Can’t Adopt? You Can Still Help!

Judi Olivas

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10 ways to help animals even if you can’t adopt

Adoption isn’t the only way to make a lifesaving difference to homeless animals. According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted from shelters each year. But there are many other ways that individuals and communities can improve the lives of shelter pets.

Every act of volunteering, fostering and advocacy can create great and lasting impact. Here are a few suggestions to helping connect you with a commitment that is right for you while helping shelter animals in need.

  1. Donate to Your Local Shelter

Every dollar counts when caring for homeless shelter animals. Drop some money in the collection jar at an adoption event, or go online to make a donation through a shelter’s website. Check with your employer! Many companies will match all or a portion of their employees’ donations stretching your charity dollars even further

2. Contribute Supplies – Think Beyond Toys

If your budget doesn’t allow for cash donations, take a look around your house. Before you toss out your worn blankets or if you have grown tired of your bath towel designs, ask your local animal shelter if they can use them. Blankets and towels in kennels and enclosures provide warm, comfortable places for animals to sleep, rest, and feel safe. Shelters always welcome donations of these kinds of pet supplies, as well as food and toys.

3. Post with Purpose – Use Social Media to Spread the Word

Join your local shelter’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Share the link of your shelter’s adoptable animals page from their website. If you know of someone looking for a new pet, encourage them to visit the shelter’s site. Repost profiles of homeless pets that you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. You never know which of your followers or friends has the heart and the home to welcome a shelter animal. All it takes is for one kind person to see your post and decide to adopt!

4. Show Off Your Skills

Are you an experienced communications expert, or perhaps you have accounting skills? Maybe you could help with a social media posting or balance the shelter’s books. Do you know how to create websites? Perhaps you can update the shelter’s site to help potential pet owners learn more about the adoptable animals. Stop by the shelter and ask the staff if you can donate your talents.

5. Give Your Time by Volunteering

Simply having an extra set of hands to wash dishes, fill food bowls, and give fresh water can make a big difference to your local shelter. Or, take a more active role and be trained for dog walking, cat enrichment, and other activities to engage and socialize shelter animals. Time spent loving on the animals goes a long way toward lessening their fears and anxieties, making these shelter pets more adoptable.

6. Provide a Foster Home

If your schedule doesn’t allow you to work in the shelter itself, you can still help from home. Many shelters rely on volunteers to foster adoptable animals until forever homes are found. By providing a foster home, you help adoptable animals adapt to the daily routines of a household and how to get along with other animals, children, and people of all ages. This process helps make a homeless cat or dog that much more appealing to a potential new owner.

7. Encourage Friends, Coworkers, and Family Members to Adopt

When you learn the dates for the next adoption event sponsored by your local shelter, ask your friends and family to attend. If you know someone who wants to add a pet to their home, encourage them to consider adopting a homeless animal.

8. Educate Others About Spaying and Neutering

Teach people how important it is to spay and neuter their dogs and cats. Approximately 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in the United States every day, and there are nowhere near enough good homes for all of them. Don’t forget to spay or neuter your own pets. Spaying and neutering can help end the homeless animal crisis.

9. Help the Lost

If you find a lost pet, make every effort to find her owner before you take her to the shelter. Every pet who goes into a shelter or rescue, however temporarily, takes up space needed by another pet. By immediately locating the owner, you leave that shelter space free for another homeless pet in need. Don’t forget to microchip your own pets, and encourage others to do so as well.

10. Speak Up! Be a Voice for Animals

Take action when you see animals in trouble—try to help them. If you believe an animal is being neglected or abused, work with your local animal control officers or speak to your local shelter about how to help. Sometimes pet owners need additional resources and education. You may be saving a life. Speak up!

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