Help them stay out of the shelter in the first place!
Spay and neuter (or fundraise for spay/neuter programs.)
Trap, neuter, return (TNR) feral kitties.
Support your local pet food pantry. You might be surprised who comes to them for help.
Volunteer for (or start) an AniMeals program in your community.
Pitch in at a fencing project so a dog that was on a chain can be safe (and one step closer to indoors.)
Volunteer at a community wellness clinic for pets.
Visit an elementary classroom and talk to young people about being a good friend to animals. Kindness starts early.
Use Your Talents!
If you can sew, quilt, crochet, knit or even braid, make beds and blankets for homeless animals.
Good with a hammer and saw? Build a house for cats, paint a dog house or help create a canine obstacle course.
Offer to take flattering photos of adoptable pets.
Invite your pals over for a cat scratch party. Gather carpet scraps and wood (or whatever tickles your cat fancy) and donate the results.
Give Your Time
Are you in communications? Write a press release or an opinion piece or a newspaper article about your favorite shelter or rescue.
Give Your Time
Volunteer to walk, pet, read to or play with animals.
Offer to clean kennels. It’s not fun, but someone has to do it. A clean environment makes for happier, healthier pets.
Help train adoptable pups. A dog that already knows basic commands is going to the more desirable option for families!
Spruce it up! Round up friends of coworkers and offer to have a makeover day. Clean, paint, show off your best handyperson skills.
There are so many small but important tasks to handle that don’t require special knowledge. Pack goodie bags. Make copies. Answer simple email questions. Take down phone messages. Move food. Do laundry. Two hours to you could be life-saving for them. Just ask!
Make kitty safe houses for strays and feral cats. One of the greatest needs for rescues, is people who will regularly help at adoption events. Committing to once a month (or more) means less time spent training for the organization and more confidence for you.
One of the greatest needs for rescues, is people who will regularly help at adoption events. Committing to once a month (or more) means less time spent training for the organization and more confidence for you.
Organize a drive in your school, job, church or neighborhood to collect pet food, blankets, and other supplies.
Give a portion (or all) of the proceeds of your next yard or garage sale to your favorite group.
Ask your employer if you can put out a collection jar. You can even have a competition between departments, floors or ‘friendly’ companies.
See if your company does a match program. Many companies will match their employee’s cash donations – and sometimes time – to a nonprofit.
Partner with a local restaurant to plan and host a ‘foodraiser’ where a percent of revenue, or tips, are donated.
Some grocery stores (and Amazon) will give money to your favorite nonprofit when you shop with them. Does yours?
Jeans day event at work. Talk to your boss to allow employees to wear jeans for a cost, donate that money to a local shelter or rescue.
Fund raise with a bake sale. Work with your neighborhood school or your child’s PTO to organize a bake sale to benefit homeless pets in your community. This is a great way to educate children on the topic, create community buzz around available pets, and help provide funding to the animal organizations that need it most.
Do It From Home
Foster a mama dog and her puppies. Nobody wants to have their babies in a scary shelter! Plus, puppies!
Bottle feed newborn kittens. Sometimes these babies end up without their mom and they need a bit of extra care.
Educate. Share your knowledge – politely, and when asked (of course). Explain why spay and neuter is important, why microchips are lifesaving, why heartworm prevention is so important, why dogs need to be socialized and why kitties are healthier when they live indoors.
Distribute flyers for low-cost spay and neuter programs to residents in low-income neighborhoods.
Challenge a senior community or church group to craft pet beds to donate to shelters.
When you replace your gently used leash and collars, donate them.
If you’re changing your bedroom décor, give old comforters and blankets to the animals.
Gather all those single socks, fill them with empty plastic water bottles and give them to your local shelter. Dogs love to crunch them!
Do It Online
Ask local grocery or box stores if they’ll donate ripped bags of pet food which you can then collect monthly and deliver to pantries in the area.
Thank the people who do the daily work. A simple “thanks for all you do!” on a Facebook page can do wonders on a hard day.
Share an adoptable pet on social media. We’d all love to have time and resources for unlimited dogs and cats, but the reality is we don’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t share. You never know which of your friends might be looking to add to the family.
Give From Your Heart
A post with a lot of ‘likes’ is judged to be ‘valuable’ by Facebook’s algorithms so don’t feel bad liking!
Every dollar counts. If you don’t have much in the way of extra funds, collect recyclables and return for cash, then donate.
Save your change and every quarter convert it to bills to donate.
We all know a cat’s favorite toy is the nearest box, but they like balls and toy mice too. Consider picking some up at the dollar store.
Buy BOGO Bowl and feed a homeless dog or cat without any extra time or cost on your part. Easy peasy!
Support pet-friendly businesses. Many companies try to help by contributing items to fundraisers or collecting donations.
Give an adoption gift certificate to a friend looking for a new pet!
Sponsor a pet – especially an animal that will need to stay longer such as a senior or a medical case.
Drop off new water or food bowls.
Like to drive? Sometimes an adoptable animal is in one place and his new family is another (like BOGO Bowl dog Chance who came to Des Moines from Topeka). Offer to drive a leg of a transport!
You don’t have to drive long distances to help on transports. Some legs are just an hour or two!
There’s even a group that transports dogs in privately-owned small planes. Have one?
Money isn't everything
Be a good role model. Show the world how animals should be treated. You never know who’s watching!