How to Help the Animal Rescue Community

Man in volunteer shirt holding a pug
If you’re someone who is passionate about animal welfare and is looking for ways to help, you came to the right place. 
 
There are many ways you can help your local animal shelter and you can even do it without spending money. Your support, no matter how big or small can make a huge difference in an animal’s life. 
 
To get started, read our list of eight ways you can help shelters:
 
Volunteer 
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.
 
Leverage Your 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.
 
Programs for Children
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.
 
Ask for Your Shelter’s Wish List
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!
 
Start Your Own Fundraiser
Monetary donations are always appreciated and there are many fun ways you can ask for money to get your community involved! For example, The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando got creative during the pandemic and hosted a front porch family and pet photoshoot fundraiser.  If you need help coming up with something creative, check out these 17 unique fundraiser ideas. After you pick an idea, follow these steps outlined by the animal humane society to set it all up! 
 
Ask for Donations Instead of Gifts
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!
 
Foster a Pet
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.
 
Promote a Shelter on Social Media
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!