It’s winter time and I can’t even imagine how cold it must be to all those dogs in shelters while they’re waiting for their new forever home. Many of them will spend their whole lives there while some of the lucky ones will get to go home with their new family. Unfortunately, adult and older shelter dogs are not easily adaptable as puppies are so they need all the help they can get. If you’re looking for ways to help shelter dogs but you’re not sure how, here are a few ideas where you can use your skills and time to help them.
Table of Contents
- 1. Donate the stuff your dog no longer uses
- 2. DIY
- 3. Repair work
- 5. Walk the dogs
- 6. Day trip
- 7. Spread the word
- 8. Transportation
- 9. Writing and posting adoption ads
- 10. Photographing the dogs
- 11. Foster a dog
- 12. Buy items from the shelter’s wishlist
- 13. Donate pet store coupons
- 13. Groom shelter dogs
- 14. Train a shelter dog
1. Donate the stuff your dog no longer uses
If your dog is no longer interested in playing with a toy you got for him, he refuses to use that fancy new dog bed, or he no longer fits in his puppy crate, you can give all those things to the shelter for the dogs in need. Even if that stuff is used and might no longer be in the best condition, if it is still usable, it will be useful for the shelter dogs.
For the DIY crafters among you, you can put your DIY skills to good use and make useful stuff for the shelter dogs. Some of the things that you can easily make and will be extremely useful for the shelter dogs are:
- Dog bed
- Dog blanket
- Food bowl
- Feeding station
3. Repair work
If you are skilled with different tools, you can help by doing some repair work in the shelter, such as fixing the fence, giving a hand in renovating the place so it is more comfy for its tenants. So give your local shelter a ring and see if there is anything that needs to be repaired or improved. I’m sure that your help will be highly beneficial in improving the quality of dog’s lives.
5. Walk the dogs
I am not sure what the situation is like in all shelters, but my local shelter doesn’t have enough volunteers so shelter dogs don’t even get their daily walk with a human every day. That is why dog walkers are always welcome. By walking the shelter dog, you will not only be making those lonely animals happy, but you will also make them more adoptable because they will have more experience with people and be more friendly. And you never know – you can even run into someone that will fall in love with them and decide to adopt them.
6. Day trip
If your local dog shelter allows, you can borrow a shelter dog for a day and take them on an awesome trip that they’ll remember for a long time. You can go for a hike, on a beach, have a picnic in the park or in nature, take a road trip to a nice place… Spend the best day and make one dog the happiest for a day.
7. Spread the word
Today, almost all of us use social media. You can help by sharing the posts from the dog shelter to help spread the word about the adoptable shelter dogs. Like the pages of the shelters on Facebook and other social media platforms and help them reach more people.
Often times, when a dog finally finds a new family, they have no car to transport the dog to their place. It that case, a volunteer with a car would be useful. If you have a car, you can help by driving the adopted dogs to their new owners.
9. Writing and posting adoption ads
New dogs come to the shelters all the time and they need to be posted on the classifieds and social media so that potential adopters would fall in love with them. If you are good with words, you can help by writing the text for the postings which will show all the great sides of the shelter dog and make people want to adopt them. Aside from that, you can help by posting the ads for adoptable dogs.
10. Photographing the dogs
A picture is worth a thousand words. When people see those adorable doggy eyes looking for a forever home, it is not easy to resist or at least to help spread the word. Put your photography skills and camera to use and make great photos of the shelter dogs. You can also take photos to make a yearly calendar which can be sold to raise money for the shelter.
11. Foster a dog
If you have an extra place in your home, you can give a temporary home for the homeless dog until they get adopted. But before you do that, make sure all the members of the family are ok with this idea. This includes your furry family members too, if you have any. If your cat or dog is not very accepting of other animals, it might only cause additional issues so before fostering, think about how it would affect others.
If you don’t have your own dog yet, this can be a great way to test how having a dog would work for you. You would be able to see what having a dog is like first-hand and you’d see if you are ready to get a dog, with all the pros and cons that go along with it.
12. Buy items from the shelter’s wishlist
Some shelters have a wishlist with all the products that they need. If this way of helping suits you, next time you go shopping, have their wishlist in mind and throw something off their list in your shopping cart.
Shelter dogs are often fed with cheap low-quality food that is donated to them which is a nice act from people but it can also hurt the dogs’ health when they eat it all the time. This is especially the case with older dogs and dogs that have health problems. They require good quality food and by making a purchase from the shelter’s wishlist, you can be sure that you are buying the food and the products that are best for the dogs.
13. Donate pet store coupons
If the pet store you’re usually buying from has some kind of coupons or points that you can collect for discounts or free products, you can donate those to the shelter. This is an easy way to help as you don’t have to spend any extra money and you get to help abandoned dogs while purchasing usual supplies for your pet.
13. Groom shelter dogs
Dogs are much more adoptable when they are clean and well groomed. Unfortunately, looks are important to a large portion of people and if shelter dogs are dirty, full of tangled fur or have a skin infection, people might not give them a chance. You can help by giving the dog a makeover – give the dog a bath or at least a fast clean-up, take him to the groomer for a haircut, brush him, give him an antifungal treatment etc.
14. Train a shelter dog
One of the reasons shelter dogs are not adopted as often as they should be is because people think that they have behavioral issues. Yes, there are dogs with those kinds of issues in shelters too but most of them are actually friendly dogs that just happened to have no luck with their previous owners. Most of the shelter dogs are wonderful and loving dogs that would make a perfect companion for most people. To help shelter dogs show how well they behave and make them more adoptable, you can help train them. By teaching them to stay, walk on a leash, to wait etc. you can help a lot in finding that furry fido his forever home.
In addition to these 14 ways, you can also consider donating some money if you have extra on your hands. The donated money will be put to good use if you decide to donate some of it to the shelter. If you give even a small amount from time to time, it will be worthwhile. After all, if many people give a little, it becomes a lot.
I hope this list gave you an idea about the way you can help.
I would love to hear your ideas too, so let me know in the comment!