October 30, 2013
Ten Ways to Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue
Give a hand to the groups that do so much for animals, people, and your community
Shelters and rescues are amazing! They help untold numbers of animals and people, usually with limited resources and very little publicity. Do you want to give back to the these unsung heroes and organizations who contribute so much to your community? Try one—or all—of the following ten ways to help shelters and rescue groups. Don't be surprised if you end up feeling good and having fun.
1. Share your love
Tell the world how you feel about your local shelter or rescue by using The Humane Society of the United States' Facebook share graphics.
Just click on your favorite to add the image to your Facebook page. (If you think they're both too cute to choose a favorite, swap them out every day.)
2. Get to know your local shelters and rescue groups
Start the process by locating all of the ones in your area. You may be surprised how many groups nearby are helping animals.
3. Learn before you leap
Before you adopt, go to the Shelter Pet Project to learn what to expect when adopting a pet. You'll be much less likely to become frustrated and return your new pet if you understand the challenges and rewards of adopting a pet beforehand.
4. Say "thanks!"
Take a minute to express your gratitude to the people who work at your local shelter or rescue groups. If you've adopted a pet from one of them, show how well your pet is doing by sharing an updated picture via a letter, email, or posting it on the organization's Facebook page or website.
5. Get crafty
Combine fabric, yarn, recyclables, and imagination to bring much-needed fun into the lives of local shelter and rescue pets. There's no end to the toys you can make. Try braiding strips of fleece into fun for dogs, or cutting and folding a surprising household object into a cat distractor.
Are you a born match-maker? Create attention-grabbing "Adopt-Me" vests to spotlight available pets at adoption events held by shelters and rescues. We’ve found DIY options for those of us who avoid sewing as well as sewing-machine wizards.
6. Become a fan
"Like" the Shelter Pet Project on Facebook. Then, if possible, "like" the individual groups in your community, too.
7. Make wishes come true
Shelters and rescue groups always need towels, toys, and other supplies. Check their websites for wish lists or call them to find out what's in short supply.
Even if you can’t adopt a pet just now, you can help make life better for homeless animals by volunteering with your local shelter or rescue organization. Do you have experience as a carpenter or electrician? Are you a marketing or dog-walking whiz? All of these skills are valuable!
9. Help at your own home
Make the jobs of shelters and rescues easier: Outfit your cats and dogs with collars and proper ID (a microchip and ID tags) at all times. As soon as you bring them into your family, have all of your pets spayed or neutered. Keep your cats indoors, where you can keep them safe (though it's great to take them on walks if they are comfortable on a harness and leash), and keep dogs on leashes when off your property.
10. Help your shelter make positive changes
If you see or hear anything at your local shelter that concerns you, follow The HSUS's guidelines for addressing that concern in the most effective way.