In SIT, STAY, LOVE, a large-scale dog fighting ring covering several Midwestern states is exposed, creating national media attention. The High Grove Animal Shelter steps forward to take in some of the abused dogs, dedicating countless hours to care for and retrain them in an off-site location until they are ready and able to be adopted into loving homes. If this sounds like a real-life event that you heard about on TV, well, you probably have. All too often, illegal dog fighting rings are exposed, and some are larger in scale than others. When this happens, area shelters and caring individuals are instrumental in saving animals’ lives with the help and services they provide.
Often, whether it’s due to natural disasters, large scale animal abuse cases, hoarding, or similar scenarios, shelters become saturated with newly homeless animals. When this happens, not only is adequate space a concern but available funds are rapidly depleted.
Whether it comes about because of a media story or simply because you want to connect with homeless animals and the people who care for them, there are still many ways to support your local shelters. Here are five inexpensive and fun ways to make a big difference even if you aren’t ready to adopt:
🐾 Getting ready to host a party? Make it count!
- Turn an upcoming birthday party, book club, or other fun gathering into a supply or donation drive. Invite guests to bring on-hand households items for a supply drive, or, in lieu of a gift, to contribute toward a monetary donation toward your local shelter.
- If you’re hesitant to verbalize such a request, this is a great thing to include in a printed or virtual invitation. For virtual invitations, include a link to the shelter you’re supporting. For printed invitations, stop by the shelter and pick up a handful of brochures to include. Perhaps you’ll create some new life supporters for your chosen shelter.
- Be sure to include a copy of your shelter’s supply wish list. Often people have items like blankets, towels, and cleaning supplies on hand and don’t have to outlay either money or time to make a helpful donation. Also, many shelters have Amazon wish lists in addition to a page on their websites.
🐾 Become a shelter volunteer.
- Most shelters welcome volunteers and allow you to make your own time commitments, as little or as much as you’d like. If you’re worried your shelter experience might be more traumatic than you hope to experience, don’t be afraid to say this right off the bat. Caring staff will be happy to direct you to lighter cases.
- And remember, there are many ways to help as a volunteer, from working in gift shops, grooming cats and walking dogs, to tossing balls to dogs in play yards. These experiences will leave you feeling warm and happy and will help make a positive difference.
🐾 Ready to connect with shelter animals but not ready to adopt? Consider a short term or trial foster program. Even if your life is hectic and you aren’t in the space to adopt an animal for life, fostering makes a big difference, especially during natural disasters. Committing to a weekend, a few weeks, or even a full summer can make a big difference in animals’ lives and help free up space in shelters, giving all shelter animals their best chance at being adopted.
🐾 Share your talents. Whether they’re derived from a hobby or a career, shelters can benefit from your talents.
- If you’re crafty, then perhaps crochet, knit, sew (or assemble in whatever way you choose) a bagful of tug and pounce toys for the kenneled dogs and cats who will welcome the fresh new scents and distractions. Many inexpensive and easy-to-make ideas are online.
- If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can offer your construction services. From simple cat trees to building maintenance, projects abound in shelters.
- Smaller shelters can almost always use skilled/professional services like marketing, accounting, and legal services, too.
🐾 Consider showing your appreciation for your local shelter’s hardworking staff and volunteers. For folks working in small nonprofits like shelters, hours are often long, and other than the love of their four-legged friends, tight budgets usually don’t provide a ton of perks to those on payroll. And think outside the box. There are many ways to help including pampering staff and volunteers with snacks, hand lotions, flowers, scarfs and gloves during cold weather and sunscreen and popsicles in warm weather, or provide staff and volunteers lunch for a day. This boost of happy energy they receive will trickle down to the animals, too.
It’s been love at first bark for Debbie Burns’s heartwarming new romance series for dog lovers
When a large group of dogs are rescued from a deadly situation, shelter worker Kelsey Sutton volunteers to care for them. It means she’ll be working alongside a sexy, ex-military dog handler who has mysterious dark eyes and an inability to relax…
After eight years of military service, Kurt Crawford is committed to keeping his heart locked away. He only takes off his emotional armor for the four-legged creatures who always have his back. But as Kurt gets to know the compassionate and beautiful shelter worker he’s been assigned to work with, he can’t help but let down his guard.
Kurt’s job is only temporary, and he’s never been one to stick around for long. Can he take off his armor and bare himself to Kelsey once and for all, or do his old wounds still run too deep?
Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: April 1, 2018, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492650867 / eISBN: 9781492650874]