18 Things Animal Shelters Desperately Need Right Now
Animal shelters and rescues largely depend on the kindness and generosity of animal lovers. These are the things they desperately need to help deserving animals find forever homes.
Though shelters are generally staffed and funded by municipalities and rescues are primarily funded by donations and staffed by volunteers, both struggle to provide the resources needed to save the lives of animals and help them find forever homes. Of course, money is always desperately needed, but there are countless other ways to help. Here’s what some shelters and rescues say they desperately need from you. No pet lover will want to miss these before-and-after dog-adoption photos that will melt your heart.
Have a heart for animals, but can’t commit to being a permanent pet parent? Animal shelters and rescues desperately need foster parents to provide a loving and nurturing home to help prepare animals for adoption. A recent study showed that dogs who lived in foster homes had increased odds of getting adopted; after spending time in a nurturing home, animals are happier and healthier and ready for adoption. Most rescues and shelters pay for the food, supplies, medical bills, and even training the animal needs while in foster care. “When you foster, you become a lifeline of support and an advocate for pets without owners,” says Kristin Hassen-Auerbach, director of animal services at the Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, Arizona.
Roxann Waters wears many hats as a volunteer for Pitter Patter Feline Rescue in Stamford, Connecticut—including fostering kittens. Another role she often fills is “photographer.” Pictures are hugely important, especially for animal rescues that don’t have a shelter where people can visit. Prospective pet parents are looking for that heart-tugging photo of a friendly and relaxed animal looking into the camera. Waters often visits the home of other foster parents to take pictures.”Good photos are important for social media since we don’t have a shelter. Those pictures are how we market the kittens,” Waters says. If you have an eye for capturing an animal’s potential, ask if your local shelter needs someone to take pictures. You could capture a happy ending just like these heart-tugging before and after cat adoption photos.
Process adoption applications
Shelters and rescues top priority is caring for the basic needs of animals, like feeding, grooming, walking, training, and cleaning kennels. While a municipal shelter has employees that help carry the load, rescues are usually staffed by a few dedicated volunteers. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to answer email and process adoption applications, even though adoption is the primary goal. Volunteers comb applications ensuring deserving pets find a well-suited home, and that takes time and training.
Social media manager
Years ago, a visit to a local animal shelter was the first step in finding a furry friend—today, the search for a dog or cat often starts online rather than visiting a shelter or rescue. Facebook and Instagram are indispensable for showcasing the animals available for adoption, so first impressions count. Waters also manages the social media accounts for Pitter Patter. “I come up with different content every day. It can be important facts on how to keep your cat safe or showcase the kittens we have adoption,” says Waters. Social media has also helped turn the heartbreak of a lost pet into sweet reunions.
Speaking of social media, if you love to share funny memes, uplifting-quotes, and viral posts, consider following your local shelters social media accounts. When you see a post of a pet that is looking for a forever family in your feed, share it; sharing the stories of animals for adoption is an easy way to help animals find forever homes. And it makes a bigger impact than you think. “When you share posts, pets get adopted,” says Hassen-Auerbach. Here’s something else worth sharing—13 things shelters dogs wish you knew.
Play with animals
Most pets living in shelters spend 23 hours or more of their time in their kennel, says Hassen-Auerbach. That’s a heartbreaking amount of time for pets, especially those who have just lost their family for a variety of reasons. “Volunteers provide much needed-exercise, enrichment, and love for dogs and cats and help them find their new homes,” says Hassen-Auerbach. Whether it is dog walking, cat enrichment, or even grooming, volunteers lend a hand in providing desperately needed time out of the kennel, socialization, and love. More than toys and treats, these are the things your dog really wants from you.
Some animals need special treatments
“There are several dogs in the SPCA of Texas’ care who need special treatment before they can find their forever home,” says Jessica Benavides, SPCA of Texas. For example, one pup, Cupcake, came to the SPCA from a cruelty case and with a fractured jaw, so her food has to be soaked in water and mixed with paste for her to eat it. She is in need of a specialist to fix her jaw. Donations pay for daily needs such as food and routine immunizations, but money is also desperately needed for special treatments such as Cupcakes. No pet lover will want to miss these before-and-after dog-adoption photos that will melt your heart.
Foster pregnant moms and litter
One of the most challenging and rewarding foster assignments is fostering expectant dogs and cats. Moms and litters are less stressed in a caring foster home than a noisy shelter. Plus, newborns have limited immunity, and living in a foster home helps protect them from disease and illness. Laura Klink, a public information manager at the Oregon Humane Society, says there is always a need for foster parents of pregnant cats and dogs, especially larger breed dogs, that require more space. If you can’t resist puppies, you’ll swoon over the 50 cutest dog breeds as puppies.
Shop for a good cause
Cash is king, but shelters won’t bite the hand that shops on Amazon. Check to see if your shelter participates in the AmazonSmile program. It’s an easy way to donate money to a shelter or rescue and it doesn’t cost you a dime. Simply shop on Amazon using the AmazonSmile link provided by your local shelter, and the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of your purchases to the shelter or rescue. Or if writing a check seems impersonal, ask your shelter for its Amazon Wish List link and pick and choose the items you would like to purchase and donate.