Winter 2011 Magazine

10 Ways To Help Shelter Pets

Make life easier for a shelter animal. Here are 10 things you and your family can do to help animals share your cheer this holiday season.

1. Foster an animal
Shelters and rescue groups are always in need of people willing to foster animals. Whether it is raising bottle baby kittens or helping a mom dog or cat with babies or a caring for a senior animal with special needs, shelters need people who can offer a little extra attention and help to animals waiting for a home. Maybe a dog or cat needs more socialization or better canine citizen skills to be placed in a home. You can give Fido and Fluffy a boost toward adoption by fostering and working with them.

2. Pet food banks
An increasing number of people depend on food banks to help feed their families. Animals are given up to shelters because there is not enough money to buy pet food. One solution is to provide pet food for your local food banks. Organize a group of people to gather torn bags of pet food or dented cans of dog and cat food from large grocery stores or Wal-Mart. Re-bag the food or donate it to local food banks.

3. Donate a bed to a shelter animal
Kuranda beds are orthopedically correct for dogs and cats, raised off the floor so the animal isn't sleeping on cold concrete, easy to clean and chew-proof. These beds, made in the U.S.A., bring comfort to shelter dogs and cats. Kuranda provides a way for you to donate a bed to the shelter of your choice. The shelter pays nothing for the bed. If you want to consider this, go to:

4. Give up your holiday gift for an animal
Consider asking your friends and relatives to donate to a local animal shelter or rescue group in your name. Whatever they were going to spend on your present can go to help animals instead. Tell them the shelter or group you prefer the donation go to and give them the link to the organization's donation page.

5. Conduct a holiday garage sale for the animals
Gather all the things you want to get rid of to make room for new holiday gifts and have a garage sale. Ask other families in your neighborhood to donate items as well. Whatever money you raise from the sale will be donated to the local shelter or a rescue group.

6. Provide free spays and neuters to lucky animals
Find out how much the shelter clinic charges for spays and neuters. Donate enough to cover a certain number of surgeries. This is one of the best gifts you can give an animal. It helps end pet overpopulation in your area and contributes to keeping an animal healthy.

7. Gather goods listed on a shelter's wish list
Shelters and rescue groups often publish a wish list on their website. This might include pet food, paper towels, trash bags, laundry detergent to wash blankets, kitty litter and many other items. Put together a delivery to the shelter of a large box of items from their wish list.

8. Buy gifts from your shelter's store
Many shelters and local rescue groups sell cards, calendars, t-shirts, mugs and other items on their website or at their adoption sites. Buying these as gifts helps the animals and makes your friends smile.

9. Buy from national rescue groups
The ASPCA, HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, Best Friends and many more have an online shop with holiday cards, shirts, and other items. The purchase of these items helps them continue their work of helping animals.

10. Shop on websites where companies donate to animals, and are some of the sites where you shop and the companies donate a percentage of sales to the animal charity of your choice.

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