Many of us consider our pets family. They add so much to our lives and we love them for bringing that joy and companionship. While many of us take loving care of our own pets, there are many pets who don’t have a human family. So, what are some ways we can help those pets without forever homes?
This may seem like the most obvious and easiest way to lend a hand to animals who haven’t found their forever home but also consider giving gifts in kind. Gifts in kind are any donation that is not simply monetary. A few examples are donating a grooming, blankets, food, vaccinations, or even training.
Another great way to donate to your local organization is to offer your unique set of skills. Many times this is called donating “talent.” Work in social media? Offer to create a campaign to increase adoptions. Work as a teacher? Create a classroom drive of goods for a shelter. Work as a personal trainer? Offer to take dogs on runs or walks. All forms of help and love can make a difference for an animal.
Volunteering can be offering your “talent” like we discussed in donating but more times than not, organizations simply need help with basic functions. Unglamorous jobs like cleaning, exercising, or feeding animals are always needed. Organizations may also look for volunteers to help with fundraising or advertising. Whatever the need, volunteering your time can allow you to feel involved and engaged in your community while creating better lives for pets in need.
While volunteering or donating can be done by almost anyone, fostering is another level of commitment. Many times people are unsure if they can fully commit to a pet as a forever home or they already have a pet and are unsure if they should expand their family. An excellent way to find answers to these and other questions is to foster a pet.
Sometimes, people just want to open their homes and hearts to as many pets in need as possible. These are the people who make a huge difference as they remove some of the burden from overcrowded shelters. Just remember, even though your level of dedication or your ability to foster can change even helping one pet find their forever home is rewarding.
Sometimes play can fall under volunteering. Many times organizations offer play times with pets in small groups or one-on-one as volunteer opportunities. This is great for the animals but something that is not given enough is play time to smaller, less staffed shelters. At those facilities, pets often lack the engagement to keep them stimulated and happy. And when pets become bored, they develop negative behaviors that can make it more difficult for them to be rehomed. A great way to get started is to call your local organization and ask them if they need help with any enrichment programs for the pets. The staff and pets will thank you!
Another area that could fall under volunteering but has other opportunities. What we mean by helping to train is that many times nonprofits that train seeing eye dogs or other support animals need help raising them as puppies. The organizations usually have a list of behaviors they want reinforced and how to introduce the animal to their initial training. These programs can be very impactful as you are not only helping support animals get a proper start but in the end producing a companion for a person in need.
The opportunities to help are endless. Remember that you don’t necessarily need to adopt to help change a pet’s life for the better, you can simply be a support in part of their journey. Whether that be financial, talent, or engagement related, helping out pets in need is always gratifying.