The holiday season always has me looking for extra ways to give back. I still remember the insane feeling of excitement I had when I would run downstairs Christmas morning to find a present I so desperately wanted under my tree. Now that I’ve hit my mid-20’s I really do appreciate the feeling of giving someone a gift that is truly special to them.
In my opinion, giving seems to mean the most when it’s a cause thats dear to us. For me one of those causes is helping animals. I’ve been an animal lover my entire life and of course am the proud momma of my own fur-child, Gatsby, who brings me loads of joy day in and day out.
If helping animals is something that is near and dear to your heart, take a peak at my list of ways you can help animals both locally and worldwide.
Spay or neuter your own pet
I am a huge advocate for responsible pet ownership. For me one of the biggest aspects of that is spaying or neutering your own pet. So many times I’ve heard of people finding out their female dog “somehow” got impregnated by the random neighbor dog. Suddenly they have 8 puppies on their hands and they don’t want them or have the time for them. Oftentimes this is how the cycle of irresponsible pet ownership starts. You can help prevent this destructive cycle from happening by having your pet spayed or neutered right from the get go.
Foster a pet
By fostering a pet you’re providing a temporary home for an animal while they are advertised for adoption to find their forever home. Fostering is becoming a huge aspect of animal shelters because it allows them to help more animals while having more space in their facilities.
sponsor a pet
Some people can’t fully commit to another animal even for a short period of time. For this reason, many shelters and humane societies are turning to pet sponsoring instead. You pledge to donate a set amount each month to provide food or vet care for an animal at the shelter. Your monetary donation helps insure an animal will have the food and care that they need.
become a volunteer
Local shelters are always looking for volunteers to help with daily tasks and care for their animals. Everyone would love to walk dogs and socialize with kittens, but be open to doing other less glamorous tasks. Even though it may not be as fun, emptying litter boxes and filling food dishes is such a vital component to what shelters do for these animals.
donate your services
My local shelter recently move into and renovated a new building. Some of the best donations they received were local contractors, electricians, and painters who donated their time and expertise to installing lighting, flooring, and much more. Having professionals who were willing to donate their services saved them thousands of dollars.
commit to buying cruelty-free cosmetics and household products
So many of the items we use in our everyday lives are tested on animals. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a great resource were you can search for and find companies that sell cruelty-free products.
Every shelter appreciates any kind of donation, but make sure you’re bringing them things they can actually use and need. They best way to do this is to call ahead of time or visit your local shelter’s website to see what they need. Most shelters have a readily available “wish-list” of items they could use posted on their website.
attend an event that supports animals
Check out the website for your local Humane Society or shelter and make a plan to attend one of their fundraising events. This past October I bought a ticket and attended my local shelter‘s end of the year gala. The event was such a fun way to recap all of the wonderful things they did this year to help animals AND all the proceeds from the ticket sales go right back to the shelter.
About a year ago I took the recommendation of a friend and watched the documentary Blackfish on Netflix. This documentary focuses on the story of Tilikum, a captive killer whale that has taken the lives of several people. Blackfish exposes SeaWorld in possible mis-treatment of animals, but also brings in the thought that these animals are too big to be kept in captivity. Just watching this movie opened up my mind to a whole other notion that keeping such large animals in captivity might not be humane.
sign a petition
Some of what goes into helping animals is policy related on a city, state, and national level. For example, you could sign a petition to have bill made into law for tougher penalties on people convicted of housing puppy mills. When I visited Big Cat Rescue in Tampa this summer I signed a petition pledging not to support circuses that use wild animals as props during their performances.
buy products that give back to animals
Taylor from The Daily Tay is a perfect example of this. She sells her “I just want to hang with my dog” shirts and donates 20% of the proceeds back to local shelters. So far she’s been able to donate over $2,000 to shelters just off the sales of her shirts!
Buy the shirt here