A Gift From the Heart: Helping Animal Shelters for the Holidays
Generosity, sharing, and appreciation for all that we have are hallmark themes of the holiday season. As we gather with our loved ones to give thanks for all that we have, it is only natural to want to extend our resources to those less fortunate, as well.
For some, that may mean filling up donation bins for area food banks or donating winter wear to those in need, but for animal lovers, your thoughts may be on lending a hand to shelter pets this winter, instead. Like so many other charities, animal shelters and rescue organizations are always in need of assistance. From monetary gifts to gifts of time, these nonprofits depend on us to keep their doors open and to continue helping our less-fortunate animal friends.
If helping animal shelters is on your holiday to-do list, you’re in luck! We have some great ideas for how you can make a difference in the life of a special four-legged friend.
Gifts of Time
What could be better than cuddling with kittens or taking a leisurely (or playful) walk to the park with a shelter dog? There are many opportunities to interact with and socialize shelter pets. Contact your local shelter to find out how to get started and dont just show up! Most shelters have volunteer trainings required before interacting with animals. Here are some awesome volunteer options (for you and possibly your whole family!):
- Socializing kittens by brushing, petting, and interacting with them
- Assisting with cage and kennel cleaning
- Greeting guests and answering questions about adoption
- Walking the dogs
- Socialization and training
- Answering phones and other clerical support
- Taking photos for website profiles
- Updating web content
- Tabling at local events and other adoption activities
- Serving on a committee, such as a special event or fundraising committee
- Fostering (hosting a pet temporarily allowing that animal the joy of being at home, being able to offer feedback for potential adopters about your foster pet AND allowing the shelter to open up that space to save another life! Fostering SAVES LIVES!)
Goods and Cash
Short on time? You can still make an impact by donating cash or items like cat litter, dog beds, bowls, and other much needed supplies. Other items to donate include:
- Canned or dry cat/dog food
- Water and food bowls
- Litter and litter boxes
- Dog and cat beds
- Extra blankets and towels
- Dog and cat toys
- Leashes and collars
- Toilet Paper & Paper Towel Rolls (Full & Empty)
The best way to figure out what a shelter needs is to contact them and ask. Typically, they have a list of the most needed items, as well as items that can be a family or group assignment, like sewing dog or cat beds.
underestimate the impact of writing a check to your favorite animal charity, either. These funds power operations on all levels, from keeping the lights on to building expansions and veterinary care. Donations are always needed and appreciated.
Most rescues need volunteers to table at events, including adoption events at pet stores. Care deeply about stray cats? There are many ways to help, such as trap and release programs and spay and neuter clinics. Raising awareness among friends and family about the importance of adopting also goes a long way to reducing the number of pets who end up homeless. Use your Social Media pages to raise awareness!
Helping Animal Shelters During the Holidays (and Year Round)
The holidays are certainly a great time for giving, but helping animal shelters is a year-round endeavor. We hope your 2018 resolutions involve helping animals in need – indeed, there are so many who could use our help!