I want to help animals but I can’t adopt
There are many ways to help animals, whether or not adoption is right for you. Not all of us can or want to adopt a shelter or rescue animal. You may have the best of intentions but something is getting in your way: finances, allergies, time, or perhaps all of the above. There are other ways that you can contribute to the wellbeing of rescue animals.
I am the lucky “fur mom” of two rescue dogs. The best thing we ever did was to save those two beautiful souls. I even convinced my husband rescue should be our only route. He grew up with purebred dogs from reputable breeders. Nothing wrong with that. For those of you who want purebred dogs, go for it. Just please do your research, visit the breeder, and see the facilities. Sadly though, there are so many animals in need of “furever” homes throughout the world, and I wanted to do my small part to help.
1. Donate Supplies
Rescue organizations are non-profit and rely on donations. Fundraisers are held throughout the year, and money is in high demand. But not all donations have to be monetary. Kindness for Homeless Paws, where I adopted Beau, often will request donations of food and toys for their dogs and horses awaiting adoption.
Contact your local shelter, rescue, or sanctuary and ask what supplies they are lacking. If you do not want to provide them, organize a local supply drive. Help them create an Amazon Wish List and then promote it on social media and throughout your local community.
2. Volunteer Your Time
Most rescue organizations can’t afford to keep the amount of staff they need, and rely heavily on volunteers. Volunteers are the life’s blood of these non-profits. Without them they would not be able to function.
If you are looking for a way to help- volunteer. Walk the dogs, play with the cats, or muck horse stalls. These business also need volunteers who don’t interact with the animals such as manning a table at a local street fair or pet expo. Raise awareness by helping with their website or offering to find sponsors for their next event. The possibilities are limitless.
3. Become a Foster Home
Shelters are overcrowded and these animals are in need of socialization, love, and some “normality”. In the southern US, where I adopted both Beau and Gonzo, the shelters are so full that they euthanize them. Foster homes and rescue groups take as many animals as they can to prevent their death. Often they will ship them north to other shelters with a “no-kill” policy. Provide a temporary home for an animal in need. Animals who are fostered have a greater chance of being adopted. You won’t regret it.
4. Contribute to Medical Expenses
Some rescue animals come from homes where they have been seriously neglected or injured. Other animals were surrendered because their owners could not afford medical costs. Medical expenses can be quite significant.
Sponsor an animal and contribute to medical costs. Start a Go Fund Me. Check with your local veterinarian or donate to a non-profit group like The Brodie Fund. The Brodie Fund is a registered 501c3 that provides grants to families in need of financial assistance. Radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and hospice care become possible for their pets, where they would not have been able to otherwise pay for treatment.
5. Educate Others
It still amazes me that owners do not neuter or spray their animals when they do not intend to breed them. This is the easiest way to reduce the amount of homeless pets. I have neighbors who recently bought their first dog. They bought it from a pet store, and surprise- it became sick and died after only a few days. That pet store got their “stock” from a puppy mill. Tragic and yet completely avoidable if only they had done a little research. Likewise there are horse breeders that churn out foals like a baby factory. I am NOT referring to legitimate breeders for both dogs and horses. I am referring to those who stay outside the boundaries of ethical behavior.
Find a way to spread knowledge. If you know someone looking for a dog or horse, steer them in the right direction. Get the word out to others, become an advocate for informed pet guardianship.
6. Think Outside the Box
After college I was living in New York and had very little money. I did, however, have a hobby trying to teach myself crochet. I was not awesome. But I found a group on Craig’s List that provided crocheted and knitted blankets to shelter animals. Something that those dogs or cats could snuggle with and find comfort in. I probably made 50 small blankets to the organization. It was good practice and I was making a difference, providing comfort to these animals.
Now, I’m not saying go out and crochet a million blankets. But think outside the box. What are your strengths? What can you offer that will make a difference?
Contact your local rescue organization today. These organizations depend heavily on volunteers who love animals and want to help in a variety of ways. There are so many animals that are in need of loving, forever homes. Adoption is a big way to help, but not the only one.
New Jersey Organizations: