[Animal Welfare]

6 Ways to Help Animals in Need

By: Shani Saxon 

Just like humans, cats and dogs face plenty of life challenges, including terminal illnesses, natural disasters, and violence. For animals in need, even small acts can make a big difference. You can advocate for displaced pets by volunteering, donating to your favorite charity, or even by signing a petition. The first step in helping animal welfare is to open your heart, even if you’re not in a position to open your home or your wallet.

1. Become a Foster Parent

Shelters always need safe, happy homes for displaced cats and dogs. Weather emergencies, like extreme cold and destructive storms, only increase the need for foster homes. It’s also common for hospital patients to seek temporary homes for their beloved pets. Visit Petful.com to get started.

2. Give to a Pet Owner Experiencing Homelessness

Animals can be a source of love, comfort, and protection for people experiencing homelessness. Join and Pets of the Homeless are nonprofits that help feed and provide essential supplies for pets struggling through tough times with their human. Contributions provide dog and cat food to soup kitchens, food banks, and homeless shelters so that people without permanent shelter can care for their pet.

3. Become an Advocate for Abused Animals

The fight against animal cruelty is a nationwide issue. Head over to your local Humane Societyto help with everything from fundraising to getting signatures for life-saving petitions.

4. Adopt a Mature Pet from Your Local Shelter

If you’re ready to commit to a dog or cat, be sure to adopt from an animal shelter. While all animals at the shelter are in need, mature animals struggle the most. Chances are high that they’ve experienced trauma and may need a little extra TLC. It’s also likely that they will have higher medical expenses, so make sure you’ve got the budget to give an older pet a few more years of love and comfort.

5. Aid Animals Affected by Natural Disasters

The aftermath of any natural disaster offers opportunities to step up and help a distressed pet. In addition to foster care, adoption and financial donations, consider joining a search and rescue team in the affected area. You could also rally your neighbors and start a pet food supply drive. The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a great resource to get involved when disaster strikes.

6. Volunteer at a Shelter or Pet Sanctuary

Animal shelters and sanctuaries are often eager to welcome volunteers who can commit to donating their time regularly. The first step is to contact your local shelter to assess their needs and find out what qualities they look for in volunteers. Most shelters rely on volunteers to clean, walk dogs and to assist with office paperwork.

Photo: Anoir Chafik