4 ways to virtually adopt a pet

The holidays are a time of year for family and friends to come together and celebrate their health and prosperity. One way we mark this joyous time of year is by giving back to our fellow Texans, both two-legged and four-legged alike. If you’re in a situation where you’d like to expand upon your network in Texas and give to animals in need across the world, there are ways to do just that. Known as virtual adoptions (or sponsorships), you’ll be able to provide support to special-needs companion pets or exotic animals who could use your support to help them heal and eventually thrive. Here are 4 ways to support animals through virtual adoptions

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Sponsorship
Best Friends has been around for more than 30 years and runs the world’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary for companion pets. The sanctuary features nearly 30 animals at its Sanctuary who are in need of sponsorship and/or adoption. There’s a New Zealand red-eyed bunny named Cupid who loves to give kisses, a gelding named Cowboy who has a back condition that makes him unrideable, and a long-haired cream-colored cat named Furgus, who’s lived at the Sanctuary since 2012, among others. The team at Best Friends says they’ll ensure your gift does the most good by combining your donation with other sponsorship gifts. So it could be that donation to Cupid could help other unadoptable pets in need. Sponsorships can be made in the denomination of your choice.

North Shore Animal League America
North Shore Animal League is another high-profile companion animal shelter. It’s been around for 72 years, and is known for being the country’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. Its Sponsor Pets Program has helped special-needs pets for 19 years, and it specializes in dogs and cats that were abused, injured, or neglected in a prior life, or have a chronic illness and need North Shore’s help. When you sponsor a dog or cat in need, you’ll receive a welcome kit, a photo of the special-needs pet, regular progress reports on their health and well-being, and a subscription to their e-newsletter. Monthly sponsorship is encouraged, but one-time donations are also welcome. They currently have 23 dogs and 9 cats who need assistance. Alternatively, you can sponsor their nursery, which features more than 12 litters and/or pregnant moms who could use some help.

Sierra Club
Sierra Club was founded in 1892 and is one of the oldest environmental organizations out there. They started as a grassroots effort and currently boast more than 2.4 million supporters who work together to protect their communities and the planet. An extension of their environment focus is their commitment to the world’s wildlife. There are 17 species available for virtual adoption, including what you’d expect—gray wolves and bald eagles—and what you wouldn’t expect—alligators and tarantulas. Adoption packages start at $39 and include a color booklet about your animal, plush toy, and Sierra Club backpack, depending on your sponsorship level. To maximize your donation you can decline the gifts.

World Wildlife Fund Species Adoptions
If you love exotic animals and have always dreamed of owning one—if it were ethically sound—then consider donating to the World Wildlife Fund. Starting at just $55 you can virtually adopt one of 134 different animal species, including a seahorse, leopard, or African elephant. If you’re gifting this virtual pet to someone special, you may opt for an adoption kit, which includes a plush animal, information card, adoption certificate, photo, and gift bag in return. Just keep in mind WWF says you can maximize your donation by opting out of the adoption kit.