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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

7 Ways You Can Help Shelter Animals Without Adopting

Photo by Paulann Egelhoff (Flickr)

My girls would love to own a dog. Unfortunately, we're not able to adopt a pet right now. However, my kids can still get their fill of pet care as we help some of the 6.5 million homeless companion animals that enter animal shelters annually. As a family, we've discovered seven ways we can be animal champions in animal shelters and get our pet fix each week. Consider joining us!


At our local animal shelter, my girls and I volunteer to cuddle cats, clean kennels, and stuff envelopes for fundraiser mailings. We work alongside other volunteers who walk, bathe, and groom pets. Together, we provide a better life for pets in the shelter and prepare our favorite furry friends to find their forever homes.

Collect Supplies

Our local animal shelter often needs blankets, towels, and toys, and their website features a suggested donation list that usually includes cleaning supplies, laundry soap, and printer paper. In addition to adding at least one of these items to our regular shopping list, we often browse the animal shelter's Amazon wish list when we shop online. Every donation, whether it's large or small, makes a difference to animals in need.

Offer Specialized Skills

My older daughter likes to photograph pets at the shelter. Some of her photos, posted on the shelter's website, have prompted successful adoptions! We also have friends who use skills like graphic design, bookkeeping, and obedience training to help shelter animals.

Provide Transportation

I follow various rescue shelters on social media and often see requests for transportation help. The organization's members travel up to several hours away to rescue animals in need. Transportation volunteers also deliver foster or adopted pets to their new homes, take shelter animals to the veterinarian, or pick up donations each month from local businesses that participate in corporate fundraisers. With a vehicle and time, we can contribute to one of our favorite causes.

Consider Fostering

Animal foster families nurture, train, and love homeless animals until these pets are adopted into a forever home. If your local shelter allows fostering, consider this opportunity. It gives kids exposure to pet ownership but is temporary, perfect for families like ours that can't commit to adopting a pet right now.

Donate Money

Many animal shelters rely on financial donations. These contributions pay for veterinary care, spaying and neutering, medication, and daily operating expenses. For their birthdays this year, my girls set up a donation page for our local animal shelter. My kids appreciate the opportunity to give back to animals, and I'm grateful for the lessons they learn about selflessness, empathy, and compassion.

Spread the Word

Raising awareness about the pets that live in local animal shelters can promote adoptions. We follow our local shelter on social media and do animal networking with our social media contacts. We also tell as many people as possible about our volunteer work and encourage others to get involved, make donations, and help animals in every possible way.

We may not be ready to adopt a pet right now, but we can help shelter animals in other ways. Whether you're an animal novice or expert, you and your kids could join us. In what other ways could we support shelter animals without adopting?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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