Animal shelters across the country are filled to capacity. The ongoing animal control problem is part of the problem. The expense of caring for an animal is another. People simply cannot afford to keep their pets. Shelters require a great deal of help to continue caring for their animals. If you’re an animal lover, you can help in a number of ways.
Help Animals By Donating Money
One of the simplest ways to help your local animal shelter is to donate money. Many shelters have a donation button right on their website. Click the button, choose the amount you want to donate and save your receipt for tax time. Some shelters even allow you to set up recurring payments so you can donate every month.
Another way to donate money is to attend shelter fundraising events. For example, the Humane Society often holds races to help raise awareness and money. Sign up for a race and a portion of your race fee will go toward helping pay for the cost of animal care.
In addition to donating money, you may be able to donate supplies to your local animal shelter. Shelters commonly need:
* Cat food
* Dog food
* Food bowls
* Bedding for cats and dogs
* bedding for rodents
* Leashes, collars, and harnesses
* Unused dog and cat toys
Contact your local animal shelter to see what supplies they need most. If they house livestock they may also need hay, veterinary care, and other livestock supplies.
Donate Your Belongings
Some animal shelters have other means to raise funds. For example, a local Humane Society may have a thrift store. Proceeds from the thrift store go to help pay for the care of the animals. You can donate to the Humane Society by donating your gently used items to the thrift store. It’s a great way to get rid of clutter and help a charity at the same time.
Donate Your Time
Finally, almost every single animal shelter and dog rescue in the country could use a few more volunteers. They need people to walk dogs, play with cats, and care for the animals by cleaning out their crates.
They also need people to help with press and publicity, recruit volunteers, train volunteers and much more. You can apply your specialized skills and help a local shelter. Whether you help care for the animals or help manage or promote the shelter, your time and skills are needed.
If you want to help animals and are unsure how you can give back to your community, consider donating your time, energy, or money to your local animal shelter. It can be a wonderful feeling to know you’ve helped make the life of an animal better.
Seasonal Concerns for Your Local Animal Shelter
Animal shelters need help year round. The high cost of keeping a pet coupled with the continued pet overpopulation problem means shelters are regularly packed with adoptable animals. However, the winter season brings with it a number of additional seasonal concerns. Here’s what to be aware of and how you might be able to help.
#1 Lack of Funds
During the winter and particularly around the holiday season, every charity is asking for donations. At the same time, people are spending a bit more money out of their household budget. They’re buying gifts, spending money on traveling, and paying for traditional holiday celebrations.
In short, demand for funds is high and donations are low. This is one of the most challenging times for animal shelters. The number of animals in shelter generally increases during the winter months, which means the demand for funds increases – yet donations tend to decrease.
#2 Lack of Volunteers
People tend to drop off around the holiday season. Volunteer needs increase. This is particularly true around the holiday season when volunteers need time off to go out of town and celebrate the holidays.
Additionally, as people stop in to find adoptable pets to give as gifts, more staff is required to manage the demand. It’s the perfect time to start volunteering if you’ve ever considered it.
#3 Increase in Pets
The wintertime is also 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 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. Giving animals as gifts isn’t always a good idea.
How Can You Help?
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.
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.
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.