There are thousands of animal shelters, and most pets don’t get re-homed, with Dogwatch having to rescue ‘death row poundies’ for breeds that are difficult to adopt. The law says that councils must pay to kennel ‘found dogs’ for 7 days, and after that if not re-homed can legally be put to sleep. Other dogs are adopted from abroad, where welfare is not a priority. The best ways to help are to adopt (not buy) pets, and if safe to do so, have them spayed/neutered, to avoid over-breeding (and reduce risk of cancers).
Rescue Dogs is a beautiful collection of loveable hounds with colourful histories and expressive faces. From Mr Bojangles (rescued after being hit by a car) to Molly (who found new life after being rescued from a shelter age 15). This book will tug at the heartstrings, and leave you with a senses of optimism for new beginnings and kindness.
- Oldies Club adopts out senior dogs (and some cats). They welcome foster volunteers (so dogs don’t live in shelters while waiting for homes) and transport volunteers to take golden oldies to new home.
- Become a volunteer dog walker. Happy dogs with exercise, are calmer and easier to adopt.
- Reading to shelter dogs calms them down, far more than anything else. Donate unused audio books to shelter managers, with calming stories. In Missouri, Shelter Buddies Reading Program lets children read to stressed dogs, from outside shelter windows.
- Give shelters items on their ‘wish list’ (newspapers, towels, leashes, safe toys). Surgeries can sometimes legally donate medical equipment, talk with them first.
- Get involved in community efforts to find lost pets.
- Some shelters need volunteers to foster pets rescued from domestic abuse situations.
- Use your business to help local shelters. In the US, Grounds and Hounds Coffee donates 20% of profits to rescues, and Healthy Paws Pet Insurance gives cash grants, for each free quote.
Use Skills to Help Animal Shelters
- Use Canva to make brochures, if you have graphic design skills.
- Use building skills to build outhouses and secure runs.
- Volunteer healing skills to calm down stressed animals.
- Knitters can make blankets for shelter animals through Snuggles Project.
- Take photos of pets looking for new homes. These before/after photos resulted in huge uptake of adoptions, with good lighting and showing personality. Scotland’s Mutley’s Snaps makes an annual calendar of ‘happy staffie’ snaps, with profits helping local dogs.