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Monday, November 18, 2019

10 Ways to Help Shelter Animals This Holiday Season

Photo by KatinkavomWolfenmond (pixabay)

During the holiday season, there are so many opportunities to give back to those in need. Organizations see an influx of new volunteers eager to share in the spirit of giving and make a difference in their communities. Whether one chooses to donate time or items to a local food pantry, provide much-needed items to a local homeless or women's shelter, or to families in need, there is a nearby charitable cause that would certainly welcome another helping hand to meet the needs of those they serve. When considering which organization to contribute to this holiday season, please consider supporting your local animal shelter. Our furry friends are in great need of donations and volunteer time and here are some ideas for how you can help:

Volunteer your time

Volunteering your time is a very valuable way to help your community animal shelter. If doing so is something you are interested in, it is important to contact your local shelter as early as possible. Spots may be limited so you may need to be creative in how you choose to volunteer. Consider your unique skills and how they might be beneficial to your community.

Replace gifts with donated items

Rather than asking for gifts this season, consider asking friends and family to donate in your name to an animal shelter or animal organization you would like to support. Gifts of food or much-needed items also make wonderful gifts.

Support spay and neuter awareness

Spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering cats and dogs. Addressing over-populations and avoiding increased instances of unwanted cats and dogs can help shelters better manage any overcrowding.

Transport animals in your community

Shelters in rural areas with low foot traffic often need to relocate animals to other shelters where the animals may have a higher likelihood of being adopted. Volunteers are needed to transport shelter animals, sometimes over several different states.

Create and donate toys and comfort items

If you have a passion for crafting, put your skills to good use and make handmade toys, blankets, and beds for shelter animals. Using pet-safe materials are a must and you may consider asking your local shelter what types of items they are in need of the most before getting started.

Offer pet owner's unique services and donate the proceeds

People love their pets and offering pet parents unique, pet-focused services is a great way to raise money for worthwhile causes.

Speak up for animals and speak out against mistreatment

As with the "see something say something" mantra against community violence, it is important to speak up when you see any type of animal mistreatment or neglect.

Walk shelter dogs in your spare time

Exercise is so important for animals, but sometimes it can be difficult for those in shelters to get the amount of fresh air and exercise they need to remain healthy and happy. Contact your local animal shelter to see if they have a need for a volunteer to take out their animals out for a walk in the dog park.

Foster homeless animals

Taking homeless animals into your home as an alternative to them living in a shelter is a noble act. Temporarily housing animals until they find their forever home helps to ensure that they are properly socialized, cared for, and connected to people.

Adopt a pet from a local shelter

Pet adoption is a wonderful act. Inviting a new animal into your family is also a big step. Carefully consider before adopting and make sure that you understand fully the commitment being made. Following the holidays, shelters may experience an influx of new animals to care for when families realize that adopting or purchasing a pet as a gift may not have been a good choice.

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GoFundMe - Animals in Need

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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