lifestyle

5 Ways to Help Shelter Animals

Meet my new fosters, Destiny and Dexter! These two itty bitty cuties were rescued from the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico. As I said in my recent Fostering FAQ post, people reach out to me asking about fostering all the time. But did you know, whether you’re a position to foster or not, there are multiple ways you can help shelter animals. Here are 5 ways you can help shelter animals near and far:

You can volunteer your….

  • Time
    • If you’re able to volunteer your time, shelters are always in need of volunteers. Volunteering at shelters often entails walking dogs, cleaning cages, feeding the animals and helping out at adoption events. I always love volunteering at adoption events. These involve going out into the community and introducing people to adoptable animals, educating them on animal rescue and teaching them more about the shelter I volunteer with.
    • If you can’t volunteer on a regular basis, volunteers are always needed in disasters too to help rescue displaced and injured animals. You can check out this ASPCA article for more information on disaster relief.
    • And don’t forget that both local shelters and foreign shelters need help. While I volunteer at a shelter here in NYC, I’ve also volunteered at a shelter while on vacation. Foreign shelters often have a more relaxed volunteer on-boarding process, so my sister and I were able to head to the St. Thomas shelter in the Caribbean and volunteer to walk dogs that very same day.

You can volunteer your….

  • Resources
    • If you don’t have the time to go volunteer at a shelter, something else you can do is donate resources. Shelters are always in need of supplies like food, toys, crates, cleaning supplies, financial donations, blankets, etc. I can’t tell you how much it kills me to see a dog laying on a hard cement floor day after day because the shelter gets low on blankets.
    • A fun way to get lots of blankets to donate is to have friends over to make blankets together. Check out this DIY video for making dog blankets and toys yourself. Or you can donate used but clean towels and blankets to the shelters as well.
    • Additionally, most shelters have wish lists on their websites so you can check out exactly what they’re looking for at that time. And don’t forget it’s not just the dogs, you can donate food and supplies for cats, bunnies and other small animals too.

You can volunteer your….

  • Skills
    • Do you have a skill set that could benefit animals or shelters in some way? At the shelter I volunteer at we’ve had a reiki healer come work with the animals and it’s amazing the calming effect she has on them.
    • Are you good at building things? See if your local shelter needs anything built.
    • Got a big social media following? Visit your local shelter and do a post about rescues in your area using the hashtag #adoptdontshop.
    • Got a car? Volunteer to drive animals from one location to another (often to and from the vet or to and from a pick up location like the airport.)
    • Does the place you work do corporate volunteer events? Reach out to your local shelter and see if they offer corporate volunteer days. Or invite the rescues to your office. I’ve volunteered previously at an adoption event at the Facebook/Instagram headquarters where we brought adoptable dogs and cats for the staff to play with, with the ultimate goal of those interactions leading to some adoptions.

You can volunteer your….

  • Home
    • Fostering is an amazing way to help animals in need. If you’re interested in helping a furry friend get out of the shelter environment and into a loving home with you temporarily while they wait for their forever home, check out my Fostering FAQ.

and finally…

You can…

  • Adopt
    • When you’re ready to add an animal companion to your family, adopt! I can’t emphasize this enough. There is such a surplus of loving animals waiting for their forever homes. We’re talking millions each year. At this very moment in time as you’re reading this there are way more animals sitting in shelters needing homes than there are people interested in adopting them. Every time we buy an animal from a breeder or pet shop, that takes away one animal’s chance of ever making it out of the shelter. But on the flip side, when you adopt, not only do you save one animal but you save two – the animal you just adopted and the one you just made space for in the shelter.

If you’d like to donate supplies to a shelter right now and you’re wondering what exactly to send, here are some of my favorite supplies to donate.

 

xo,

Tedi

 

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