woman working in animal shelter“When you give yourself, you receive more than you give.”

– Antoine De Saint-Exupery

As the days become longer and the blooms begin, many of us begin to feel more motivated to get out into the community or involve ourselves in a charitable cause. For pet lovers seeking ways to help homeless pets, there are endless possibilities in how your time and talent can be of great service.

Volunteerism is the lifeblood of creating positive change for animals. When it comes to underfunded shelters, volunteers are necessary to operate and provide housing, veterinary care, food, and other needs for millions of stray and homeless pets across the United States. Grassroots rescue groups and animal welfare organizations also depend upon the kindness and generosity of individuals who work to make positive change in the lives of animals.

Ten Ways You Can Help Homeless Pets

Each year, many deserving pets do not find their forever homes and many more will end up remaining on the streets, where they will succumb to accidents, starvation, and other threats. In response to this, dedicated volunteers have been creative and effective in coming up with new programs to help ease the burden of poorly funded city shelters and reduce the number of unwanted pets through education, spay and neuter programs, and adoption events.

If you or you and your family feel inspired to be a part of this incredible movement to help animals, here are some ways you can directly help animals in our community.

  1. Offer to walk dogs or cuddle cats and other animal-socialization activities at a local shelter.
  2. If you have a digital camera and photo editing software, offer to take compelling photos that help show off the great personalities of shelter pets.
  3. Raise awareness of the importance of spaying/neutering by offering to speak to community groups, business, and schools.
  4. Become a foster pet parent and help free up space at shelters, as well as offer a less-frightening and safer environment for pets awaiting homes.
  5. Offer to host a garage sale, bake sale, or other community fundraiser and donate proceeds to a local rescue group or shelter.
  6. Adopt! And encourage your friends, neighbors, and family members to adopt rather than purchase a pet.
  7. Start a neighborhood, church, or office food and supply drive. Animal shelters are almost always in need of food, towels and bedding, cleaning supplies, toys, and other animal care supplies, but you can always call and ask, too.
  8. For those who love to organize, consider starting a neighborhood or community-wide animal advocacy or rescue group that focuses on helping find stray animals a lasting home and make a tremendous difference in areas that have a high stray and feral population.
  9. As an individual or family, opt to ask for donations to favorite animal charities in lieu of birthday, holiday, or other gifts or donate a portion of your family’s gift budget to a favorite shelter or nonprofit.
  10. Use social media to help raise awareness about your favorite shelters and nonprofits that help animals – and, of course, to brag about your own wonderful adopted fur friend.

There are numerous ways to roll up your sleeves. Get creative! Think about what you can offer that is unique, such as web design or accounting services. Strengthen the message by promoting your favorite animal nonprofit. Find out what specific issues exist in your neighborhood. Is there a growing feral cat colony? Are backyard breeders a problem? Your interest and support may just help inspire a movement to community-wide action.

No matter what type of volunteering you choose, the lives of pets will be made better for it. Not sure where to start? The Pet Experts can provide you with a list of local, reputable organizations who are always looking for volunteers.

Thank you!