Saving the life of a pet in need is easier than you think. Here are some ways to get involved with the animal rescue community – and they don’t all involve adopting.
What can I do?
We all dream of the day when there are no more homeless animals – it’s the reason we are all so passionate about helping this cause. For most of us, that has equated to us adopting animals from rescues and shelters. But there is more you can do once your home is full of furry family members. There are ways to help homeless animals in the community that don’t involve adopting and don’t have to cost money.
Here are some simple ways that you can make a huge impact.
Even if you’ve never done rescue work before, your professional skills can be of tremendous help.
Many rescues groups need volunteers willing to offer professional services, like public relations, social media management, graphic design, photography, fundraising, spreadsheet management and project management. Additionally, shelters with brick-and-mortar locations can always benefit from those with plumbing, HVAC, and appliance specialty skills.
Don’t have the time to donate your skills routinely? There are still ways to help. You can join organizations dedicated to improving pet laws and regulations, such as Paws and the Law, which is a grassroots group advocating for political engagement in order to bring about improved quality of life for Ohio pets. You can sign up with this group, and others like it, to receive alerts (email/text) allowing you to send needed and urgent messages to elected officials on important issues.
Want to offer more hands-on help to animals in need? Consider fostering a homeless animal. Rescue groups don’t have brick-and-mortar facilities in which to house animals in their care, so they are always looking for people to offer these animals temporary homes until permanent adoption is secured. By offering your home in this way, you are allowing the rescues to pull homeless pets from high-kill shelters, thus getting us closer to the goal of ending homeless pet euthanasia for good.
If you are unable to donate your time or your home as a foster, rescues and shelters are always in need of donated items. From large items like transportation crates and dog beds, to towels and cleaning supplies, it is easy to find something needed. You could also take up a donation in your neighborhood or school to collect needed items and arrange delivery to a local rescue or shelter.
You can also donate personal items like jewelry, airlines miles, and gift certificates to be auctioned off at fundraising events held by rescues and shelters. If you are a business owner, you could even offer something from your business for auction and get your business name in front of the animal rescue community at the same time.
Help educate others
Ask your friends, family, co-workers… you will be surprised to find that many of them may not be aware of the importance of adopting a pet rather than buying one from a pet store. They don’t know that by purchasing a puppy from a pet store that they are unintentionally supporting the awful puppy mill industry, and they may not know the horrors of puppy mills.
Encourage your friends to become educated about puppy mills by providing them with resources such as The Puppy Mill Project, The National Humane Education Society, or share the video Madonna of the Mills.
Help them easily search for adoptable homeless pets through sites like Petfinder.
Have a friend who is set on buying a purebred dog from a breeder?
Let them know that 25% of homeless animals in rescues and shelters are purebred. Also, let them know about common misconceptions, such as “breeders know the temperament of their dogs and rescues/shelters don’t know anything about the dogs in their care”. Rescues and shelters have a goal of ensuring available pets go to good homes, which means finding the right home for the animal – they want to prevent the pet from being surrendered again. Therefore, rescue groups generally spend a lot of time with each pet, getting to know their personality and needs before making the pet available for adoption. Another misconception is that rescues and shelters don’t have puppies – just take a look. Puppies are pretty easy to come by, but they also offer slightly older dogs which are often already potty trained and sometimes even have had some basic training!
Wondering how you help others understand the importance of spaying and neutering their pet?
Help educate others about the importance of spaying and neutering with facts. Send them to ASPCA resources online where they can learn about the benefits, such as:
Spaying and neutering leads to longer, healthier lives for the pet. Spaying and neutering helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are often malignant or cancerous, as well as testicular cancer and prostate problems.
It reduces or eliminates behavioral issues that stem from females going into heat, which causes them to howl and have more frequent urination, and leads to males roaming away from their home in search of the female. It also reduces “marking” and mounting in male dogs.
If someone is worried about the cost of spaying and neutering, there are resources for low-cost services. They can check out UCAN Spay and Neuter Clinic , Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic, Smith’s Pit Stop, or search SPAY/USA. There are plenty of resources out there to help support spay/neuter services.
However you decide to contribute, remember that there are many ways you can help and they are all greatly appreciated by the groups in need.