Spread Holiday Cheer: 7 Tips for Volunteering at your Local Animal Shelter
Everybody wants to be home for the holidays. Sadly, shelter pets don’t have that option yet. Animal shelters struggle to care for every animal they can, but they can’t do it alone—especially in colder months, when it’s less safe for animals to be outside. If you have a rescue pet or are just an animal lover in general, consider spreading some cheer this holiday by giving back to your local shelter. Here are some gifts they'll love. (Spoiler alert: no fruitcake!).
Shelters always need volunteers who are willing to do lots of jobs. See what the volunteer process is like at the shelter nearest you. Whether you’re cleaning kennels or walking dogs, you’re helping animals.
Who doesn’t love getting new toys during the holidays? Donate some new or gently used toys or balls to the shelter and let playtime begin.
If there’s one thing all animals need, it’s food—and lots of it! Contribute to a shelter dog’s holiday feast by donating bags of dog food or treats. You could even hold a dog-food drive in your community or at your holiday party. Bone appétit!
4. Special skills
Your creative talents can make you a huge asset to an animal shelter. Are you a photographer? Ask if you can help them take pictures of adoptable animals for their social media campaigns. Got Web design prowess? See if they need a hand with revamping their website. Chances are, if you have a skill to offer, the animal shelter will find a way to use it.
In the chilly winter months, shelter dogs need extra warmth, so donate old blankets and towels. Consider these blankets a surrogate for these shelter dogs when you’re not around to hug them.
6. Foster care
Shelters always need volunteers willing to foster animals in their homes. It may be daunting to have a dog friend for only a short amount of time as you foster them, but in the long run, you’ll help a bunch of dogs find new homes.
In order to keep saving animals, shelters rely on charitable donations. These donations are usually tax-deductible and are a good way to help with many different aspects of shelter care. You can donate to a shelter in your neighborhood or donate to national organizations, which help shelters all over.
This holiday season, think of helping shelter animals as a gift to yourself. Remember that shelters need help all year round, so you can experience the joy of giving even when it isn’t a holiday.
If you have helped a shelter this season, let us know about it in the comments section below.