saving a life. Sometimes the cost of food and veterinary care is covered by the shelter or a local rescue, or it may be tax deductible.
Fostering “is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have (other than adopting, of course),” according to Petfinder.com.
3. Donate old towels, blankets, pet items and more.
Along with towels, blankets, sheets and old newspapers, you can donate your pet’s gently used bed, bowls, toys and other items. Be sure to call the shelter first or check its website for a wish list to find out exactly what is needed.
4. Share photos of the shelter’s pets on social media.
Use your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts to post photos and information about pets available for adoption from the shelter. Ask your friends and followers to share the photos so they’re seen by as many potential adopters as possible.
5. Make pet toys from scratch.
Even if you’re not especially crafty, you can create toys for shelter dogs and cats from old sweatshirts and other materials you probably already have around your house. (Check out these ideas on Pinterest.)
6. Host a fundraiser.
On behalf of your pet’s birthday or another special occasion, throw a party and ask your guests to bring cash donations – and/or pet food — for your local shelter. For your own birthday, you can launch an online crowdfunding campaign on a site like GoFundMe.com and ask for shelter donations instead of gifts.
7. Spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
Every year, millions of homeless cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. This could easily be prevented if people would spay or neuter their pets to prevent unwanted litters. Tell your friends, co-workers, neighbors and everyone you know to spay and neuter their pets.
“Cats are 45 times as prolific, and dogs 15 times as prolific, as humans,” notes SpayUSA, North Shore Animal League America’s nationwide network and referral service for affordable spay/neuter.
“They do not need our help to expand their numbers; they need our help to reduce their numbers until there are good homes for them all.”
Photo Credit: Austin Community College