5 Ways to Help Animal Shelters During the Holidays

Whether you are a college grad who doesn’t want another package of cleverly wrapped underwear or a parent who can’t stand the thought of getting more Legos to trip over, the holidays do not have to mean exchanging gifts only with family.  If you are looking for a charitable organization this holiday season, consider your local animal shelter or rescue group.  

These organizations run on very small budgets and are always interested in helpful strangers, and many donations are tax deductible.  These organizations benefit your community in many ways as well, either through spay and neuter programs to keep stray populations down, pet care programs for low-income families with furry family members, and many other programs.  If you are interested in helping the cause, read on to see the different ways you can benefit:

Volunteer to walk the dogs in your local shelter:  Volunteers who give the all-important walkies in animal shelters are key to both socialization and dog morale.  If a dog in the shelter has regular exercise they are typically less rambunctious, which gives the adopter a better idea of the personality underneath the jitters.  Unfortunately, there are typically fewer dog walking volunteers in the wintertime.  Drop by your local shelter to register as a walker and earn the gratitude of the volunteers.  If you are more feline oriented, shelters are also looking for volunteers to perform housekeeping for their cat population – includes cuddling.

Set up a Secret Santa with your family or colleagues for the shelter:  Shelters always have a list of hot items needed for the cause.  This list can include anything from spare blankets for bedding to puppy formula and canned cat food.  Even ten dollars worth of goods can feed one cat for several days, so every donation helps.  Ask your family or coworkers if they are interested in picking one item from the list to purchase for the shelter and dropping them off during the holidays.  The week after, visit the shelter to see your gifts in action as a perfect reward – optional is a free visit to the socialization room to play with a friendly pet.

Foster a pet for the season:  With the winter season shelters often see an increase in population due to the severe weather.  If you have the space and situation to accept a furry friend, consider fostering a cat or dog from the shelter.  Fostering prevents overcrowding in the shelter, allowing them to accept more incoming pets from the cold, and increases socialization in foster pets (which increases their chances of adoption).  Fostering is often considered the most rewarding part of pet rescue, and can allow traumatized pets to come out of their shells in a safe environment.  Speak with your local pet rescue or shelter to become a pet foster parent and they will match you with a foster pet best suited to your needs and family.

Donate Your Hobby or Profession: Are you an amateur photographer, professional journalist, or otherwise skilled good Samaritan?  Stop by to see if your skills are needed at the shelter!  You would be surprised what talents are needed to run a successful rescue organization, and no offer is not appreciated.  Maybe you can write content for their website or photograph a new set of kittens who just arrived, your reward will be furry hugs.  As a hidden bonus, you can use it to gain experience in your skill.  You never know if your ability is what is lacking at your local shelter until you ask!

If looking for a new hairy comrade, stop by the shelter: possibly the best way to help your local rescue or animal shelter is to find your next family pet with them instead of a breeder or pet shop.  Shelter and rescue pets come fully vetted, and often with a welcome kit of basic toys and food to get you started.  Purebreds and all ages of cats and dogs (and sometimes other species) are available and waiting for a new family, so if you are in the market for a new addition stop by the shelter first!

As you can see, there is more than one way to celebrate the holiday season.  Hopefully there is one or two items on this list to get you started.    Feel free to stop by their website for a list of their needed items, or of their adoptable animals. 


If you are interested in helping out a local rescue group, please see the links posted below.

Great Lakes Bay Animal Society

Humane Society of Midland County

SOS Animal Rescue

Smart Paws Rescue

Blog author Lauren Pescarus is an admitted Cat Person who admires all pets from afar.  She lives at home in Romania with her husband, and loves to buy things for the pets she will soon convince her lucky spouse to bring home.   For more information about Lauren’s writing services, follow this LINK.


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