Great ways to help support your local animal shelter!

Normally a great cause. Many shelters are understaffed, underfunded, overworked and swamped with an overflow of unwanted, discarded animals and anything will help.

How can you help?

A good place to start is finding out what the local shelter’s policies are concerning volunteers such as; age limits, what the volunteers are allowed to do, hours they need help, signed parental permissions for minors. You can also find out what the material needs of the facility such as: old newspapers, blankets and towels, food and water, dishes, cleaning supplies, toys, over the counter medicines. Many shelters love and welcome fund raising aid, whether it’s manning existing functions and events or helping to create new ones. It is possible that it will take more than one phone call or visit to be able to talk to the person in charge of coordinating volunteers.

While you are looking into volunteer policies, be sure to ask about the shelter’s policies regarding the animals, and make sure their policies are ok with you and your personality. You may want to find out if they have differing practices and rules according to breed. If you have questions as to whether or not their practices and policies are something you can live with, find out more by asking. Either someone will be happy that you are concerned with the wellbeing of the animals and feel an obligation to your own moral compass or you’ll find out it isn’t a good fit for you before you’ve put yourself into an untenable situation.

Also, if the facility is one that euthanizes after a set time limit, be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you are ready to deal with having to come in and find a personal favorite animal is gone — but not adopted, simply because its time was up. Not everyone can handle that, but it is a great gift to give these abandoned animals some last hours of affection is great to give these animals.

Take time and decide if you’re ready to clean up after dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, to sweep kennels, hose down runs, shovel piles out of the yard, scoop litter boxes, disinfect cages and kennels, wash food and water dishes, shake out bedding, all the grunt work, That’s what volunteers are for. Maybe you get to do the walking of dogs and playing with cats. Walking the dogs is another helpful task volunteers perform in many shelters, but know your limits. If you aren’t comfortable with a large, rambunctious dog, don’t get in over your head. Not only can you get hurt, but it’s a situation where it’s possible for the dog to end up being called unadoptable and wind up being put down early.
Keeping an animal groomed and bathed can lead to helping them to find a new home. If you have grooming skills, professional or just learned to groom your own pets; you can make a real difference! If grooming is something you’re interested in doing as a career, it’s a great way to get good practice.

Clean and groomed animals need for people to see them before they can be adopted.

Some shelters have adoption fairs, but if yours doesn’t, maybe you can help get one organized for them, getting different facilities in the community interested in helping such as; any local dog organizations, breed clubs, sporting associations like agility or weight pull groups or businesses owned by pet lovers. Local newspapers are another source for getting the animals out for public to see. They will usually run a few pictures and brief descriptions, on a weekly or possibly a daily basis. If you’ve got a good camera and an eye for getting appealing shots of animals, take the photos, print them out, and go visit the newspaper and see if they will accept them.

And you can always support your local shelter by adopting from them. That’s a win/win situation.

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