Comfort for Critters was born of the desire to help not just our own pets, but “all those we can’t adopt”. We make blankets, donate money and many of us even volunteer at our local animal shelter. If those are things you can do, and want to do, great. However, we can’t all take on another volunteer job or bring a foster-pup into our home. Some of us don’t have a crafty bone in our body, or even an extra dollar to spare. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Despite everything though, I submit that there are really easy, really meaningful things that most anyone can do to help animal shelters. From my ten years running a non-profit, and volunteering much longer than that, I can promise you that nothing is too easy or too minor to be very much appreciated by whatever organization you’re helping. I find that God cracks the door open just a bit, more often than he throws it open wide. Doing a “little something” to help, might just be the calling you’ve been waiting to hear.
These are five super-easy ways you can join the team and start helping all those wonderful pets you wish you could adopt:
1 – Buy a T-shirt
Who doesn’t like t-shirts? Many shelters offer t-shirts which promote their rescue and also sing the praises of adopting (and not shopping!). They are very reasonably priced and make great gifts. If money’s tight, suggest these as a gift idea for you to your family (I do).
By wearing a T-shirt you’re doing more than financially helping the shelter. You’re a walking billboard for the organization and will probably even get a question or two about them. I know I do. I love to open up to complete strangers about the great rescues which are out there.
Most of these shirts can even be purchased online, so if you know of a pet-lover across the country, you can buy them a t-shirt from their own local shelter! If it’s true that it’s the thought that counts…this gift will be a hit!
2 – Display a Bumper Sticker
I’ve proudly displayed my Petfinder.com bumper sticker for 10+ years and still get people asking if it’s a good site to find a pet to adopt (that answer would be “yes!”). I received it free from their website, so you can’t beat the price. Some shelters also have Petfinder bumper stickers available or they may have one for their own rescue. Again, it’s a way of advertising for the shelter, and this type of promotion is typically something they just can’t afford.
3 – Wish List Items
Most people I know end up at their local grocery store, Wal-Mart or Target more often than the like. Who doesn’t run in for one quick item and end up with half a cart filled? To help your local shelter, just sneak in one extra item when you shop. You won’t even notice the extra few dollars, and you’ll be making a wish come true for some hard working shelter workers.
You can check for your local shelter’s needs online, since most post a “wish list” somewhere on their website. Or, if you just purchase one of these commonly needed items, you’ll be helping them out without even having to surf the web. Many shelters are particular about the food, treats and litter they use, but these items are almost universally needed and in constant demand:
- Nyla Bones & catnip toys
- Laundry & hand soap
- Paper towels & copy paper
- Garbage bags & dog waste bags
Alternatively you could add a $5 gift card to your basket (they’re just waiting for you at the checkout counter), and simply mail it to the shelter. Easy, peasy!
4 – Social Media
The next time you’re on Facebook, do a search for your local shelter and “Like” them. It’s a good way to promote them to your friends, and you’ll also be able to stay up to date on their successes and needs. As they post something you think is special, be sure to share it with your friends.
There’s nothing more meaningful than hearing great things from a friend about a particular shelter. It may encourage them to adopt, and not shop. It’ll also give them a great place to start!
5 – Send a Note
This is going to sound like a very old-fashioned idea, but it’s how I roll. The next time you have a few minutes to spare, write out a thank you note to your local shelter. If you adopted your pet from them, they’d love to hear how your new family member is doing. If you haven’t adopted from them you can still express your gratitude for the shelter they provide for homeless pets. These precious lives would otherwise be lived out on the streets, or worse.
As someone that sends 15-20 thank you cards every week, there is nothing like getting a hand-written note. I hear all the time how appreciative people are for this simple, easy gesture. Especially in this age of texting, emailing and Snapchat, a notecard with just a few sentences stands out! Make someone’s day for just 47 cents!
If any of these ideas are at all interesting, please follow up! Every little bit of help we offer to these shelters can add up to big results. This difference may mean one more pet they can rescue, one more mouth they can feed or even one less worry for the dedicated workers. It really does take a village, so be part of that today, right now, in whatever way you can!