Different Ways to Volunteer to Help Animals
Some ways that you may be aware of for volunteering with animals may be fostering, physically volunteering at an animal shelter/rescue, or becoming a monthly donor to help raise money for a particular animal. These ways are WONDERFUL and ones that truly make a difference in the lives of animals. But if you are unable to participate in these types of volunteer work, there are numerous ways that you can still make a huge difference!
Volunteering with a Shelter
Most shelters are always looking for volunteers. They need help to clean cages, socialize and groom animals, assist with adoptions, walk the dogs, feed all of the animals, play with them, take pictures of them to post on their websites, etc. These tasks require you to physically come in and interact with the animals. It does not have do be daily, or even weekly if your schedule does not allow it. Simply coming in once a month is a great way to help out a busy shelter.
Along with physically coming in a volunteering at a rescue or animal shelter, you may foster animals that are unable to stay at the shelter due to age, stress, sickness, etc. In this way, you will be able to take an animal home for a short period of time and either bring him/her back after some time or help to find an adopter suitable to take the animal. This is often helpful if you are able to have animals in your house for a temporary amount of time--and it can help you too if you are unsure of whether or not you want to adopt an animal. Another great help is to assist at events and fundraisers. You may be present at these events or just help to promote them via social media, emails, or word of mouth. Both are a great deal of help and equally as important. You are usually only responsible for a shore amount of time at these events--an hour or two and then you switch off. Even attending an event and participating will help! Along with this, you can volunteer to help bake cupcakes for a bake sale or organize a different type of fundraiser that can benefit the rescue/shelter. Sometimes, they hold fundraisers where you can sell chocolate, cookie dough, magazines, or baked goods to help raise money for the animals. You can sell the items yourself, or purchase them to help out.
Advertising is a great way to assist animal rescue groups and shelters. It does not have to be every day or very time consuming. Simply clicking 'share' on an animal's photo may help save that animal's life! You never know who, on your friends list, may be able to adopt that cat or dog who is so much in need of a forever family. Simply sharing the nearest animal rescue's website or facebook page is a wonderful help as well. Someone who may be looking would then consider going there to adopt, or decide that they may know someone who is willing to adopt. Just like that you saved the lives of two animals---the one who is going to be adopted and the one who will have the opportunity to fill that cage and get adopted next. Overpopulation is the leading cause of euthanasia in high kill shelters--so though difficult, I feel that it is always best to try to help those animals get adopted over rescue animals because they are running out of time. Rescues normally do not PTS animals who are healthy enough for adoption.
Another wonderful way to assist animal rescue groups is transport help. Many times, rescues will commit to taking in a number of animals (mainly cats and dogs) but will need assistance to get those animals to their facility. So they will rely on a string of volunteers to transport the animals (sometimes from several states away!) to different points. It often does not take much work, a simple short walk for a dog, perhaps some water and a treat, and then they go in a crate to be transported--this is to protect both the animal and the transporter. These animals are frightened which may temporarily affect their temperament. So be careful not to harshly approach him/her. Instead make her feel secure and comfortable before you calmly greet her.
Some rescue groups have animals that stay at petcos and petsmarts in the area. They have a separate area of cages where the animals can be viewed and get adopted! It is very charitable of the stores and a wonderful idea, since many pet lovers go to stores such as petsmart and petco! You can volunteer to help socialize these animals, clean the cages, help with adoptions, or feed them. It is a great way to help animals in need and it does not take a ton of time to do this. You can volunteer for one or more services listed above, and as often as you are able to.
Donate money. You can contribute as much or as little as you can to rescues and shelters. Often times, there will be a can in supermarkets/stores to help animals in need. You can also write out a check to any nonprofit rescue group or shelter. You can become a monthly donor for some rescues (SPCA, ASPCA, Humane Society) or send a one time payment to the rescue/shelter of your choice. You can give a donation instead of favors at an event, find out if your job will match your donation, or donate in memory of someone. It is a great way to make a wonderful gesture and help animals who truly need it!
If you are unable to do this, or would like to do more, you can donate supplies to your local shelter. Most shelters/rescue groups have a "Wish List" of items that they constantly need at the shelter. It includes regular pet items like certain food, kitten/puppy formula, toys, litter, etc. However, it also includes other inexpensive items that you may already have around your house that you would not mind giving up. These items include garbage bags, newspaper, paper towels, cages, as well as sheets, blankets, and towels. They are a great deal of help as well. No longer do they have to purchase these items, and more money can go toward the animals!
Join a Cage Comforter Program. [ http://fairytailpets.com/cage.html ] This program allows you to make or purchase blankets and toys for animals at shelters. It makes them feel much more comfortable during their stay at the shelter and provides them with a warm blanket to sleep on, rather than the floor of a cold metal cage. Click the link for details--that is my rescue group!
You can get an email reminder once a day to simply click a link to help feed animals at animalrescuesite.com . It only takes a few seconds each day to SAVE an animal. You can shop at this site too, and a portion of the total goes to helping animals. It is great because it lets you know how many animals have been helped/bowls of food you funded with your click or purchase. Super easy and super effective.
Spread the word. Let people know about the high kill shelters in the area. Tell them about the specials for that month (often rescues and shelters will have discounts for multiple adoptions, senior animals, or black cats and dogs due to their apparent unpopularity [i have two black cats and one black dog and they are amazing!]) Remind the people you are telling that they too can help spread the word to help get these animals to their forever homes.
There are SO many ways for you to get involved and start helping animals. From volunteering at fundraisers and events, to coming to feed or socialize the animals, and finally to simply spreading the word to others--you can be invaluable to animals. Help them to get noticed. Help them to have the best chance possible of getting adopted. Help them be comfortable. Help them to live the best life possible. Get involved! =0)
www.fairytailpets.com <<--My rescue. Get started!