Being homeless isn’t anyone’s idea of a good way to live, but millions of cats and dogs throughout the country have no place to call home. Since April is National Volunteer Month, think about doing something this month to help the homeless pets in your local community. Below are a few traditional and non-traditional ways to use your time, skills and resources to improve the lives of animals and help more pets find loving homes.
Volunteer your time at a local shelter or rescue organization scooping poop, cleaning cages, walking dogs, doing laundry, taking photos of adoptable animals, transporting animals or socializing the cats and dogs. Shelter workers will be grateful to have you stop by to volunteer your time and energy even if you just have an hour or two a month to give. Most animal rescue organization websites have volunteer information – how to apply, what types of skills are needed, whether any special training is required, etc. If you want to find out what organizations are currently seeking volunteers, go to VolunteerMatch.com and enter your zip code and “animals” – you will get a list of organizations in your area that are looking for volunteers.
Foster a lonely pet from a rescue organization until they find their forever home. Almost all rescue groups are always looking for foster homes, especially during “kitten season.” The time you spend with a homeless pet will make them more adoptable in the future. And who knows, you may find a new furry friend for your own family.
If “hands on” animal care isn’t your thing, you may have some other skill or talent that can be utilized to help homeless animals – writing articles for their newsletter or website, managing their Facebook page, assisting with fundraising, organizing events, etc. You can even use your social media skills to help. Post links on your Facebook page to adoption and other events being sponsored by local rescue organizations or feature a different adoptable pet each week on your Facebook page. Post a link to this article on your Facebook page and encourage your family and friends to help homeless animals this month and throughout the year.
Donate needed items to a local shelter or rescue organization in your community. Many organizations have “wish lists” on their web sites with the items they need the most. They can always use beds, blankets, crates/carriers, collars, leashes, toys, treats, kitty litter, treats, food and cleaning supplies. Most organizations welcome “gently used” items for their animals. By donating these items you can help free up scarce funds for other needs of the organization, such as vet care.
Collect food for a local pet food bank that distributes food to families who are at risk of losing their pets due to financial hardships. Many grocery stores, such as Publix, have weekly two-for-one deals on pet food and treats. Most pet food banks also welcome pet food coupons that help reduce their costs. By providing food for the family pets, the pet food banks are improving the lives of all members of the family. Click here for a list of pet food banks across the country.
For more information:
- What Can One Person Do? (from the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets resource library)
- Finding Your Niche in Animal Rescue (Best Friends Network article)
- Petfinder blog on volunteering with rescue groups and shelters
- Ways You Can Volunteer to Help Homeless Pets (from AnimalShelterTips.com)