Helping Animals In Need

October 16, 2019

If you are reading this blog, it’s probably because you care a lot about animals – the dogs at your local shelter, abused farm animals from a recent hoarding case, the cat colony in your neighborhood, or endangered animals around the world. And perhaps you’re interested in learning how to help animals in need, both in big and (seemingly) small ways. So we have dedicated this month’s post to the helpers – the people who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of our animal friends, and joining us in our dedication to helping those who need our support.

It’s important to understand that everyone can contribute to bettering the lives of animals, regardless of how much money you have, how much time you have, where you live, or any other factor. There is always a beautiful opportunity to be of service.

As we highlight various avenues for helping animals, let’s think about these three things:
– What animals (or causes) are you most passionate about?
– What service is the best fit for your availability and interest?
– What skills/talents would you most like to utilize, or grow?

With that, let’s discuss some ways you can be of service and make a big difference in the lives of animals in need.

Volunteer
Volunteering for animals includes endless possibilities, locally, nationally, and globally. You can help wash and fold laundry at an animal rescue, join your local shelter in TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) efforts for cat colonies, create fundraising events to support a worthy cause, or travel to join in animal rescue efforts during times of natural disaster. From your backyard to across the world, there are incredible opportunities to help organizations that support animals.

Consider the time you have to devote on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Do you prefer one-time events, like fundraisers, advocacy gatherings, or adoption events? Or would you rather provide ongoing support, like regularly volunteering at a shelter, gathering donations throughout the year, or perhaps walking the dog of a neighbor who has mobility challenges? There is no better or worse way to volunteer. Every effort is powerful, and moves mountains for those in need.

What skills do you have that you would like to utilize, or grow? Maybe you’re nervous about networking and talking to people, so you’d like to try fundraising to grow your skillset. Or maybe you have experience working on a farm, and would like to offer those talents to a nearby sanctuary or refuge that takes in abused and abandoned animals. Or perhaps you would like to stay behind a phone or computer and make calls for national animal welfare organizations. Think about what interests you the most, what works best for your schedule, and then have fun researching the various ways to give back in a meaningful way, for you.

Donate
Do you have the means to make contributions, personally or on behalf of your business? Well, the good (and bad) news is there are always animal welfare organizations, shelters, and rescues that need funding. Donations can be in the form of money, credit, land, supplies, and so much more. Every organization and cause has varying requests, so it’s best to check with them on what they need the most at any given time. And you can be as specific as you like when it comes to embarking on your mission. Are you inspired to help chihuahuas? Or elephants, sea lions, Arabian horses, or endangered species? Or perhaps you’d like to help families struggling to keep their pets after the loss of a job, or recent move. No matter what your favorite animal or cause is, there’s certainly an organization that’s trying to help and needs funds and resources.

If you own or operate a business, you can become a sponsor of an organization or event that helps animals, which would also provide you with company benefits, such as advertising, marketing, boosts in public relations, gifts, and much more.

Connect
Do you not have enough money or time to contribute in the way you desire? Not to worry, you still have endless opportunities to help animals in need! In fact, here’s a way to make a difference without spending additional funds AND is something you probably already do everyday: connect. Through email and social media, you have the power to educate about animal welfare, share news/updates from shelters and organizations when they have needs and requests, sign petitions for animal rights, share fundraisers and ask for donations, or simply write about your love of helping animals, urging others to join in your cause (and you can start with sharing this blog)! It takes very little time to post, tag, share, and Retweet animal welfare articles or donation requests on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. And these efforts can make a big impact.

Become an Advocate
Are you passionate about animal welfare, and would like to work towards having better policies that help animals at the local and national levels? Then advocacy is calling your name! Check out our recent blog, How To Become An Animal Advocate, to learn how to work with your elected officials to get laws passed that help to protect animals (and their families) and preserve and improve their rights. This typically starts with learning who your representatives are, then calling, emailing, and meeting them to let them know that animals policy is important to you.

Foster and Adopt
And last but definitely not least, fostering and adopting homeless animals is a fabulous way to help – and not just for the animals in need, but to the shelter or rescue that has been paying for them through providing food, medicine, care, and shelter. This is expensive work, and animals must be fostered and adopted to keep space available for other animals in need, and to allow funds and resources to be allocated to incoming animals. Foster families are always needed to take in animals that are not able to be in the shelters because they are sick and need one-on-one care, or because the animal cannot thrive in a shelter environment, or perhaps because the shelter is over-crowded. Stepping in as a foster or adoptive parent helps everyone in the community, and brings the wonderful gifts of love and companionship to you as well.

What do you plan to do in your next steps to help animals in need? What act of service best fits with your availability and interest? Which skills are you excited to utilize, or grow? However you choose to move forward, know it will be a beautiful gift to the animals (and people) that you serve. We need you, and all that you bring to the table, to help improve the lives of animals in our communities.