10 Ways to Help Your Local Shelter

Porter, adopted from Multiple Breed Rescue in Elyria, OH Brittany Graham Photography

Porter, adopted from Multiple Breed Rescue in Elyria, OH
Brittany Graham Photography

 The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’re all animal lovers. Really, why would you be reading this blog if you weren’t? So, I’m guessing we all want to do our part to help. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to help out your local rescue or shelter. Not all require a lot of time or money. So, take a look, pick a rescue/shelter and get helping!

 1.Volunteer Your Time

So, we’ll start with the obvious ones. You know how it’s a new year and we all made some of those resolution things? Well, maybe one of yours was to volunteer more. So, GO OUT AND DO IT! Visit your local shelter or rescue’s website and see what requirements they have for volunteers. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to foster, it could just mean you get to go in and walk and play with pups and cats. Which, in my book, is pretty fantastic.

2. Adopt!

Another obvious option. If you have thought about adopting and have made your list on what you’re looking for in a new family member and have come to the conclusion that right now is a good time for a new addition, make sure you’re adopting! This doesn’t mean you have to go to the first shelter you find on an internet search. There are a ton of options in the Cleveland area alone as well as some great rescues out there. Take some time to look around and find what feels right for you and your family.

Sadie, adopted from the Cleveland APL

Sadie, adopted from the Cleveland APL

3. Spread the Word

Talk your local shelters and rescues up! If you have a friend that mentions that they’re looking into adding a dog or cat to their family, make sure you mention the adoption option! Talk about all the great best friends that come out of shelters and rescues.

You can also spread the word without ever leaving your house or getting dressed! Seriously! Follow your local shelters and rescues on Facebook and share those dogs that are looking for new homes. You never know who is going to see a dog and fall in love instantly. It could be a friend of a friend of a cousin, or it could be your next door neighbor. But share away! This is so helpful for shelters and gets those dogs’ and cats’ faces out there to be seen by their potential new family.

4. Amazon Wish List

Many times shelters and rescues have Amazon Wish Lists. It’s this great little place on Amazon where local shelters and rescues can add the items that they need to run a great temporary home for these dogs and cats. Items can range from toys and treats, to GPS’s. It’s a great way to have the items sent straight to the shelter and they’re getting exactly what they want. Again, this option is great if you don’t want to leave the house or get dressed. Click here to see The Cuyahoga County’s Amazon Wish List.

 Brittany Graham Photography

Pete and Tank, adopted from the Cleveland APLBrittany Graham Photography 

5. Amazon Smile

This is a great little tool as well and doesn’t cost you any money! Seriously! So, you know how you end up ordering a bunch of things from Amazon? Some needed, some not so much, but all seemed so necessary at the time of purchase? Well, if you join Amazon Smile, 0.5% of your purchase total can go towards a charity of your choice! I’m serious! Next time you sign into Amazon, go ahead and do a search for Amazon Smile. All you have to do is sign up and pick which charity you want to donate to! A lot of local rescues and shelters are on the list. It’s a great way for them to get some extra donations and you to feel better about those impulse buys!

6. WoofTrax

This is a great little App for your phone. Since you’re all giving your dogs the PAW that they need, that means that you’re also going for lots of walks with your dog. Well, this little handy app will actually donate to a rescue or shelter of your choice for every mile you walk with your dog! Just start the app on the beginning of your walk and it will record the distance that you and your pup have covered. Now, the amount they donate changes as the money that they donate comes from sponsors, advertisers and investors, however, anything will help!

Don’t have a dog? Guess what- you can still walk and help your shelter/rescue of choice! There is as Walk for Cassie option which allows you to walk on your own and still counts your mileage towards a donation. It’s a great idea and the more people walking for your shelter/rescue the better. So spread the word!

You can download the app by visiting their site here.

Bowie, adopted from Berea Animal Rescue Friends Brittany Graham Photography

Bowie, adopted from Berea Animal Rescue Friends
Brittany Graham Photography

7. Start a Donation Drive

This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Set up a box at work or with your friends and ask people to donate some pet items. Treats, toys, collars, leashes, blankets…. Quite honestly the list is endless. Then, take a trip out to your local rescue or shelter and donate all the items you’ve collected. They’ll be beyond grateful and you’ll feel good about the situation as well.

8. Show Your Gratitude

Quite simply – say thank you. If you see a volunteer say thank you. Tell them how much you appreciate the work they do. This can be in person, a letter or a Facebook review. Let them know the community is behind them and what they do touches all of our lives.

Molly, adopted from Muttley Crew Brittany Graham Photography

Molly, adopted from Muttley Crew
Brittany Graham Photography

9. Throw a Benefit Party

This doesn’t have to be as crazy as you might think. Seriously. You know that Super Bowl party you just had? What if you asked everyone to donate $5 when they walked in the door for your favorite local rescue or shelter. So, invite everyone over for a get together and tell your friends you’ll provide some food and that you’re collecting donations and why. At the end of the night, tally the money up and write out a check to the rescue/shelter you’ve chosen. You had a great time, your friends had a great time, and the shelter will be so thankful.

10. Show off your own Rescue Dog

Have a rescue dog? Show him off! Whenever someone says how cute he is or how well behaved she is tell them about where you adopted them from! They can be an ambassador just like you can!

Keep calm and pilot on

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH

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