If you love animals, you probably want to help as many as possible. But sometimes, finding the time for animal rescue work can be challenging. The good news is that you can do many meaningful things to help animals near you who need help and support.
Volunteer at a Local Shelter or Rescue Organization
If you’re looking to volunteer with animals near you, the best place to start is a local shelter or rescue organization. You can volunteer your time at an animal shelter in many ways, and it’s a great way to get involved with the community.
Here are some of the most common ways that people volunteer at animal shelters:
- Provide walks and playtime for dogs and cats
- Clean kennels and cages
- Train dogs to be more adoptable
- Transport animals from one location to another
- Help with fundraising events or other special events
If you’re interested in helping out, there are a few things you should know first:
- Some shelters and rescue groups have volunteer requirements that include an application process and training. Before applying, ensure you can meet all of their requirements. Some groups don’t allow people under 18 years old as volunteers, while others require adult supervision for volunteers under 18 years old.
- Some organizations ask volunteers to commit to volunteering at least once per week for a certain amount of time (for example, once per week for two hours). Others require volunteers to commit to specific days and times each week or month.
- Volunteers may need to fill out an application form and pass a background check before working with animals at the organization. Many organizations also require volunteers who work directly with animals to complete an animal handling course.
Make sure you’re ready for an emotional experience—many animals who come through these facilities have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their previous owners. Showing patience and understanding helps these animals feel more comfortable around humans again.
Foster an Animal that is Recovering or Waiting to Be Adopted
Foster parents are an invaluable resource for animal shelters and rescue groups. They provide a temporary home, love, and care for animals who have been rescued or have medical needs that prevent them from being adopted.
If you have time and space in your home, consider becoming a foster parent for a local animal rescue organization. Not only will this benefit the rescue organization, but it will also help an animal in need of extra care.
Fostering a pet isn’t always easy (especially if there are other pets in your home), but it can be gratifying for both the foster parent and the pet receiving care. If you’re willing to care for an animal that needs special attention or medical treatment, you’ll likely find great satisfaction in helping them heal and eventually find their forever home.
Donate or Raise Money
The Humane Society of the United States provides a list of organizations seeking donations and offers tips on choosing where your money goes. In addition, many shelters and rescue groups have websites where you can learn about their needs and how to help.
And if you want to raise money for your favorite animal charity, get creative. If you need help figuring out where to start, throw a party! For example, invite friends for a birthday party or other special occasion and ask them to donate to a designated animal welfare organization instead of bringing a gift. Or throw a fundraiser with food, drinks, and activities like raffles or auctions. You could also join forces with like-minded animal lovers to hold a garage or yard sale, with the proceeds going to the pet rescue of your choice.
Adopt, Don’t Buy
Shelters are full of wonderful pets looking for loving homes, and one is sure to be the perfect pet for your family.
Adopting a pet saves lives. Dogs and cats in animal shelters are often euthanized because there aren’t enough homes for them. But when people adopt animals from shelters, they save lives and give these animals a chance at happiness. You might also consider adopting an older pet who may have less chance of being adopted than a puppy or kitten.