Shelters do a tremendous amount of daily work to help homeless animals find their forever homes. They also need ongoing support from their community to help them continue doing so.
You can show your support in several ways, from donating pet food or supplies to volunteering your time at the shelter. Here are a few suggestions for how to help your local animal welfare shelter all year round.
Donate Pet Food
If you are a pet owner with extra dog food that isn’t entirely used up, you may want to consider donating it to your local animal welfare shelter. Many animal rescue organizations use open bags of dog food to bulk up their food shelves, which can be an excellent way to help.
You can also donate other items to your local shelter, such as blankets and towels for the animals, crates or carriers, and even metal bowls for feeding dogs and cats. If you have any of these, it’s a great idea to call your local shelter first to see what they need and can accept.
Another good way to donate pet food is to give it to a pet food bank, which distributes it to needy families. This is an excellent option if you can’t find other places to donate it.
Donate Pet Supplies
Pet shelters and rescue groups help untold numbers of animals each year. These non-profit organizations, like Humane Society of New York, often work with limited resources and very little public attention. Still, they do an incredible job ensuring animals have a safe place to call home.
Donating pet supplies is one way to support your local animal welfare shelter. These items will help shelter staff, volunteers, and foster parents provide better care for the animals they work with and keep them happy and comfortable in their new homes.
Some items in high demand for shelters include bedding, toys and collars. These are needed to provide mental stimulation and comfort and reduce stress.
Adopt a Pet
Adopting a pet is one of the most rewarding ways to support your local animal welfare shelter. Not only will you give a homeless dog or cat a loving home, but you will also help break the pet overpopulation cycle.
Pets can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, ease loneliness, and encourage exercise and playfulness. They also offer valuable companionship for older adults and those with disabilities.
In addition to the physical benefits of pet ownership, pets can teach children empathy and understanding. This is particularly beneficial for children prone to social isolation and can benefit from a sense of self-worth when sharing their feelings with their new furry friend.
Meeting the animal in person is a good idea to ensure you find the perfect pet for your family. This will allow you to get to know them better and determine if they fit your lifestyle and needs well.
If you want to lend a helping hand and get to know your local animal welfare shelter, there are many ways to volunteer. In addition to caring for animals, shelters need help with fundraising events and other duties, such as writing fliers or posting on social media.
Most shelters have their volunteer application process. It may be as simple as filling out an online form or as complicated as interviewing for certain positions.
Finding a shelter that matches your interests and skills is essential as an animal lover. Some covers require volunteers to work in-house (walking dogs, handling cats, grooming), while others focus on off-site activities such as adoption events or fundraisers.
Consider whether a shelter takes in all types of animals. Some covers take in only dogs and cats, but others may have exotic animals or even many small animals.