6 Ways to Help Homeless Pets and Animal Shelters

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Homeless Pets

Homeless Pets

A exclusive by Michael McCamish

You don’t have to adopt/foster all the animals, have a lot of money or be a petexpert to help your local animal shelter out, there are pleanty of other ways. Below is a list of things that you can do at almost any shelter that we can guarantee they would be thankful for.

  1. Volunteer. Whether or not you can afford to donate cash or items, you can always donate time to volunteer! Ask your local shelter how you can help. They always need people to help walk and wash dogs, assist visitors, volunteer at adoption events and more. Not only do these things help the shelter keep costs down, they help pets get socialized so it’s a win-win.
  2. Donate supplies. Almost every shelter has a list of supplies that they are always in need of normally containing blankets, chew toys, leashes, collars, paper towels, cleaning supplies and more. If there is not a list online, call or drop by. Make sure you do contact them though to ensure that you are getting the brand they need. Some cleaners are harmful to pets. Some shelters need items like computers, cameras, printers, etc… next time you upgrade, don’t just throw your old one out or let it sit collecting dust, donate it.
  3. Marketing. We all can’t be marketing and ad people like of Mad Men, but we can help spread the word! Take time to repost things on Facebook or reTweet on Twitter posts from your favorite organization to help raise awareness. If the organization you are volunteering for doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter page, ask them if you can create one. Positive talk and word-of-mouth does a lot and will help them.
  4. Take photos. Most shelters at least have a presence on (if not, you can help them out there) and it really helps dogs get adopted if they have a photo. Grab your camera and take some photos.
  5. Make some phone calls. Most shelters have a wait list of people who are looking for a certain type of dog. The problem is that the staff does not have time to call people on the list when the dogs come in. Take time to help out and call potential adoptors when there is a match and help them find a forever home.
  6. Events. Every shelter does events to help raise funds and awareness. Volunteer your time to help recruit sponsors (even ask the company you work for), find vendors and at the very least, support the event by coming and telling all your friends to come.

Got more ideas? Help spread the word below. Don’t know of an animal shelter near you to volunteer with?


April 8, 2014 |

Everything Helps! Ways to Volunteer at Your Local Dog Rescue

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dog rescue

dog rescue

A exclusive by Teresa Barker

Well, it’s no surprise that running a dog rescue is an enormous task. It makes sense that rescues can always use volunteer help with cleaning, feeding, bathing, walking, and caring for the dogs who reside there. But there are also unlimited possibilities for alternative volunteer support that you may not have thought about when the desire to help overcomes you. Here are a few ways you might be able to help, which may utilize your talents or professional qualifications, along with a few that take no time at all!

Make a Cash Donation
This is often the most overlooked and fully appreciated area that dog rescues could use more help in. If you think that donating money seems impersonal, you are wrong! Organizing fundraising events is time consuming and laborious, which takes away time that could be spent directly with the dogs. If you want to get creative, call a shelter and offer to pay their electric bill for the month. Or, make a donation in the name of a friend (human or canine) for a holiday or birthday. Set up a payment plan that you can afford, and skip 1 latte a week to donate your coffee fund.

Donate STUFF
Picking up a bag of dog food for your pooches? Pick up another for a local shelter. Have too many blankets and towels in cupboards all over the house? Red Rover, Red Rover, send them right over! Did you get a new computer, printer, digital camera, or (fill-in the blank)? Maybe your local shelter has that on the top of their wish list. In most cases, cash and items donated to a non-profit shelter are also a tax write-off for you. Woohoo!

Share Your Talents
If you’ve ever taken a photography course or tinkered around with taking photos for fun, you’ve probably got services that would be appreciated at the shelter. It’s hard to get a headshot of a dog who wiggles, pants, and thinks that “CHEESE” means it’s treat time. The better the photo of the dog needing a home, the more likely he is to get adopted. What do you love to do? Now ask how that can be a service to the rescue.

Use Your Professional Qualifications
Whether your profession is Web Marketing or Event Planning, there’s a need at the shelter! After all, you have to remember, a dog rescue is a business with a heart. Running a business requires an administrative department, volunteer coordinating, a marketing team, a legal team, and much more to keep going. Donating a few hours of time sharing your expertise goes a long way for many of the rescues running on a skeleton crew.

Obviously, fostering a dog and sharing photos of adoptable dogs on your Facebook page are awesome ways to help. But the need to help doesn’t stop there. Get creative and realistic about what you have to offer, and go for it! Heck, you might just be asked to dress up like Santa Claus for a holiday photo fundraising event. Now that sounds like fun!


Find a dog rescue or animal shelter near you >>


March 26, 2014 |

A Case for the Big Black Dog (or BBD)

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black dogs

black dogs

A exclusive by Teresa Barker

It’s a well known fact in the animal shelter community that black-coated medium to large dogs are the hardest to adopt. They are also the first to be euthanized in animal shelters, where they are assumed “unadoptable.” As the mother of 2 Big Black Dogs (BBDs), this is disturbing news. Whether it is due to superstition, misplaced fear, negative association or otherwise, the only cure for this malady (called Black Dog Syndrome) is education!

Mahatma Ghandi said, “Gentleness, Self-Sacrifice, and Generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.” and that goes for dogs, too!

A dog’s temperament has absolutely nothing to do with the color of its fur. Dogs become aggressive as a result of abuse, neglect, and improper training, all usually a result of human error. Every dog, no matter its color, is a product of its environment, just like humans. Sure, there may be a slight genetic predisposition for certain personality-types (think: the crazy-hyper Dalmation) but dogs are highly intelligent beings and very trainable. Take, for example, my 2 BBDs. Completely different personalities! One is a black collie mix (a girl, Trixie) who is smarter, faster, stronger and more agile than her BBD brother (Briley, named after the freeway I found him on) who is half her age. Briley is a complete mush, snuggle bug, and wants to be lounging or playing fetch at all times. They were both raised in the same environment, but have distinctly different personalities.

“Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.” ~Isaac Asimov

A black dog is no more a representative of the devil than a white dog is of an angel! From British folklore to symbolizing mental illness, black dogs have historically been used to conjure images of negativity and darkness. Winston Churchill frequently referenced his manic depression, which he referred to as his “black dog” in his writings. Even Led Zeppelin referenced the black dog folklore of the British Isles with the lyrics “Eyes that shine burning red” in a song that was innocently titled after a nameless black lab roaming the recording studio. It’s time to break the cycle of using these lovely animals as a symbol of darkness and deamons. Black is beautiful!

Healthy black dogs have beautiful shining coats that glisten in the sunshine. Their fur also hides dirt well and can be accessorized with any colored collar. Black isn’t just black, there’s various hues within black. I’ve recently noticed that Trixie has a distinct purple-black hue, while Briley is a black and tan. Also, BBDs are often adopted for a smaller fee than other dogs (sad) due to the abundant lack of interest by families looking to adopt. Often, if you adopt a black dog, you can become part of a black dog-lovers club, and might even get a free t-shirt!

Now that you have the information, it’s up to you to choose how you use it. If you are fortunate enough to have a BBD in your family, hug them extra close today. If you see someone walking a BBD, stop to tell them how handsome or beautiful his or her dog is. And, if you’re thinking about adopting a rescue dog, go for the under-underdog….a BBD from a shelter!

Find an animal shelter or dog rescue near you >>


March 10, 2014 |
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