How You Could Help Your Local Pet Shelter
How to Help Your Local Pet Shelter
If you’re reading this you’re probably an animal-lover, whether you have your own furry friend, are thinking about getting one or simply love animals even though you can’t give a permanent home to one yourself. The chances are also high that you’re familiar with pet shelters, which take in animals in need of care for a range of reasons, give them a safe space, love and affection, and try to help them find a new home.
There are many animal and pet shelters across the country, some part of national or international charities and some organised locally, and almost all of them cannot do their work without our support. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what you can do to help your local pet shelter, then the answer is almost certainly ‘lots’!
The first and most important step – Ask!
The needs of your local shelter can vary greatly, depending on their size, their organisation and their focus, so the shelter team will be best placed to tell you what help they need most. However, below we’ve provided some general advice on some of the ways you might be able to show your support.
As we all know, caring for one or two furry companions can be no small task, and a shelter will often have many animals in residence at any one time. Many shelters will gladly accept donations of items to help in the care of their charges, including toys, food, cleaning supplies and other consumables. Each shelter’s needs will be different, of course, and some may have restrictions or rules on what they can and cannot accept. If you want to make a donation of physical items, it’s usually best to reach out to the shelter first, either through their website, email, or a member of staff, to confirm what they need most and how best to get it to them.
It may be more appropriate or practical to offer a monetary donation – funds can be more versatile to a shelter whose needs can change with their population. You could donate either to an individual shelter if you have one in mind or a charity, and on a one-off or regular basis as you see fit. Most regional or national shelter charities will accept donations through their website, but if you want to support a smaller shelter organisation you should contact them directly to ensure they are able to accept donations. With any monetary donations, however, we advise researching the shelter a little first to ensure you are happy your funds will be put to good use.
Volunteering at a Shelter
One of the most valuable donations you can give to a shelter is your own time, whether it’s with walking animals, feeding, cleaning facilities, or many other tasks. Some organisations also have shops and café’s to help raise funds, and these are also often staffed by volunteers. Whether you’re keen to work with animals directly or support in other ways, we suggest checking websites or speaking to the shelter team first hand to see what sort of support they need and what you want or are able to do.
Fundraising on their Behalf
Most shelters and charities are delighted when people hold fundraising events, and many of the regional or national charities have resources available on their website. Some of them may even have set awareness days or programmes you can tie into. In the case of smaller charities or individual shelters, it’s worth getting in touch when you are planning your event to check if there are any rules or policies that may impact what you do or what they can accept.
Sometimes what an animal needs most is a temporary home where they can feel safe, receive love and affection and get ready for moving to a permanent home. If you want to help in this important part of a pet’s journey, why not volunteer for fostering? Many shelters have a roster of foster homes for their charges, and will gladly add to it. Check the shelter or charities website to find out more about how to start fostering, or for smaller organisations it may be beneficial to get in touch directly.
So there you have just a few broad thoughts on how you can help your local pet shelter. Charities and shelters often cannot survive long without the support of the public, and whether you can spare a couple of pounds a month or a few days of your time a week, it all makes a difference.
Have you got any advice to share with those seeking to help out their local pet shelter? If you have any experiences to share, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch!