How to Help: October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month!
Maybe you're like me and have a full house and aren't sure how to support the cause of animal adoptions, even though you believe in it. After all, who wouldn't want to help find homes for the thousand of adoptable pets in our overcrowded shelters?
Local shelters are always looking for volunteers for walking dogs or easing overcrowding with foster homes. Fostering lets you help several pets instead of just one or two you may be able to provide a forever home to. These programs often provide supplies and training.
Use Your Social Network
Think proactively about someone you could see needing a pet and talk to them about adopting. Remind them of the benefits of having a workout buddy, a child's playmate that provides an educational experience and teaches responsibility, or a companion for your favorite senior citizen.
If you can't think of someone specifically to approach, blog about adoption if you have one. Do a Facebook post with a link to your shelter's web page to elevate this worthy cause in the public's consciousness. Look for cute pets on PetFinder.com and pin them on Pinterest. Tweet. All of these things can make a difference.
Shelters always have a cash flow issue. Participate in your shelter's fund raisers, and donate yourself. Some even offer estate donation programs. Many people feel that if they can't donate a lot, it doesn't make a difference. But many organizations would appreciate the synergy and support of a large army of small donors rather than a single large donation that may or may not be sustainable. Most everyone can afford to donate that extra dollar to help homeless pets that some retailers offer. It all adds up!
As stated before, if you can't help financially, donate your time. Shelters love volunteers, and you will love the joy of sharing this valuable resource helping others!
If you have room in your heart and in your home, carefully consider the joys of adopting your own shelter dog or dogs (or other animal!) If you are looking for a particular breed, you can be put on a waiting list or try some of the breed-specific rescues. Of course there is a lot of charm to the all-American mutt too!
There is a lot of information out there on what to do to prepare for a new pet and how to adjust once your new friend arrives. The shelters are so interested in helping this process be as smooth as possible that they often offer post adoption counseling services. It's very important for all involved to be committed as lives are on the line.
Do you have stories about adopting a shelter dog? Tips? Triumphs? We'd love to hear from you!