Lend a Helping Paw: How to Help the Animal Rescue Community

So, you’re passionate about animal welfare, but not in a position to adopt another pet at this time. That’s okay! There are still lots of ways you can support the amazing animal rescue work being done in your community.
Over the years, we’ve given ideas of how you can give back to your local animal shelter throughout our articles. Now, we’ve compiled all those tips into one comprehensive list (and added some new ones too!).
Volunteering Time
If you have some spare time during the week, you may explore the possibility of volunteering onsite at your local shelter. Your tasks may include cleaning up, spending quality time with the animals or becoming a dog walker. If you’re not sure where your talents would be most beneficial, the shelter staff will be more than happy to give you some suggestions until you find the job that’s the right fit for you.
Special Skills
Are you a photographer, social media wiz, or master marketer? You can lend your talents to help a shelter or rescue group with their adoption efforts. A stronger web and social media presence will help animal rescues further their mission and increase the likelihood of their resident pets getting adopted.
Children’s Programs
If you have a child that’s passionate about animals and giving back, look into whether your local shelter offers a story time program. Children are invited to sit outside of an animal’s enclosure and read a storybook to them. How cute is that? This activity helps shy or stressed shelter animals build their confidence and trust in humans. It’s a great way to introduce your children to the topic of animal welfare too.
Make Wishes Come True
If you can’t physically volunteer, take a look at your shelter’s wish list. Many rescue groups and shelters have their donation wish lists displayed on their websites or at their physical locations. Litter, blankets, bowls, spare toys, harnesses, and extra catnip are most commonly wished for. There are also other items that you can donate to help shelter staff. Consider donating cleaning supplies as well as office supplies. Post-It Notes may not be the first things that come to your mind when you think of essential shelter items, but they are often requested!
Having Fun with Fundraising
Monetary donations are always appreciated! Whether you make a direct donation or participate in a fundraising event, there are lots of options for donating. For example, National Cupcake Day is an annual event in Canada that encourages people to “bake a difference.” Individuals, offices, businesses, children, and others sell homemade cupcakes with all proceeds going to their local SPCA or Humane Society. There’s no sweeter treat than helping an animal in need!
Collecting Donations
At your next event, ask for a donation to your local shelter or humane society instead of a traditional gift. Birthdays, bridal showers, anniversaries – the possibilities for giving are endless!
Become a Foster (Pet) Parent
Consider fostering a pet until they find their forever home. Not only will you be providing a loving environment for the pet, but you’ll also provide the shelter with valuable firsthand knowledge that could help staff find the ideal match for your foster pup or kitty.
Update: Where Are They Now?
Has your adopted pet flourished since joining your family? Everyone loves a feel-good story, especially the people who took care of your pet at the shelter while they waited for their forever home. Send the staff an update on your pet including a recent photo. You can send the update directly in an email or post it to one of the organization’s social media pages. It’s a great way to thank your local shelter or animal rescue for the meaningful work they do on a daily basis.
We hope this gave you some insight into how you can donate your time and talent to the animal rescue community. If you’re still stumped, the easiest way to help out is to practice what your shelter preaches. Have your pet spayed or neutered as well as microchipped. Your local shelter will be mighty grateful that you did!