Ways to Help your local shelter

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on October 13, 2010 with No Comments

Top ten ways to help your local shelter

You do not have to be an animal expert to help out at your community’s shelter. You just need to have the time and desire to lend a helping hand. And it does not have to take up a lot of your time, either. In fact, whatever you do for a living, you are bound to have skills and talents that your local shelter can use.

– Go to school – Dog school, that is. Grab a handful of tasty treats, find a suitable canine and get to class. Helping teach shelter dogs to sit, stay, walk calmly on a leash or shake paws will make them infinitely more adoptable.

– Get your shelter online – Can you give your community’s homeless animals the “cybershelter” advantage? This is a wonderful way for teens who are not yet old enough to become volunteers to get involved. They can take photos and write descriptions of the animals with staff assistance, and help keep the shelter’s online list of available animals current. Animals’ photos and descriptions can also be posted in public areas at work, school and around town.

– Adopt ASPCA’s Meet Your Match – Ask your shelter to adopt ASPCA’s Meet Your Match, a program expertly designed to help adopters select the right pet for them. The program’s Adopter Survey and “Canine-ality,” “Puppy-ality” or “Feline-ality” Assessment and fun color-coding system fit together like the pieces of a puzzle, creating picture-perfect adoptions for shelter animals and their new owners.

– Let’s make it legal – Shelters always seem to be in need of volunteers with professional legal skills. Dixie Dixon, a corporate lawyer who joined the board of the Pennsylvania SPCA, got started by reviewing copyright notices of a video about euthanasia, and she has since joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

– Work it, baby – Designate a day for co-workers to donate spare change or pool their tips for the benefit of the shelter. Make it an event and publicize it with flyers and signs, and remind everyone about the important work that the shelter does. A restaurant might ask local celebrities to volunteer as wait staff for the evening with regular staff assisting. A hair salon might time their event to coordinate with the shelter’s “dog wash” benefit to promote well-groomed pets and owners. Or your company, for example, might sponsor a Saturday car wash.

– Cats up close and “Purrsonal” – You may want to satisfy your need for feline contact by spending time socializing with shelter cats. “Our volunteers are dedicated to making the cats purr,” explains Connie Barker, a volunteer with Friends of San Clemente Animals in California. And based on input from “feline socializers,” adoptions counselors can make better placements.

– Do you have the write stuff? – Then write or start a newsletter. It is a great way to keep members, supporters, adopters and the public informed about what the shelter does and what it needs. If you are not so verbally inclined, you might prefer the designing and publishing end of it, or work on creating or updating the mailing list. Be sure to include heartwarming stories and a donation envelope.

– Throw a party – Organize an event for all your friends, and donate the proceeds to the shelter. Any kind of social event – a Super Bowl party, a jazz brunch or a dog walk – is a great way to make new friends and raise money. Each year as the word gets out, more people are bound to attend, and before you know it, and your group will have a major fund-raising event.

– If you had a hammer – If you are handy, you are hired. Shelters often rely on volunteers for their maintenance and upgrade needs as well. Modest projects might include a jungle-gym-style cattery, complete with tree branches or carpeted columns for climbing.

– The numbers game – Shelters on a shoestring budget can reap enormous benefits from the guidance of a caring accountant. To operate smoothly, any not-for-profit must keep good records, but if you add animal control contracts and the reports for state and local departments, it can all seem overwhelming – except to an accountant.

This information was provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Their mission, as stated by their founder, Henry Bergh, in 1866, is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.

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