If you're an animal lover, you've undoubtedly thought about how you can help homeless animals in need. The most obvious way to help them would be to adopt them, but what if you can't? Here are my favorites ways to help shelter animals without adopting.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is the National Day of Giving, or Giving Tuesday. It's a great reminder to help others during the “giving season”. While it's great to give back on a national day of recognition, shelter animals need our help 365 days a year.
There are lots of ways to help animals in need without adopting them into your family. It's easy to help shelter employees and volunteers, as well. Helping the handlers, helps the pets in return.
10 Ways To Help Shelter Animals Without Adopting
The most direct way to help shelter animals without adopting is by donating. Money isn't the only thing your can donate.
You can donate your time, pet food, toys, treats, cleaning supplies, and so much more! Most people don't realize how easy and affordable it is to make a donation to your local shelter. Giving your time, for example, is easy and free.
Most animal shelters will take donations of gently used towels, sheets and blankets. They reuse them for bedding, and it won't cost you anything to donate them instead of throwing them away.
Volunteering at an animal shelter doesn't just mean working with the animals. There are many jobs for all different skills and levels.
You could volunteer to transport animals, walk the dogs, play with the cats or clean the animals' cages. Animal shelters also need volunteers to clean the building, perform basic maintenance tasks and do clerical work.
If you don't feel like you're capable of doing any of those jobs, think about what you're good at. One of the best ways to help shelter animals without adopting is by putting your unique skills to work.
Are you skilled at photography? You could take high quality photos of the animals that showcase their personalities or unique qualities. These photos will be shared on social media and could lead to the animals finding their forever homes.
Are you good with technology and social media? You could help promote the animals on the internet to gain more views, which means a better chance of the animals getting adopted faster.
3. Become a foster parent
If you're not sure whether you're ready to adopt a pet or not, consider becoming a foster parent. When you temporarily take in a dog or cat into your home, you help the shelter free up space for other rescues.
Usually, pets that need to be fostered have more special needs than other animals. For instance, you can foster a dog recovering from an injury or illness and nurse it back to health before it’s turned over to its new family.
You may be asked to care for a mother dog and her pups. Pets with medical issues do best in a foster home that can monitor them closely. They may need someone to give them medication throughout the day.
By fostering these pets you will be helping to free up space in the shelter, free up time for volunteers and employees and provide a loving place for the dog or cat to relax, de-stress and come out of his or her shell.
Once the pet has had some time away from the shelter, they will begin to act like their true self. You can get to know the pet very well, and report this information back to the shelter to help the animal find a family that meets his unique needs.
4. Spread the word
If you don't have a lot of free time, an easy way to help shelter animals without adopting is to help spread the word about available pets. Most people nowadays have social media accounts.
Follow your local shelter's page and help to network the featured pets and spread the word. The more people who share the posts, the higher the likelihood that the pet will get adopted.
5. Buy items from their wishlist
Technology has made a lot of things easier, including donating to animal shelters. Most shelters and rescue organizations have Amazon or Chewy wishlists. The wishlist links are often shared on social media platforms, and they allow you buy something that shelter really needs that will also fit your budget.
6. Support fundraising efforts
Non-profit organizations are looking for ways to raise funds. Keep your eyes on their social media pages for notifications about upcoming events. You can participate in their runs/walks, adoption events or other festivities in your local area that are organized to raise money for the shelter.
7. Donate DIY projects
If you're handy, you can put your DIY skills to work to make donations for shelter animals. From beds to toys, there are hundreds of fun, easy and affordable DIY projects that could be very helpful for shelter pets.
I've done some video guides on DIY projects that could be donated to animal shelters including:
8. Collect donations
Have you ever thought of hosting a party and collecting donations for your local shelter instead of gifts for yourself? If you have a birthday, housewarming or holiday party coming up, consider asking each guest to bring a donation for your local animal shelter.
If you're looking for an excuse to get your family and friends together, why not host a pet themed party for no reason. You can decorate, have pet-themed foods, and ask guests to bring a donation. You could even have informational displays at the party to share ways to help shelter animals without adopting.
9. Organize events
One of the best ways to help shelter dogs and cats without adopting is to host an event to raise money or donations for the organization. You can organize a donation drive at your workplace or at your child's school. You could even set up a donation table at community events in your area.
10. Show appreciation for staff
Most people don't realize that animal shelter employees have a very difficult job both physically and mentally. They do their best to help scared, lost pets. They deal with pets coming in off the streets with horrible injuries.
While there are a lot of positive aspects to the job, there are a lot of hard parts as well. Shelter staff members and volunteers are with lots of pets during their last moments, they console sad pets who are abandoned by their owners and they deal with the physical challenges that come with trying to care for a large of pets.
Oftentimes, these shelter workers are so dedicated that they no longer have time for themselves. You can show your appreciation by writing them thank you messages, dropping off coffee or baked goods at the shelter or having lunch catered for them.
If you're willing to splurge, you could give them gift certificates to local restaurants or a gift certificate for a massage.