When it comes to saving dogs and cats’ lives, many people think the only way they can help is by volunteering at the local shelter. While volunteering is a great thing to do, it’s just the tip of the iceberg! Shelter animals need so much more than walks, and you can lend a paw with all of it.
Here are 13 creative ways you can help make a difference in the lives of homeless pets.
1. Provide transportation
When animals land a foster or adoptive home, it might not be right around the corner. Volunteers are often needed to take a dog to wherever its destination may be. Sometimes it’s a two-hour road trip, or just a leg in an eight hour drive. For those in cities, where the main mode of transportation is bus or train, this is especially helpful. And if the lucky pup does get to ride shotgun with you, it just might be the most exhilarating moment EVER.
Source: Brandon Daniels
2. Dust off that sewing machine
If you can sew a straight stitch, you can help! Follow this tutorial on how to make a bed from an old sweater. Or help sew “privacy curtains” for shy animals. Check with your local shelter to see if they need anything.
3. Take photos
Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, shelters and rescues can benefit immensely from great photos. Grab your camera, and get those dogs out of their kennels. You can even hold photography workshops for shelter volunteers so they can take the best photos of the animals as possible. If you’re feeling very generous, donate your old camera equipment.
4. Spring clean
Donate towels and sheets you don’t use anymore. Shelters are always in need. Bonus points for gently-used beds, collars, leashes and clothing. Just look how happy these two are.
5. Go shopping
Find out what your favorite shelter or rescue needs. It could be leashes, food, cleaning supplies, or a variety of other items. Use sites like Amazon or Barkshop to spoil some pup’s who really need it.
6. Throw a party
Lenny the Pug throws a birthday party every year. He asks for donations or gifts like harnesses, eye drops, etc. for his Pug friends at Curly Tail Pug Rescue. Maybe celebrate your birthday, or ask your kids if they’d like to help with their birthday parties, and ask for dog beds, blankets or collars instead of traditional gifts!
7. Use your computer skills
Lend your graphic design, coding, or writing skills to help with a shelter’s website, social media, or newsletter efforts. Running a shelter takes a lot of work and things like this are often put on the back burner.
8. Do some social good
Use social media to get the word out. Share tweets or postings about missing animals or an animal that needs a home. Hamilton Pug will put up a custom message in exchange for a donation to a rescue, and The Bumblesnot runs his own Zazzle shop and donates all the proceeds to shelters and rescues.
9. Crunch numbers
Are you an accountant that can help a shelter or rescue with their books? Experience in non-profits is especially helpful.
Do you have room for a temporary pet? Fostering can be fun, rewarding, and challenging. By opening your home to a dog or cat, you are opening up a spot in a shelter that otherwise wouldn’t exist. The length of a foster can be a couple of days, weeks, or months. Every shelter is different, but they usually cover medical expenses and sometimes food and supplies. Visit Petfinder target=”_blank” for more information on fostering.
11. Grab a hammer
If you’re handy at all, you can help by making repairs, painting, or building furniture for the animals.
12. Donate funds
Shelters and rescues always need more funds, especially since most run solely on donations.
13. Bring a book
You may have heard of therapy dogs visiting libraries so kids can read to them and strengthen their skills. Well, one woman is visiting shelters to read to the dogs. Even the sound of a calm voice can help with stressed shelter animals–and your company may just be the greatest thing in the world to them.