Last week’s post was more, how do I put this, controversial than I anticipated it would be. I really can’t imagine anyone will find fault in today’s topic though! I read through countless articles and petitions over the past week trying to decide what I wanted this week’s post to be about, but after Sunday afternoon, I knew what I wanted to focus on: reaching out to your community. It’s all about how you can get involved in your community.
It is incredibly easy for one person to make a difference. My “Take Action” challenge this week is to find one simple way to do something for homeless or needy animals in your community. Perhaps the simplest way would be to donate money. I highly, highly recommend looking for a local rescue. If you don’t know of one, try googling “(name of your city) dog rescue”. Have a favorite breed? Search for “(favorite breed) rescue”. You want to make sure that it is a 501(c)3 because that means they are non-profit, and operate off of donations, with no money going to fund political ventures like lobbying. Take a few minutes and look over their site. Often times they will even have a “wish list” of some sort with items that they are in need of. Who knows, they might just be desperate for blankets and you happen to have quite a few extras that are crowding your hall closet. You could clean out your closet, make a needed donation, and not even spend a penny!
Speaking of blankets, did you know that most Animal Controls are operated on extremely limited funds? Some only have enough money in the budget for the salaries of officers, utilities, and euthanasia. You know what’s missing from that list? Food, toys, veterinary care, and even blankets for cold winter nights. No, not all are that bad, but some are and they might just be in your back yard (this was true for me, and let me tell you, it was quite a shock when I learned it.) Try googling “(name of your city) animal control”. Look for the budget, it’s public record, and you might just be surprised at what you find. They will appreciate your old blankets. Or maybe you plan to get your dog a new bed for Christmas? Give them your old one! Notice a sale on dog food at your grocery store? Pick up a bag or two.
Another great way to help at Animal Control’s is to volunteer your time, just to do something as simple as walk the dogs. Did you know that often times the only way the dogs get out of their kennel is if volunteers come and let them out? It’s a sad reality, but most of the time these places have employees that are overworked. Simply walking the dogs is sometimes a luxury that they don’t have time to for. And it’s the dogs that really suffer in these situations. Imagine the pent up energy and stress that many dogs could be relieved of simply by getting them out into the fresh air and a little exercise. While you are walking them, maybe practice a few basic commands like “sit”. Knowing a few tricks, not to mention being calmer and less stressed, is PROVEN to make dogs SIGNIFICANTLY more adoptable!
Planning to stay home for the holidays? Been considering the idea of fostering but just not sure if you’re ready for that commitment? Reach out to the local rescue that you just found and offer to temporary foster for them. What does that mean? Often times foster families travel for the holidays and the rescue needs a family to take the dog from anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks while the normal foster is traveling. The beauty of this is that while fostering is temporary in the sense that the dog will only be with you until it is adopted, there really is no way to know exactly how long that will take. By “temp” fostering, you will actually know exactly how long you will have the dog! Plus, it’s is a great way to see if you are actually up for fostering or not. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s just a few days out of your life, but who knows? It might inspire you to become a regular foster and save countless lives!
Heard of a friend, coworker, or member of your church that might be down on their luck? Maybe it’s your cousin’s-hairdresser’s-mailman’s-sister. Instead of just gossiping over the water cooler, figure out how to get in touch with this person and offer to help. It might take nothing more than a couple of bags of dog food, some flea preventative, and help finding a veterinary clinic to keep a family intact and a dog out of a shelter. Can’t afford to buy these things yourself but still want to help this person? Reach out to that rescue that you found and see if they would be willing to help you help that person. Seriously. It is SO much easier to help a family that already loves their dog keep it safely in their home rather than hope to find that dog a new home after the family has turned the dog over to a shelter where it can suffer emotional trauma.
None of those sounding up your alley? What about contacting that rescue and asking for a printable version of their foster brochure to pass out at work or leave on the counter at your local coffee shop? Maybe they have printable flyers you could hang at your favorite pet store. What about asking for a magnet to put on your cars thus rendering yourself a mobile advertisement?
Still nothing jumping out at you? How about the all-time easiest way ever to help out: hit the share button! If you live in the northern part of Florida, you could share this post which is full of adoptable dogs. Share a picture from the Facebook page of the local rescue you found. But please, keep try to keep it local. Everyone wants to share that picture of a terribly sad dog located on the opposite side of the United States, but think about it, if you are seeing it, how many other people have already seen it as well? This is called “going viral”. Sure, it’s fantastic for that dog but lots of times by the time you have seen that picture, the dog has already been adopted! I’m not saying never to do it, just keep in mind that there are so many dogs in need that never make it to the lime light because their story just doesn’t have the drama to “go viral”. This certainly doesn’t make them any less deserving though, does it? Remember, sharing is caring (not to mention quick, easy, and free!) Take action!
If any of these gorgeous dogs caught your eye, please email me at morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com. They would like nothing more than a home of their very own for the holidays!