Ways to Contribute to Animal Shelters
Thanks to the tireless work performed by paid employees and volunteers around the country, tens of thousands of animals have been rescued and adopted into forever homes. If you love animals and want to make a difference, we recommend contributing to a local shelter. In truth, there are many ways to contribute to animal shelters.
Obviously, it takes a very special person to spend physical time around animals that are begging to get out of the kennel. If this type of work is too difficult for you, remember there are many other ways that you can contribute. After all, it takes the combined efforts of many people to connect an animal with the right owner so anything you can do will be greatly appreciated by the shelter and the animals.
Special Ways to Help
Keep in mind that most shelters are overloaded with animals and have limited resources to help. Because of this, shelter owners are typically more than happy to accept the work of volunteers. No matter how small or large the task, everything counts! Following are some examples of ways that you can contribute to one or more shelters in the area where you live.
- Visit, play, and walk dogs and cats
- Clean kennels
- Take and post photos with information on animals available for adoption
- Network with friends, family members, and rescue/fostering organizations
- Donate food, blankets, and toys (most shelters have wish lists where you can find their needs)
- Donate money
- Answer phones
- Show potential adoptees different animals up for adoption
- Raise money and awareness through a car wash, bake sale, or other community function
- Foster an animal in risk of being euthanized or one being treated by a vet
- Bathe animals
- Groom matted dogs and cats that come into the shelter
- Promote the shelter by providing a link on Facebook or Twitter
- Offer handyman services for needed repairs
Other Important Information
In addition to the list of ways to contribute to animal shelters, there are a number of things that need to be considered. For example, before you offer to volunteer at just any shelter, we recommend conducting research on the way the organization is operated, as well as the owner itself. Most shelters are reputable but unfortunately, there are some that follow illegal and immoral practices.
It is also important to prepare mentally for the things you will likely see. There are some people that can do virtually any job but being around animals that want a home and those on the list to be euthanized is very difficult for most. By becoming aware of both challenges and rewards, any task will be easier. Remember, there are actually three different types of shelter to include:
- Municipal Animal Shelters, which euthanize animals
- Humane Societies, which are privately owned, no-kill facilities, and volunteer-based
- SPCAs and Rescue Organizations, which are no-kill facilities and volunteer-based
All shelters desperately need and want help but because municipal animal shelters are kill facilities, some animals cannot be saved. Knowing this will allow you to mentally prepare for difficult situations but again, this type of shelter may prove too difficult for some individuals. If so, you should never be discouraged because there are many other tasks to be performed. The bottom line is that no matter the type of contribution, you will make a difference in the lives of animals who simply want to be loved and accepted.
If you need help in choosing the right animal shelter for the type of work you want to do, a reputable veterinarian or rescue organization can offer suggestions. In addition, we recommend visiting a number of shelters to find one you feel most comfortable with. For this, you can go as if looking to adopt, which will help determine how employees interact, cleanliness of the facility, the condition of the animals, and more.
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