So… After fourteen posts (fourteen! we made it past the halfway mark, people!) you’ve decided that rescuing isn’t for you—but you still want to help. Here’s a list of ways—spanning from the creative to the simplest to the budget-friendly (and even the no-budget)—to help you help them.
Like Nike... Just do it.
Help me shower love & good wishes on Susan Brody (of TheArtOfNotGettingPublished; her A2Z on the Middle Ages is well worth a hop over, by the way), who just adopted a rescue dog on Saturday. Susan, you made my month! All happy things for you, for your family, and for this luckiest of dogs. WE WANT PHOTOS!
Remember the seniors
Everyone wants the puppies, no one wants the grizzled muzzles. But these older guys are the ones that most need your affection. (As a reward, you get to skip right over the nightmare of puppy training.)
Can’t add a dog to your lifestyle permanently? Consider doing it temporarily. Plus, all costs are covered by the shelter or rescue organization (food, medical, etc.).
No room for a dog in your life at all? How about becoming the fun aunt or uncle? Shelters & rescue organizations are always scraping the financial barrel, so any salaries they save mean more funds go towards the animals. There’s plenty to do: anything from bathing dogs to walking them to giving medication to answering phones. And it’s at your convenience, from once in a while to every day, depending on your schedule.
Every cent helps, but it doesn’t have to be money. Kibble, HeartGard, anti-tick and -flea protection, shampoo, old towels and/or bedsheets, toys, treats, leashes, collars, food bowls—all of these, and pretty much anything else you can think of, make a huge difference.
(For the crafters among you, these could be cool projects.)
You can pledge to cover the costs of a dog’s upkeep. In many shelters, especially in large cities, this is the key to saving a life. Dogs get a certain period of time to either be adopted, go to a foster, or find a pledge; if none of these happen, they’ll be put down.
Let your vet know you’re willing to help out a dog owner who can’t afford a necessary treatment for their dog. Be as general or specific as you like: maybe you want to sponsor a sterilization surgery, or the first batch of vaccines for a litter of puppies. Maybe you want to keep it on a case by case basis. It’s up to you. (If you don’t have a house vet, check with local shelters for some suggestions.)
Become a home-finder
Help your local shelter or rescue organization promote the animals ready for adoption. This can be as easy as talking to your friends (and asking them to talk to their friends), or designing flyers, or talking to a local magazine or newspaper about running a (free) ad featuring a weekly dog, or... Any other cool ideas?
Put your unique skills to work
If you’re an accountant, volunteer to help out with the shelter’s admin. If you’re a graphic artist, maybe you can design some cool posters to promote adoption or raise funds. If you’re in PR, help them organize their next fundraiser. If you’re a lawyer, you could volunteer to help with legal issues, or get involved in lobbying for animal-friendly legislation. If you’re in construction, volunteer as a handyman once a month. If you’re a social media maven, maybe you can help run their Facebook and Twitter pages. If you’re a writer, you could write copy for them: leaflets, flyers, ads, their website. Whatever you’re good at, I guarantee it can save lives.
And, last but certainly not least:
Avoid pet shops that sell puppies
Even if you’re just buying fish food, or a leash for your niece’s stuffed poodle, please buy it from a store that doesn’t sponsor the breeding industry. (Commercial breeding is the largest single factor responsible for the dog overpopulation problem we have today.)
There you have it, folks. If this list got you brainstorming, share your ideas in the comments and I'll add them to the list.
Thanks a million for the visit, and happy 2nd half of A2Z!
P.S.—We have a FAQ session coming up on Wednesday, for Q. If you have any questions, feel free to include them in a comment and I'll do my best to get you an answer. And, if I can't get it by Wednesday, I'll post about it as soon as I do—'cause it's bound to be something interesting :)