There is a growing number  of pets in our communities that need support and affection; as animal lovers it can be difficult when we see beautiful dogs and cats that are looking for homes, and our circumstances means that we can’t take on a pet in our home.  It could be that you live in a rental home or apartment that does not accept pets, your work and lifestyle does not have enough time to dedicate to a pet, or you simply cannot afford to have another mouth to feed.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t play your part in helping shelters and the amazing people who tirelessly work to find homes for the homeless pets.   Fortunately there are loads of other ways you can help out your local an animal shelter.

Here are our five best ways to get involved with your local shelter and support a great cause.

1. Educate Yourself and Others

A great starting point for helping your local shelter is learning more about the shelter, your community, and issues around animal welfare. If you’re looking to make an impact, you should at least be knowledgeable about the steps you’re taking, where the greatest needs lie, and then prepare yourself to offer the services that may be of value to the shelter.

Whether you’re a pet owner or simply looking to make a change, our info centre is a great place to start. There are tons of resources and articles to help you maintain the health of your pet, improve their training, and even learn more about rescue organisations.

There are many resources scattered across the web however, so don’t be afraid to expand your horizons when it comes to researching animal shelter information and important stats and facts.

2. Volunteer at Shelters

Getting hands-on with your local shelter is a great way to not only join a great cause but also to meet new people who share the same interest and passion as you. Shelters are often running campaigns and seeking volunteers, so don’t be afraid to reach out and see if they’re looking for people interested in helping!

You could end up with work such as cleaning the cages, walking the dogs or delivering meals.  You may be distressed when you see lots of pets waiting to be adopted at shelters, so it’s important to be prepared for that.

But aside from the general work of keeping the shelter going, you may like to think outside the box and offer a service that capitalises on your skills.  For example, we know that pets that are clean and tidy have a better chance of adoption – so maybe you can help with the dog washing, and some tidying up.  If you have skills as a photographer, you could take some cute pics of adoptees and publish them on social media.

Here is some excellent information on what kind of work is generally available in shelters, and the qualities that you will need to be up for the job!

3.  Fundraise for your Shelter

One thing is for sure, shelters ALWAYS need more funds.  They do not get money from the Government and rely on donations and the good will of the people who volunteer to be able to do the work they do.  Many are “no kill” rescue shelters, which means that they will not euthanise unless it is absolutely necessary.   So if you would like to make a contribution on this front, you could organise your own charity event. Consider fundraising ideas like these to plan an animal-friendly event that raises money and awareness for the shelter. From a sausage sizzle, to a sports challenge (good for you and the shelter) to a full on charity night, the possibilities are endless.  But be sure to embark on something that resonates with you, your friends and community.  It can be hard work, but very rewarding in the end. One thing that you do need to get good at if you go down this route, is asking for money!  We know it can be hard, but when you are asking for such a worthwhile cause it is so much easier!  Fundraising can be a great way to find donors, potential homes for animals, and other like minded people. If going this route, be sure to advise your shelter, who might be able to help with allocating helpers and marketing the event.

4. Adoption

Bringing a new pet in your home is one of the greatest experiences you can have and also benefits an animal shelter too. It’s important to remember that a shelter’s ultimate goal is finding a loving and nurturing home for each and every pet, so if you’re looking to welcome a new animal into your life, this is a great option for you.  But before you go down this route, be sure to do your homework so that you understand fully what it means to be a responsible pet owner.  It is definitely not a decision that should be taken lightly – the last thing you would want is to have to surrender your pet because you’re unable to give the pet the life that he or she deserves.

Be sure to be vocal with your shelter to see what kind of adoption programs are available to you and what kind of difference you can make when it comes to adopting.  Of course, every good shelter will do a thorough vetting to ensure a good match, and will give you information about the pet to ensure you can make an informed decision.

5. Foster a pet

If adoption isn’t your thing, fostering a pet from a shelter can make just as big of an impact for a shelter. Fostering an animal temporarily into a loving and embracing household can take a lot of pressure off of a shelter. Not only is it a great developmental opportunity for the pet, but it also frees up space in the shelter for another animal that needs help to come in.

Fostering a pet is a massive responsibility, and it’s important to remember that it can only be done correctly with proper time and resources. And although it may be difficult to give the pet back to the shelter in the end, the commitment and love you show will leave a priceless impact on the pet’s developing life.

 

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals