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Contributing to Animal Shelters

254 Views 18 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Blacksheep
My favorite way to contribute to animals that don't have homes is to buy a can of food at Petco to help feed the cats and dogs that are taken to the shelter. I appreciate that Petco provides a way for people to give even when they don't have a lot of money to do so.

I'd like for others to share how they contribute to animals.
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I donate a lot of items - you don't have to donate money to be helpful. Things like cleaning supplies, old towels, etc can really come in handy at most shelters. Also, since my pets are so spoiled, once in awhile I'll go through all their stuff and if I have anything I don't need for them - toys they don't play with, beds they don't use, extra dishes/leashes/collars or pretty much any other pet supply item, I'll donate those to the shelter. The shelter animals don't care that the items are second hand, and most of them really appreciate things like toys and soft beds even if they aren't brand new.

Spend time socializing animals, and helping the shelter staff to care for them. Sometimes something as simple as a walk, some extra pats, or a short play session can really do a lot to brighten a shelter animals day. It costs you nothing but a bit of your time, but can be very rewarding.
Since I don't have money to donate I will occasionally go through old things. When we were moving, my mom bagged like 6 giant bags of bedding for the SPCA shelter. I also keep old collars and leashes etc. when I buy new ones for Coco and donate them. Bc I know, at least with the BeaglePaws rescue, the fosters sometimes have their leashes chewed by dogs who have never been on walks before. lol In Coco's old age he is less aggressive with toys so I can donate the ones he still has and never plays with. Volunteering at the shelter is a good idea. My Humane Services location does not accept random volunteers however, they only take students from schools earning their credits. I always participate at the bake sales at school. I bake cupcakes and sit in for an hour or two raising donations. Bake Sales, at leat at my school, rake in the dough!! lol
before i was pregnant i use to volenteer to clean the animal cages and walk the dogs and play with the cats now that i am pregnant i still sometimes walk the dogs but not as often as id like to.
I'm surprised that a shelter would turn down volunteers. we always welcome volunteers however they must take a class before walking dogs.

we love it when people donate really durable toys. blankets, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, and time. There is always something that could be cleaned, something that could be walked, cat ears to clean, dogs to give bathes, poop to be scooped, dogs to be brushed, walked, read to.
I donate to a church that helps feed homeless people. My local shelters are all sponsored by Science Diet. local Petcos give the option to donate a ball to a dog in need. I live near four Petcos so I donate a ball to whatever shelter they are sponsoring (usually county or city.)

I have attended a few of my local SPCA doggy dash things which help a local SPCA. Also my pets are licensed (funds go directly to our shelter.)

I am also going to start volunteering next month at another local shelter as a vet assistant hopefully.

Also I'm working on a fundraiser to buy a kong toy for every animal in the four surrounding shelters for Christmas.
There is always something that could be cleaned, something that could be walked, cat ears to clean, dogs to give bathes, poop to be scooped, dogs to be brushed, walked, read to.
There is a lady that comes into our county shelter and just sits in front of kennels and reads to the dogs. She isn't a volunteer or anything...just comes in when the shelter first opens and reads.
That's nice. A lot of people overlook the bonding that occurs with just a voice. I used to read to my bunnies last summer, especially as Akina was getting sicker.
I've applied to at least 3 shelters who weren't looking for any volunteers which I found surprising.

I don't donate money because I'm torn as to whether it helps. I feel like shelters could use more modern methods to adopt out pets. Of all the craigslist rehoming threads, I don't see a single shelter pet ad. Once the shelters in our area are more efficient, I might consider donating for practical ways to reach out to the many people who want a dog enough to pay hundreds of dollars for one.
Why not ask these shelters to go on craigslist?? Maybe volunteer to put up an ad for them?? Our bird/small animal rescue has a volunteer base which posts ads online and at the university and stuff. Rather than wait for them to become "efficient" why not help them become efficient?
Our shelter does not put ads on craigslist because around here craigslist for pets is not that great, the people want free animals and for unknown reasons. There are rules at the shelter for ads on those sort of sites.

I am trying to get my shelter to ask for people to sponsor pets, such as paying for a neuter or spay, a real vet check up. Some of our dogs need it.

Did you check to see if your shelter is on Petfinder? that is more suited for shelter animals instead of craigslist.

If you want to make sure your money is used at the shelter in the way you want then you need to do some research on what the shelter needs, and doesn't use. Such as retractable leashes, people donate them to us and we end up throwing or giving them away because we can't have dogs on the grounds have that much freedom. Steel dishes are better than plastic or ceramic because they break or get chewed up. Paper towels, laundry soap, dish soap, and toilet paper will always be used. Even shredded paper is nice to donate. Free for you and nice for us.
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It would be nice if rather than not responding to my volunteer request, if they asked for something like you mentioned. Instead I get no response from them and it makes me feel like they absolutely don't need the help and apparently are so well off that they would turn it away.

Just looking from the outside in. I've even offered to help train dogs, walk dogs, spend time with animals, help in any way, and I don't even get a "well we have enough people helping, but thanks".

And it's not just shelters. I don't frequent shops or stores that are archaic in customer service.

Anyway I'm not saying this for all shelters, just the ones in my area that have websites, but don't keep pictures of the dogs online for anyone to look at, and probably aren't on Petfinder, but admittedly, I haven't looked. So they could be. If they are, awesome - I think it's better than craigslist too.
Maybe they aren't great like you said but I don't blame them for not posting on craigslist. Posting there attracts some "interesting" people :lol:. They probably would not take you on as a trainer because you lack credentials and they don't know you. How did you contact them? Do you have any smaller rescues in the area (not physical shelters)? I find it weird that no one would want a volunteer, how strange!

Anyway, I donate when I can (usually once a month or so) but another great way to help out is by fostering :). Vet care and other basics are often covered by the rescue although some ask that you provide food (not ours but I sometimes end up switching dogs to raw diets). Fostering often literally saves lives...all of the dogs I've fostered were on death row.

Plus, it's a lot of fun! :D Challenging for sure but fun in that you get to "try" all sorts of breeds. It's very rewarding to see the dogs go from being sick/having behavioral problems to becoming healthy, great pets. I foster rabbits on occasion, too, and it's so awesome when you get to see a foster bunny do their first binky ;).
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I'd love to foster but I live in an apartment, and we have pet rules.

And about the training, they mentioned just having someone to train with them, like training to sit and stuff, nothing fancy, to help make them more adoptable.

And I take back the craigslist thing - I could see how that would be a problem, and you who are in the know with shelters would know best.

But yeah about the volunteer thing - until they start at least checking their email or responding with a no if the answer is no, I am hesitant to donate money, but it's not shelter specific. Any non-profit organization wanting a donation sort of has to prove it for me. The only one I'll donate to is Red Cross, because they are ancient and they manage to get a lot of real work done. Everyone else I just don't know enough about. And recently with the animal organizations, after PETA euthanized somewhere in the 80%-90% range - I just lost faith completely with animal organizations. I feel like more can be done. People aren't paying hundreds of dollars on family pets because they don't like shelter dogs. It's because it might as well be invisible. When I was shopping for my dog, the first place I looked was the shelter websites, shelter apps (and unfortunately I did not know about petfinder, which is totally awesome) and eventually I decided to just go with a Papillon breeder. That shouldn't have happened if adoptable Papillons were available, which I found out many months later, they were. I actually spent about $400 and I drove to another state to pick her up. It would be much more convenient to meet the dog living near me and not pay that amount of money - so the shelters have a lot going for them. I just wish they would get the word out. And until they do, I just can't donate. I would love to volunteer and help them reach that audience. But I guess they feel they are doing well.
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Some shelters just simply do not know how to improve their services. We have the government shelters (humane services) SPCA and non-profit small groups doing their best to advertise to always adopt or at least consider it. I think other than the French Mastiff that Matt wants so bad I would only adopt a "used" dog :p Same with cats.
About craigslist ads attracting some interesting people, well if there was a volunteer whose job it was to filter through these than it would be more efficient. I'll dig up an ad for our small animal rescue. They screen potential adopters- and starting with email. It really helps if someone is interested in a rabbit and they request to adopt it in a badly worded, ill grammered email which would garner an immediate decline from the rescue. Also, another one is classifieds. We have a weekly magazine called the "Buy and Sell" which posts thousands of free ads weekly. There is a section in there for pets and the rescue fills the page with ads about responsible ownership, whether it falls on deaf ears or not is no longer up to the rescue at that point. They try their best. This is just one ad a foster mom put up. :)
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Why not call? E-mail isn't too reliable and I could see a smaller shelter not checking it as often as phone messages. It's worth a shot.
Yeah I guess I could call :) Then at least I could determine what exactly they need help with and I could have a definitive answer.
Sometimes the directors aren't as awesome with it as they should be.
All of my area shelters do Craigslist and some post pics of "last call" animals. Needless to say, usually those are the ones that people call and fight over.
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