According the ASPCA Pet Statistics, over 7.6 million companion animals are entering shelters every year. That big of a number creates a lot of need and responsibility for animal shelters who try and provide care, food and forever homes for these animals. Whether you have very little time or quite a bit of it, here are some ways you can get involved and help animal shelters.
1. Donate used towels, sheets or blankets
Many shelters find the need for towels and other linens every day. Go through your house and find any unused, old or unneeded items for donations.
2. Photograph animals
Beginner, professional or just hobbyist photographers can assist with this one! These animals are trying to find homes, help them out a bit with a good photo to put on the shelters website or social media.
3. Share you skills
Every one has a special skill, why not use yours to help your local shelter! Whether its web/graphic design, bookkeeping, grooming, social media or writing, your skill could be of great use to a shelter who doesn't have the time, funds or skill set for it.
Dogs and cats can't drive themselves! Some pets need transportation to their foster homes, new forever home or other rescue groups or shelters. This is a great way to get out and take a drive, plus you will have a great companion for the trip too!
5. Save Newspapers
Start collecting newspapers! Most shelters always have a need for newspapers.
Are you handy with a hammer? Head to your local shelter and see if there are any projects you can help out on! From repairing fences, fixing leaks, painting and everything in between you can be of great assistance to your shelter.
7. Sewing and DIY
Have a knack for sewing? Put your skill to use and make some dog beds, cat mats or even sweaters for shelter animals. Shelters can be really cold because of the concrete floor and steel cages especially during the winter time. This gives you a great opportunity to create something for an animal in need.
For all you avid shoppers out there, this one is for you! Call your local shelter and get a wishlist from them then spend some time shopping for a few items on that list.
9. Host a Fundraiser
Hosting a garage sell or dog wash is a great way to raise money for your local animal shelter. Another fun way is to host a donation party! Invite your friends over for a party and request they bring a donation.
10. Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool that we all have access to. Follow your local shelter and rescue groups and start sharing their news. Share their available adoptions, events and stories. You never know when someone on your friend list is looking for a furry companion and you could be the one to led them straight to them.
Fostering is a fantastic way to help an animal shelter. By temporarily caring for and providing a home for an animal, you are creating space in the shelter from another homeless pet. Do you already have a house full of furry friends? No problem! Tell your foster program and they can give you a pet that gets along well with other pets.
Volunteering is a fun and rewarding opportunity. Make time in your schedule; whether its daily, weekly, or monthly, shelters could always use some extra hands.
13. Donate money
This is great for people who don't have the time to do any of the above. Animal shelters are always in need of funds to provide and care for their animals and every little bit helps.
14. Help keep animals out of the shelter
Microchip your pets and help lost pets get reunited with their families. Micro-chipping your pets is one of the most responsible things you can do as a pet owner. Not only does micro-chipping help people find you when your pet is lost but it also helps you find other lost pets owners. If you find a lost pet try your best to find its owners rather than just dropping it off at the shelter. Make posters, create Craigslist ads, and alert local veterinarians and shelters (giving them a poster is a great idea).
Oh and mostly importantly... ADOPT!
Please keep in mind that every shelter may have different needs. Contact your local shelter and see if your project will benefit them or if they have any specific needs you can help out in.