Take some cleaning supplies or food over to your local shelter. Shelters, in general, tend to have a tight budget. The staff is there working tirelessly for puppy kisses and a feeling of having made a difference, not the big bucks. Donations are oftentimes the main thing that's keeping the place afloat, and shelters would be lost without the many volunteers that help them out. Do you have extra newspaper, plastic sacks, rags you don't use? Animal shelters can use (and are often short on) all of those things. Toys, treats, and dog and cat food are also always needed. Instead of tossing out the things you don't use, donate them and make a dog or cat very happy!
I'm Stash, aptly named for my handsome mustache, and I am laying on this comfy blanket because of YOU, amazing volunteers!!
Donate money to your local shelter. What shelters need more than anything else is money. It allows them to purchase medicine for the animals. It allows for better care of the animals, better food, better cat litter, the list goes on. Enough donations, and your local shelter could eventually add on to the building, opening up more space for adoptable animals. It doesn't have to be a big donation - every little bit helps. I always love seeing how many children ask for donations to a humane society for their birthday instead of gifts...it's pretty great!
Click on a link...feed an animal. The Animal Rescue Site, a wonderful page that helps provide aid to the millions of unwanted animals around the country, has a button on their page. Click it once a day to help provide food and care for a shelter animal. The site also has lots of animal-focused stuff for sale, and their profits go straight into caring for animals. (Could I say the word 'animal' any more times?! Animal. It doesn't even sound like a real word anymore.)
Walk a dog! Do you have a dog? Do you take it on daily walks? My dog is obsessed with walks, so when I really want to make his day, I take him on an extra-long one, swinging by the park and all his favorite pee-spots! If you have an elderly neighbor, or perhaps know someone who doesn't get around very well, offer to take their dog for a walk - it will be appreciated by both them and their dog. And of course, volunteer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter. There really is nothing like seeing the joy in those eyes when they are let out of their kennels and put on a leash!
Did I hear you say...walk?!
Help put an end to puppy mills in your area. Puppy mills should not exist. Period. Bad breeders, though, will unfortunately always be out there, and puppy mills are a terrible outcome of that. These places are usually run "underground" and sell their animals to pet stores, where they are purchased and usually go on to have some sort of major health issue. In purchasing puppies from pet stores, we are only encouraging puppy mills to continue doing the awful things they do. This young girl recently helped to make a HUGE difference in an Illinois county; you can sign her petition here. Otherwise, contact your senator, sign petitions, do what you can to help stop your local puppy mills.
Check out events in your area that raise money for animals. Even in our small Midwest towns, there are a great amount of events that are meant to benefit animals. This summer alone, there are adoption events, parties, expos, even a cruise around a lake - all to raise money for animals in need. Do some searching and I'm sure you'll find some awesome events for a cause. There are also 5ks that you can walk or run (sometimes with your dog!) to raise money!
If you suspect an animal cruelty case, don't hesitate - REPORT IT. Animal cruelty is taken far less seriously by authorities than it should be. A man in our area recently suffocated his dog using a plastic bag, and he was merely given a slap on the wrist by our local police. I am shocked and angry that our laws against animal cruelty are so lax. Until this is changed, keep reporting animal abuse cases to the authorities and pray that they are eventually taken seriously.
See an animal in need on a friend's Facebook page, Twitter, or blog? SHARE. Your share could be the one that makes a difference for that animal and finds it a forever home.
Sign up to be a foster! Call your local shelter to see if they are in need of fosters at this time. Many times, there will be kittens who are not quite old enough to be in a shelter environment, and shelters are looking for temporary homes for them. Other situations that require a foster might be: a pregnant mama dog or cat, an older/disabled/sick animal, or skittish animals that are fearful in a shelter situation. Who knows? You may join the large group of "foster failures" out there, who start out giving an animal a temporary home and end up keeping it forever! :)
Volunteer. Volunteering does not always mean you'll be scooping poop. Depending on your local shelter, volunteering may mean simply walking a dog, brushing a cat, or socializing with the animals. Outside of shelter hours, the animals probably don't get a whole lot of human contact, so just interacting with them for an hour or two makes a world of difference. There is no downside to volunteering; it is one of my favorite things ever.
Me and Rico on a shelter visit - what a handsome boy!
What is an act of kindness you've shown to animals? Did I miss any?