While we at MUTTS always advocate for adopting shelter animals, we understand that welcoming an animal into your life is a big decision, and not everyone can do so. Don’t feel discouraged if you aren’t able to help in this capacity, because there are many other ways to help our animal friends and the shelter workers who care for them! We hope this short list of ideas inspires you to lend a hand, especially amid troubling events such as COVID-19 and the wildfires across the western United States.
An animal shelter can truly thrive when all hands are on deck, and volunteers are needed in some areas more than ever. Volunteer duties can include dog walking, cleaning, or helping with events. Search your local shelter’s website or try giving them a call to discuss in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities.
Give a Donation
If your local animal shelters aren’t offering many volunteering opportunities (perhaps due to COVID-19 restrictions), or you’re simply not ready to make the time commitment, a great way to help is by offering donations — either in the form of supplies or funds.
This is a quick way to make a big difference. Non-profit organizations like shelters can always use extra funds to support their missions, and most keep “wishlists” of needed supplies. Have any shelters near you been affected by recent wildfires or hurricanes? Check to see if they have requests for specific items such as cleaning supplies, unopened animal food, bedding, or toys.
Host a Fundraiser
If you want to encourage others to support shelters too, consider hosting a fundraiser. In the age of COVID-19, you may need to get creative with your fundraising efforts; however, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Virtual events have been making huge waves this year! Hosting a virtual fundraiser would allow you to connect with a broad reach of fellow animal lovers within your area and beyond, and platforms like Facebook have made hosting digital events easy to maneuver. Contact your shelter to set a goal and an event date to kick things off.
If you aren’t able to give an animal a forever home, how about a temporary one? Shelters can become full very quickly, leaving little to no room for all animals in need. Fostering helps to alleviate stress on shelters and gives animals a more comfortable living experience while they wait to be adopted. (Another great benefit of fostering is that shelters typically cover expenses.) Your primary duty will be to love, protect, and nurture these furry house guests.
Use Your Gifts
This year, you may find yourself with a new schedule or daily routine. This could be a great time to hone your talents and use them for the betterment of your local animal shelters. Are you great at sewing? Maybe you can create cozy beds and comfy blankets for our furry friends. Do you enjoy photography? Many shelters can use a hand gathering high-quality photos of animals up for adoption. Don’t doubt yourself. There’s a way for all skills and talents to make a difference.
2020 has brought many hardships, and we are mindful when encouraging fellow animals to do what you can — when and if you are able — to continue helping shelter animals and the people who care for them. Spreading the word about needs at local shelters, sending thank-you cards to shelter workers, and even connecting with shelters via social media are significant gestures. The most important takeaway is that we all have something to offer to make a positive difference, and our animal friends around the world are counting on us to do our part.