The power of kindness goes a long way. Although sharing a little of your hard-earned cash can go far in keeping animals healthy and well-fed in shelters, they badly need your love, care, and presence as well. Wondering how you can help out dogs in need? There are many creative, fun and wonderful ways animal lovers of all ages can do to help out at their local shelters.

Kids

There’s certainly no age limit when it comes to donating time at the shelter. If you have kids or younger siblings who are eager to show their love to many homeless pooches, here are three things they can do with you:

  1. Take charge of a donation drive. Homeless animals need all kinds of pet supplies such as food, tick and flea shampoos, supplements, chew dog toys and treats, and leashes. Help kids set up donation drive at school by writing a letter to the principal and detailing the plan and importance of such donation drives.
  2. Start a fundraising activity. Organize and host a bake sale to raise funds for the animal shelter. If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, put on your baking hat and bake some goodies to sell with your siblings or children. Post your fundraising activity on Facebook and Instagram. Ask your family, friends, and colleagues to support your bake sale for a cause.
  3. Educate the kids in your neighborhood. Some pets suffer because their owners, especially the little ones, are not well-versed in proper pet care. Small children, for instance, might slip their dogs chocolate constantly. Get your children or siblings to round up their friends and teach them some valuable pet care tips.

Teens And Adults

Though dogs are loving and sweet animals, it’s inevitable that they end up with owners who are not able to take care of them. Sadly, they end up joining the thousands of animals in shelters who need a loving home. Here’s how you can show some love to them:

  1. Celebrate your birthday at the shelter. Let the dogs and cats enjoy a wonderful afternoon filled with hugs and chew treats from the birthday celebrant — you! Instead of giving you gifts, family and friends can donate to shelters.
  2. Write your way to raising awareness and funds. Do you love to write? Why not use your talent in writing to help out local shelters in their marketing efforts? Write wonderful, touching content on adopting dogs and what other people in your community can do to help. Social media can help a lot, so don’t forget to share your words on Facebook or Instagram to get the word out.
  3. Volunteer at shelters. It’s a sad fact that in any shelter, there are more animals than volunteers who can give them the love, care and attention they badly need. You can do your part by donating your time. Clean their crates, feed them, refill their bowls, pet them and even play with them.

Senior Citizens

When kids leave the nest, older people often find themselves with a lot of time on their hands. If you have been looking for ways to add some happiness to your long, humdrum days, the animal shelter could use some help! Here are ways you can assist:

  1. Believe in second chances. We know it sounds like some corny, romantic movie but older dogs need love, too! Senior dogs are ideal for older people with quiet homes because they need a less stressful environment. Reach out to private organizations like Helping Paws Animal Shelter (located in Woodstock, IL) that have senior to senior programs.
  2. Foster a pet. Some pets don’t get adopted because of behavioral issues. But most dogs and cats shun aggressive behavior if they’re taken away from shelters and given love and care even for a little while or until they find their forever home. According to Petfinder.com, fostering is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.
  3. Bring out that dusty sewing machine. Got some old sweaters you don’t need? You can turn them into cat or dog beds. Need some help making it? Take a look at this tutorial on how to convert sweaters to pet beds.

More Ways To Help Animal Shelters

If you love animals, but can’t foster or adopt one, there are still many simple ways to give back to our loyal and loving furry pals. Whether you have all the time in the world or available on weekends or after school, you can make a huge difference in their lives.

Donate Simple Items

Because of the sheer number of animals that are in shelters, they’re always in need of the following items:

  • Pet food – Most of the money the shelter earns goes towards their food. Your simple donation will go a long way. The money that usually goes towards buying food can then be used for animals who are in need of medical care and maintenance.
  • Nursing bottles and milk formula for pups and kittens – Some little ones get separated from their mothers and need to be bottle fed.
  • Grooming supplies – From medicated shampoos to brushes, dirty rescued dogs and cats come in all the time. Shelters also need these supplies to keep them clean, not to mention flea and tick-free while staying at the shelter.
  • Crates – Got some crates that your dogs don’t need anymore? Don’t just put them in your garage. Crates are badly needed at shelters. Go around your neighborhood and find out who isn’t using theirs as well.
  • Heating pads – Recuperating dogs and young ones need these to keep them warm.
  • Blankets and towels – Don’t throw out your old towels and blankets just yet. These are all badly needed at shelters.

Learn More About Non-Profit Organizations

There are many non-profit organizations in the US that are focused on ensuring the safety and well-being of animals. Take a look at the organizations we featured in our blog. Our Rescue Spotlight category aims to promote these organizations and get more people to donate or volunteer. Each shelter has their own mission, from helping find a senior dog its forever home to rescuing pets from euthanasia.

There’s so much you can do to help out these shelters. Here at Pawstruck, for instance, we recently donated 200 tins of our Ruff Relief Moisturizing Nose & Paw Balm to the Military Working Dog Team Support Association. These tins of balms will help protect military dogs’ paws and noses against harsh weather conditions. It’s an example of how an act of thoughtfulness and kindness goes a long way for those in need.

Provide Transportation

Did you know that shelters often need transportation to take dogs and cats to their forever homes? It could be an hour-long drive…it could go farther than that. And most often, shelters are looking for volunteers who would happily drive them to wherever their destination is. If you love taking out of town trips and would love some furry company, consider this as one exciting way to make a difference in a dog’s (or cat) life.

Share Your Skills and Talent

Are you a highly-experienced event organizer? Lend your skills to the paw community and help organize a charity event for your local shelters. This is an excellent way of getting people and businesses from your community to help out and get to know each other as well. Writers, graphic designers, and website developers can help spruce up the shelter’s website. It’s not just creative people who can share their skills. Accountants who have previously worked for other non-profit organizations, for example, can lend a hand in managing the shelter’s books. Builders, painters, or anyone in the construction business can help build furniture, repair sheds, or paint the facade.

In conclusion, there are so many ways to help your local shelters aside from fostering or adopting. Dog are some of the most loyal creatures we know. In fact, Josh Billings, a 19th-century humorist, once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” And it couldn’t be truer! We hope we were able to inspire you to reach out to animal shelters near you and make a difference in a dog’s life.