PUPPY BOWL February 5, 2017

The Importance of Volunteering and Donating to Your Local Shelter

Posted by Mary Beth McAndrews

While Peanut's mom is a gourmet vegan chef with the ability to create such delicious meals for her pups, not every foster parent or shelter is able to provide that for their pets. That’s why it's important to support your local shelter through volunteer and donations.

Volunteering at your local shelter is one of the most valuable ways to help. Volunteering can involve many responsibilities. You can help walk dogs, clean kennels, attend adoption events, and even just play with or read to dogs.

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Another great way to volunteer is to donate any photography or marketing skills. One of the most helpful ways to get a pet adopted is to have a great photo, showing off their looks and personality. Shelters are always looking for ways to get their pets into new homes, and your photography skills could do the trick.

If you want to help, but don't have the time to volunteer, you can always make a monetary donation to a local rescue or foundation. This money can be used for anything the shelter needs to thrive, from supplies to medical care to microchips. Donations can be given once, or every month. Donations can also be given in someone else's name as a gift or in their memory.

However, donations don't have to be monetary. You can check with the shelter to see what supplies donations they need, as many shelters have specific wish lists. Common asks for donations include:

Toys: Having a toy can help lift a dog's spirits and make them feel loved. Make sure to check with your local shelter about what toys are safe and approved for their dogs. Place Mats: These are used to create beds and lounging spots for cats. Any Bedding: This includes blankets, sheets, and pillowcases to keep shelter pups cozy and warm. Heating pads: They help keep newborn puppies warm. However, not all heating pads are safe for animals, so make sure to check with your local shelter before donating. Food: This is usually what shelters need the most, especially when they have lots of hungry mouths to feed! Always check with the shelter to see what food they prefer. You can also donate daily household items to help shelters keep their facilities clean. Items like old newspapers, paper towels, and soaps are always appreciated. Make sure to check ahead of time to see what kinds of cleaning supplies they accept.

If you're looking for a more creative way to donate, dedicate part of your gift registry to shelter donations. Some couples have used their wedding registries as a way to give back to their local animal rescue. Instead of getting household objects, guests can give back to the community.

You can also support companies that partner with animal shelters, like Subaru. Subaru has partnered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to help find thousands of animals their forever homes. They've also donated almost $16.5 million to their cause to help support shelters and adoption events around the country.

These are just a few of the way you can help your local shelters. To learn more, visit their website or call them for more ways you can help.

Learn more about Subaru's efforts to support pets around the country on their website.