You don’t have to be an animal expert to help out at your community’s shelter. You just need to have the time and desire to lend a helping hand. (And it doesn’t have to be a lot of time, either.) Here are a few ideas on how you can help!
1. Teach a class
Teaching shelter dogs to sit, stay, walk calmly on a leash or shake paws will make them infinitely more adoptable. The Humane Society and SPCA of Austin, TX, for example, have a team of volunteers who spend their time playing with puppies and taking adolescent dogs to obedience classes.
2. Get Your Shelter Online
Even if you can’t volunteer with the animals, you can still do something by giving your community’s animal shelter the "cyber" advantage. Take photos and write descriptions of the animals with staff assistance, and help keep the shelter’s online list of available animals current.
3. Cat Socialization
You can help by holding, petting, and brushing the shelter's felines. It will keep them calm, even though they're surrounded by many strange smells and noises.
Make it an event! Publicize it with flyers and signs, and remind everyone about the important work that the shelter does. Maybe have a restaurant ask local celebs to volunteer as wait staff for the evening—with regular staff assisting, as an added incentive for people to attend.
5. Do You Have the "Write" Stuff?
Write or start a newsletter for your town shelter. It’s a great way to keep members, supporters, adopters and the public informed about what the shelter does and what it needs. Many shelters rely on volunteers to write articles, and some newsletters are produced entirely by volunteers.
6. Throw a Party!
Organize an event for all your friends, and donate the proceeds to the shelter. Any kind of social event—a clam bake, a Super Bowl party, a jazz brunch or a dog walk—is a great way to make new friends and raise money.
7. Clean Up Crew
And there's good ol' fashioned cleaning. Shelters can always use more hands on deck when it comes to keeping a clean and safe environment for its animals.
Tell us what you're doing. GO