Ways to give back and help animals during the holiday season
- Ways to give back and help animals during the holiday season
From volunteering to donating, many pet lovers are looking for ideas on how to give back this holiday season and helping animals in need is a perfect place to start. Giving back to the community is a great way to spread holiday cheer and create meaningful family traditions.
Each of us can make an impactful difference in helping animals in our communities. The holiday season is the perfect time to give back. If you’re wondering what’s the best way to help animals, know there is no one best way to give back. Pet shelters have many needs, meaning pet lovers have many opportunities to give during the holidays.
Donate to animal shelters
If you’re short on time but have the financial ability, donating directly to animal shelters is a great way to make a huge impact quickly. Are you wondering exactly how to donate to a pet shelter? Here are a few ways to help your local pet shelters.
What to donate to animal shelters during the holidays:
- Donate much-needed items directly: new and gently used blankets and towels, toys, pet food and treats, and even office supplies. Simply round up the supplies and drop them off during your pet shelter's normal hours. This is a great way to help animals at Christmas. What pup wouldn’t love a new blanket for a Christmas gift?
- Sponsor a pet’s boarding, medical costs, or pet protection service.
- Shop your animal shelter’s online wish list. The items are hand-picked by staff and will ship directly to the pet shelter location.
- Send gift cards to local or online stores so the animal shelter staff can choose items they need.
- Make a direct monetary donation. This gives the pet shelter the ultimate flexibility to meet their unique needs. They may desperately need a plumber to fix a sink or a gallon of paint to refresh the adoption room. A monetary donation gives them the most options.
- Link your grocery shoppers’ card or amazon smile account to your local animal shelter to help year-round without even thinking about it.
What not to donate:
Most animal shelters cannot accept homemade pet treats, open pet medications, and opened bags of food or treats. Check with your local shelter online or give them a call for a list of the most-needed and unacceptable items.
Volunteer your time for pet shelters
Maybe you’re thinking of how to give back this holiday season if you have more free time than funds. Volunteering your time and skills helps pet shelters in invaluable ways.
- Often volunteers help by interacting directly with the shelter animals: walking, bathing, grooming, and socializing the pets by petting and playing with them. Often pet shelter staff are overworked and focused on keeping things running and pets safe. Extra hands to pet and play with animals are a welcomed help.
- If you’re introverted, volunteer to help with organizing projects, cleaning tasks, or other needs.
- If you’re outgoing, volunteer to assist with adoption events. (Some even have holiday themes, while others are year-round)
- Offer your unique skills. Photographers, hair stylists, office managers, accountants, and graphic designers all have valuable skills that pet shelters need. Consider how your passions and hobbies could help animals in need, especially at Christmas.
- Become a pet rideshare. If you have a reliable vehicle and love driving, volunteer to transport shelter animals. Often drivers are needed to get shelter. pets to foster homes, adoption events, and appointments. You also may be asked to go on a supply run for the animal shelter.
- From marathons to supply drives to charity balls, your local animal shelter likely has opportunities for you to take part in raising funds for much-needed supplies.
- You can even host a fundraiser yourself. A yard sale, bake sale at a community event, or a crafts booth at the farmers market can raise significant funds for your pet shelter.
Volunteering at a pet shelter is a way to feel fulfilled, knowing your skills and time are directly helping animals in need. Consider starting a holiday tradition of giving back to the community by volunteering at your local animal shelter.
Foster pets for your local shelter
Fostering shelter animals is one of the most rewarding ways to help animals, especially during the holidays. Fostering a shelter animal helps them to get ready to find a forever home. Fostering saves lives, either the life of the foster pet who can now be ready for adoption, or the life of the pet who takes the now-open spot at the pet shelter.
Fostering is a big commitment in both time and love, but it is rewarding on a life-changing level. Daily shelter life is especially hard on some pets. A safe home environment can do wonders for shelter pets' physical and mental health. This can help them be more adoptable to potential forever families.
Foster pets are often the pets who need extra TLC like young puppies or kittens who need extra care, senior pets, or pets who need a little time to better trust people and other pets.
Foster care for shelter pets is simple. The animal shelter typically covers costs, the pets' lives are vastly improved, and it is so enriching for the pet and your family. If you have a compassionate personality and a patient heart, you could make a wonderful foster family for a shelter pet.
As a foster family, you will care for the pet as if it were your own: taking them to vet appointments, setting up their pet protection service, possibly training classes, bathing, brushing, and playing with them to help them grow into their best self.
Most animal shelters have an ongoing need for foster families. If you feel you could make space in your home and your heart for a shelter pet, consider fostering. Reach out to your local animal shelter to discuss their foster application process.
Become a Temporary Foster
If fostering a pet is something you may be interested in but are a bit unsure about the commitment, you can become a temporary foster. When foster families travel for vacations or especially during the holidays, they sometimes need a temp foster to care for their foster pets for a week or two.
As you can imagine, the need for temporary foster homes peaks around the holidays. You can even think of it like pet sitting for a friend.
Becoming a temporary foster is a great way to get a feel for the joy of fostering animals while helping animals in need. Some pet shelters will post on their social media accounts when they need full-time and temporary fosters.
You may be able to fill out a foster family application on the pet shelter’s website. You can always reach out directly to the pet shelter about temporary fostering. They would love to hear from you.
Give Back to Animals During the Holiday Season
Many people enjoy giving back at Christmas and are often looking for new ways on how to give back during the holidays. Donating, volunteering, and fostering animals in pet shelters is a perfect way to give back and spread holiday cheer.
Pet lovers know the power of helping animals in need by giving back at Christmas time. When we give back in our communities, we gain so much more in return. Each of us can make a tangible difference for animals in our holiday giving. With pet shelters facing so many widespread challenges, it takes all our collective efforts to change things for the better.
If you are a pet parent, consider giving to your own pet with a Lifetime Protection Membership this holiday season. It includes 24/7 access to a vet helpline, a discount on dog walking and pet sitting services, and lost pet specialists available 24/7/365. Give the gift of peace of mind to your pet and yourself.
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