Animal shelters exist to help abandoned and unwanted pets find new, loving homes. Unfortunately, many animal shelters are understaffed, underfunded, and overcrowded. Each year, shelters are forced to turn away countless pets in need because they simply do not have the resources or the space to help every animal in need.
If you have ever adopted a shelter pet, you know the satisfaction of saving a life – you may also know that adopting a shelter pet gives you a forever friend. If you want to do your part and support your local pet shelter, there are a number of ways you can help.
Top 10 Ways to Help Pet Shelters
There are many ways to help your local pet shelter – not only can you donate money, but you can also donate supplies and your time as a volunteer. Below you will find a list of ten ways you can give back and support your local animal shelter:
Think before you adopt. If you are planning to adopt a pet from a shelter, make sure you do a little research first to ensure that you are ready for the commitment. The last thing you want to do is adopt a pet just to take it back to the shelter a week or two later.
Donate your time as a volunteer. Animal shelters have limited funding so they rely heavily on their volunteers to walk dogs, clean cages, and play with cats. Even if you can only spare a few hours a week, it will make a world of difference to your local shelter.
Support your local shelter staff. Working at an animal shelter can be difficult and it often does not pay well, so take a few minutes to say thanks to your local animal shelter staff by writing a note, bringing in a few dozen donuts, or by just saying thanks.
Donate toys and food. The average cost to feed one dog in an animal shelter is about $40 per month. With dozens of dogs being taken to the shelter each week, plus the cost of veterinary care, shelters need all the help they can get. If you want to help, donate a few bags or cans of pet food plus some other useful items like collars, leashes, toys, and beds.
Do your part to control the unwanted pet population. If you have pets of your own, make sure you get them spayed/neutered so that they do not produce more unwanted animals.
Donate money when you can. If you have a little bit extra one month, write a check to your local shelter or support them by attending a fundraising event.
Help spread the word. Become a fan of your local shelter on social media and share the news about fundraising events, adoption drives, and more to help increase awareness of the shelter.
Get creative by donating your skills. If you do not have money to spare for a donation, think about some other ways you can donate to the shelter. Do you have photography skills? Consider helping the shelter take photos of pets for their adoption profiles. Are you handy with a hammer? Ask the shelter if there are any minor repairs you can help with.
Become a foster pet parent. When shelters have too many animals and not enough space, they often rely on foster homes to take in pets that otherwise would not have a place to go.
Sponsor a donation drive. Ask around to see if your friends and family have gently-used pet items to donate. You can even make donations to your local shelter part of your wedding registry!
Local animal shelters play a large role in the community by providing unwanted pets with a temporary home until they can be adopted by a new family. Many people do not realize just how much time and how many resources shelters expend for the care of animals. If you want to give back and support your local shelter, try one of the ten methods listed above.