Animal shelters are always in need of support. If you’re an animal lover, or if a cat or dog looks to you as their human, you can help. From volunteering and fostering to donating blankets, food, supplies, or money to your local shelter or rescue organization, you can make a difference in the lives of cats and dogs in shelters. But it doesn’t end there. You can also work to educate others on how to stop pet overpopulation.
Animal shelters always need volunteers. As a volunteer, you can help with many things including socializing animals, walking dogs, transporting animals to and from appointments or adoption events, cleaning animal living spaces, helping with administrative tasks, and more. Don’t let your availability hold you back – whether you have a few hours a week or an hour a month, chances are your local shelter will welcome the help. All you need is a little bit of time and a lot of love for animals.
2. Donate Supplies or Money
Animal shelters are always in need of supplies like food, bedding, leashes, collars, toys, and bowls. Before donating, check with your local shelter to see what their specific needs are. Many shelters also have Amazon wishlists that they happily share in hopes of receiving donations of products on the list.
Monetary donations are also welcome at most shelters. These funds help to provide sheltered pets with veterinary care, food, and supplies as well as help to cover other expenses related to running the shelter such as building maintenance and upkeep.
3. Donate to Organizations
One of the easiest ways to support cats and dogs in shelters is by purchasing a Florida Animal Friend specialty license plate. As an organization that provides support to animal shelters and rescue organizations throughout Florida, Florida Animal Friend is one of the state’s biggest animal advocates. It uses the funds received from specialty license plate sales (every penny on top of the standard license plate fee) and uses it to award grant funding to shelters and organizations that provide spay and neuter services as well as those organizations assisting with spay and neuter programs for feral and community cats. The Florida Animal Friend plate is one of the cutest license plates available to drivers and reminds the public of the life-saving importance of spaying and neutering. Purchase a Florida Animal Friend specialty license plate by visiting your local county tax collector’s office or the Florida DMV website.
4. Help Community Cats
If there are friendly cats within your community, you can help keep populations low with the simple and effective method of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). It’s the humane and effective approach to population control of community cats, and it involves trapping these cats, taking them to a nearby shelter or rescue organization to get neutered or spayed, and then returning them to their outdoor home. TNR not only stabilizes the size of the cat colony but also improves their lives by ending the breeding cycle and the accompanying stress and health problems.
5. Adopt From the Shelter
When you’re ready to adopt a dog or a cat, fall in love with one from an animal shelter or rescue. There are many thousands of sweet, loving animals in shelters that need homes, and by adopting from a shelter you’re giving a dog or cat the wonderful gift of a lifetime of love. In addition, you’re also making space for other homeless pets to come into the shelter for help.
Before you adopt, make sure you’re prepared to care for a cat or dog. That means having the time, energy, and resources to provide them with food, shelter, veterinary care, and love. Once you’ve decided you’re ready, visit your local shelter or rescue organization to meet your new best friend.
6. Foster a Pet
Want to care for a cat or dog but aren’t ready to adopt? Consider fostering. When you foster an animal, you provide a temporary home until they are adopted. This frees up space in the shelter so more animals can be cared for. It also provides much-needed socialization and love for the foster animal.
Fostering is a big responsibility, but it’s also a rewarding experience. If you’re interested in fostering, contact your local shelter or rescue organization to find out how you can get involved.
7. Educate Your Community on the Importance of Spaying and Neutering
One of the best things you can do to help reduce pet overpopulation among Florida pets is to educate others about the importance of spaying and neutering their animals. When pets are spayed or neutered, lives are saved and unwanted litters of kittens or puppies are prevented. Every year, millions of animals are euthanized in shelters across the U.S. because there are not enough homes for every homeless animal. Spaying and neutering a pet is one of the best ways to help reduce the number of euthanasias each year.
8. Offer to Take Photos of Adoptable Animals
Are you good with a camera? Offer to take photos of adoptable animals to highlight on the shelter’s website or social media platforms. Good photos are crucial in getting animals adopted as they help potential adopters clearly see the animal’s physical appearance as well as get a glimpse into the animal’s unique personality. If you’re interested in taking photos of animals up for adoption, contact your local shelter to see how you can help.
There are many ways you can support your local animal shelter or rescue organization. By adopting, fostering, donating or volunteering, you can help make a difference in the lives of shelter animals. You can also help by finding out what animal shelters need the most and by spreading the word about the importance of spaying and neutering pets. And if you live in Florida, you can purchase a Florida Animal Friend specialty license plate to help support spay and neuter programs. Every little bit helps, so get involved today and make a difference in the lives of cats and dogs in shelters.