Animal rescue organizations operate across America with the goal of finding permanent, loving homes for the animals that they have rescued from a variety of unfortunate situations. Most private animal shelters and animal rescue centers are nonprofit organizations, which means that their efforts are predominantly funded through donations, voluntary services and community contributions. If you want to make a difference in the lives of animals, helping one of your local animal rescue groups to help their furry charges will be rewarding for the animal lover in you and for the rescues that benefit.
Open Your Home to a Foster Pet
You may wish that you could adopt every animal that needs a home. A more feasible option is to provide a foster home. Many animal rescue centers are operating with limited space to house the animals that they rescue, which in turn limits the number of animals that they can save. Foster homes provide safe havens where rescued animals can be temporarily housed, cared for and socialized while awaiting their forever homes.
Volunteer As a Caretaker
Most rescue organizations are always in need of volunteers to feed, clean and socialize the animals. These duties may be performed in an animal shelter environment, in a pet supply store where animals are displayed for adoption or in the wild, such as feeding and monitoring a feral cat colony. These volunteers may also lend their assistance at adoption events.
Organize a Supply Drive
Check with your employer, local school and library to see if you can hold a supply drive for a local animal rescue group. Once you have permission to use a venue, find out which supplies your chosen organization needs the most. Place a large carton in a prominent location, decorate the box with an eye-catching poster that indicates its purpose and generate letters, emails and social media posts to announce the drive. Be sure to furnish information about the organization, determine a deadline date for the collection and provide a list of needed supplies. Remind donors that their contributions are tax deductible.
Offer Your Talents and Services
If cleaning cages is not for you, volunteer your services in other ways. If you are a veterinarian, offer to provide basic care to the group’s animals at a deeply discounted price. If you are a writer, offer to write descriptions of the animals that are available for adoption. As a graphic artist, design posters and flyers that promote upcoming adoption or fundraising events. You can offer to help with organizing fundraising events, and ask how you can be of assistance on the day of an event. Any helpful talents that you have to offer contribute toward maintaining hope for paws.
Donate, Donate, Donate
In today’s strained economy, not everyone has the extra disposable income to hand over, but animal rescue groups need more than just cash. If you are not sure what to do with the nearly full bag of new food that your cat snubbed, donate it to provide meals to some other cats. Any pet supplies and household linens that you are no longer using will be used in these facilities, including the following:
- Food, including prescription diets
- Food and water bowls
- Litter boxes
- Cat litter
- Cat carriers
- Elimination pads
- Scratching posts and cat furniture
- Pet medications that are not outdated
- Nursing bottles
- Cleaning supplies, such as bleach and paper towels
If you have an old vehicle that you need to dispose of, donate the car for cash that can be sent directly to the rescue group. Some retail companies raise hope for paws by donating a portion of the proceeds from their customers’ purchases to specific animal rescue centers and animal shelters.
Sign Up For Feedings
Every spring, cat rescue groups are inundated with kitten season. Some of the youngest kittens that are rescued were orphaned and need to be bottle-fed every couple of hours. Inform your local cat rescue group that you are willing to foster a litter of these little rescues that require this care around the clock. The organization will add your name to a list and contact you as the need arises.
There are breed-specific rescue groups that focus on keeping a particular breed of dog or cat out of the kill shelters and finding them new homes. There are also general rescue groups that take in any creature, great or small. Some rescue groups try to help any animal in a particular group, such as cats, horses, ferrets and rabbits. Whichever animal tugs the hardest at your heartstrings, find a local rescue organization for that animal where you can lend your compassion to help them attain better lives and happier days ahead.