Helping Your Local Shelter

Want to help your local shelter, but not sure where to start? Maybe a friend or family member is a total pet lover, and you want to support their favorite cause in their name. Here’s some stuff to help you get started.

A Shelter Shopping Spree:

Most shelters will distribute some sort of a wish list (some of my favorites send a new list every month) with things they really need. The pet lover on your shopping list may appreciate a donation in their name to their favorite shelter. At the top of the list would have to be good old CASH. That way, the shelter can use it where they need it the most, whether it’s for food, toys, building improvements, etc.

Cash, while useful, is kind of impersonal. You might want to take your pet lover to the store to pick out the donation items, and then head to the shelter to drop off the gift in person. Even if your shopping budget is just twenty bucks, you can still get a lot of good stuff. It’s a fun shopping trip, too! Target and Wal-Mart and the other big retailers are a great place to pick up canned food. I’ve almost always found that their price on dog food is lower than the food store’s. Three cans for a dollar is a good deal! The prices on kibbles are pretty good, too. You don’t have to spring for the best stuff, but I would go with something from Purina. They’ve got a pretty good reputation.

Toys and rawhides can be more expensive, but every dog deserves a special treat now and then… especially the ones who don’t have families yet. Check your dollar store… the selection is always changing but my local Dollar Tree usually has some variety of rawhides and some kind of toys.

Clean Your Closet For A Good Cause:

If you’re in a cold weather area, your shelter may be looking for old blankets, sheets, towels, sweaters… anything warm that the dogs and cats can snuggle into while they’re looking cute and waiting for a home. Check the back of your linen closet before you run out to buy blankets, you may find some old, nubby thing you wouldn’t put on your bed but a chilly dog on a concrete floor would love.

Some shelters ALSO have a thrift store aligned with them… so if you’ve got stuff you’re not wearing or household items you’re not using, you can donate them to the shelter thrift shop. It’s a good idea to call first, to see what they need and what they’re overloaded on. And don’t just leave stuff outside their door — the weather can ruin it quickly. Make sure you follow their donation guidelines.

Sponsor A Pet:

Another idea for you and your pet lover is to make a donation to an organization that deals specifically with their favorite kind of cat or dog. I’m a sucker for Rotties, and try to sponsor at least one big baby every year from The Rottweiler Connection, an organization that rescues and re-homes Rotties in the northeast. With a sponsorship, your pet lover gets the satisfaction of seeing their particular pup or kitty end up in a good home. I still check back from time to time to see if there are any new pics from some of my favorite sponsorees.

There are a hundred thousand million bazillion good causes out there. It’s hard to choose which ones to support. But if you or someone you love is a pet fanatic, now you’ve got some ideas for gifts that will help your local shelter and give you and your loved one that warm fuzzy feeling that the holidays are really about.