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Animal shelters are in need of assistance year-round to keep their animals safe and sheltered. The high cost of keeping pets safe combined with the pet overpopulation problem means that shelters are often filled to capacity with adoptable animals. There are many ways that you can help your local animal shelter.
Whether you’re a dog lover, a cat lover, or just want to do something good for the community, read on for ways you can help and give back to your local animal rescue or shelter.
Why Is Winter More Difficult For Animal Rescues & Shelters?
In the winter, there are a number of additional concerns that can arise for animal shelters and they can always use some help.
The wintertime is a difficult time for animal shelters which can become overfilled with adoptable animals. More dogs get lost during the winter than any other season, which adds to the increase.
People sadly realize they cannot afford their pets during the holiday season, too. And many animals that were given as gifts during the holidays are soon relinquished to the shelter. This is just one of many reasons why giving animals as gifts generally isn’t a good idea.
How Can You Help Your Local Animal Rescue or Shelter This Winter?
There are many ways you can help your local animal shelter this winter. Consider volunteering either in an administrative capacity or by working with the animals. You can foster a pet in your home, thus leaving more room in the shelter for animals.
You can also donate your money to help pay for the expense of sheltering animals during the cold winter months. So many people are spending money on traveling, and paying for traditional holiday celebrations. Demand for funds is high and donations are low. This makes it one of the most challenging times for animal shelters.
Tip 1: Talk to Your Local Animal Shelter About Volunteering
Many charities are asking for donations during the winter and around the holidays. At the same time, people are spending a bit more money than usual out of their household budget.
If you’re interested in volunteering at an animal shelter, talk to them first. They’ll be able to tell you whether there’s an opening for volunteers, what the specific requirements are, and what your responsibilities would be.
Volunteering at an animal shelter can be a great way to get to know the animals in the shelter, make friends with other volunteers, and it can also help to raise awareness about animal welfare issues. In addition, volunteering at an animal shelter can help to provide essential services to the community.
Tip 2: Get Involved in Animal Welfare Issues
There are a lot of ways that you can get involved with animal welfare issues. You can volunteer on the board of your local animal shelter or make donations to organizations that support animal welfare. You can also write letters to your local newspaper or contact representatives in your state about the importance of animal welfare.
There are many ways that you can help, and by getting involved you’ll not only help out animals in need, but you’ll also learn more about the issues surrounding animal welfare.
Tip 3: Consider Fostering
There are many benefits to fostering animals, both for the animal and the foster parent. Animals can learn new behaviors, socialize, and be around other animals while they are awaiting their new homes.
Fostering also gives you the opportunity to make a difference in an animal’s life by giving them a safe place to stay while they are awaiting their new home. There are many animal shelters that need fosters, so consider contacting your local shelter to find out more about how you can become involved.
One of the biggest reasons I’ve heard from people is that they don’t want to foster is because they’re afraid they will become too attached. And let me tell you, it is HARD to give them up.
When we had our long-term foster dog Buddy, we nursed him through major health issues like heartworms and had him for 9 MONTHS while he got healthy enough to fly from Puerto Rico to the mainland US.
I was totally bonded to that boy. But we were getting ready to move ourselves + our 3 dogs from PR to Alaska, and it was hard enough finding a place to rent to us with 3 dogs, much less 4.
Plus, I knew his forever family was waiting out there. Not gonna lie, I bawled my eyes out on the way home after that 6am drive to the airport. But I was able to stay calm while he was in the car, give him a kiss, and send him to where he needed to be.
That left us open to foster future babies, and led him to finding his forever family who took him apple picking in the Northeastern US!
Tip 4: Help Out During Adoption Events
During adoption events, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the animals in the shelter, and you can also help to care for the animals while they’re looking for their forever family. This is a great chance to get to know the animals and help them find their new home.
Tip 5: Consider Adopting an Animal Yourself
If you’re interested in adopting an animal from the shelter, be sure to ask about the adoption process and what steps need to be taken.
You’ll also want to research the specific requirements for adopting a specific animal, so that you can give the animal a home that’s compatible with their needs.
Tip 6: Donate Supplies & Shop Using Amazon Smile
If you don’t have time or money to donate, consider donating pet care supplies like food, bedding, toys and equipment. Most local animal shelters have an ongoing need for cat and dog supplies. You can even ask your local rescue or shelter if they’re part of Amazon Smile.
AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. They donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. To shop at AmazonSmile, simply go to smile.amazon.com or activate AmazonSmile on your Amazon Shopping app.
Tip 7: Borrow a Dog For A Day To Help Them Socialize
Our local animal shelter has an amazing program called Dog’s Day Out, where you can essentially “borrow” a dog for the day, or even overnight, and take them on adventures! It works wonders for helping stressed shelter dogs by giving them a break from their small surroundings, and helps them learn to socialize while out in public.
Overnight visits also give them a night in a cozy home while they wait for their forever home. I’ve seen some concerns that the dogs might be sad to return back to the shelter, but they advised the opposite is actually true. The dogs tend to be happier and more relaxed after their adventures!
Our shelter provides a backpack filled with their essentials, including a dog harness and a leash indicating they are adoptable. It helps boost their visibility and you can play a part in helping that dog find their family!
As you can see, volunteering at an animal shelter can be a great way to get involved and make a difference in the community. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can help, be sure to speak to your local animal shelter about getting involved.
If you’re able to help out at the shelter this winter, your efforts will go a long way in helping animals find homes and making a difference in their lives.
Finally, consider stepping in to help out during the holidays when adoption rates are usually at an all-time high. It can be extremely rewarding to help people and families bring home a new pet.