How to Indirectly Help Animals in Need
9 Ways to Indirectly Help Shelter and Rescue Animals
“I could never foster. I’d want to keep them all.” “My heart breaks just walking into a shelter, so I could not volunteer there.” These are just two of the many reasons I hear from people who care about animals, but can’t directly help with fostering or volunteering at a shelter. I truly wish more people would get over those reasons. Animals are my ultimate passion in life (so much so that I am even vegan). I get super emotional when it comes to animals, including ones I’ve never met. There have been plenty of fosters that were so hard to give up. However, you learn to work around those emotions or you just realize it’s a selfless act. Learn about my volunteer/rescue story here.
If you still don’t think you can stomach fostering or volunteering in a shelter, there are plenty of other ways you can help indirectly. Plus, I know some people want to help in those ways, but cannot due to schedule, lifestyle, and other factors out of their control. I’m a big believer that doing something is better than nothing. Imagine if we all did a small something. We could make so much progress in the world.
So here are nine ways you can easily help rescues or shelters without fostering or volunteering within the facility.
This is something that is SO helpful to rescue groups and shelters. I have done quite a few transports, especially last year. Essentially you are a volunteer Uber for animals. You get them from point A to point B. Typically a rescue will commit to pulling an animal, then they need to get that animal to a vet or foster. That is where a transporter comes in. You just want to make sure your car is equipped for that animal. For example, some dogs might need a crate. Some dogs are larger and might need an SUV to travel in. I personally suggest that if you are traveling alone and don’t personally know the temperament of a dog, it might be safer to bring a crate just in case especially if it’s a long drive. You could also ask the rescue or shelter if they have any insight they can provide to you in advance about the animal or what you might need. Transporting is an awesome way to help a rescued animal start their journey. You get to provide the freedom ride and that is so rewarding.
Process Applications + Do Home Checks
Good rescue groups have applications that potential adopters have to fill out. Since most rescues are run by volunteers who have lives and careers outside of rescue, it can be challenging to juggle it all. A somewhat “hands off” way to help a rescue is by processing applications. This usually involves reviewing applications that come in, calling references, and interviewing the applicant. In some cases, rescue groups may need help doing home checks. Depending on what the rescue expects, this could be taking a tour through someone’s house to see if it seems safe and like the right environment for that particular animal. Additionally, I know some groups will do virtual FaceTime home checks, so that’s even easier.
Social Media Marketing
It’s 2021, so pretty much everyone is on social media these days. There are a few ways you can help with marketing and networking animals in need. One way is just by simply sharing posts on your own social media accounts. This is called crossposting. If you follow a few rescue or shelter pages, then you can just share their posts or tag people who might be able to help.
Another way you can help with social media is by running a rescue group’s page. It helps the rescue to have consistent, quality posts and a good response time to help their animals get adopted. You could reach out to a rescue group to see if they need help managing their social media accounts.
Assist at Adoption Events
I know with a pandemic this may be hard to do right now, but some groups are starting to do adoption events following safety protocols. I know plenty of people who just assist with setting up and breaking down at adoption events. Some people just help with explaining the adoption contract or answer questions as potential adopters come up. This does not require fostering, but still allows you to interact with animals if you are interested in doing that.
Help Out at a Cat Room
Have you ever been to a pet store and saw a room with cats? Most of the time those are cats from a particular rescue group. The rescue group is likely responsible for the care, cleaning, and feeding of those cats. If you volunteer to do this, you also get to spend time with cats so you can also get your animal fix without having to take them home or feel bad.
Pledge + Donate
Oftentimes on social media you will see people pledging for animals in need. What this means is the person is pledging to donate a specific amount once a rescue group safely pulls the animal from the shelter. You may think that you have to pledge a large amount, but honestly even $5 helps. It adds up when multiple people are willing to pledge. Of course, please only pledge if you truly will honor your pledge.
You may also see rescues make posts about an animal needing sponsorship for a medical procedure, vetting, boarding, or training. Keep in mind that in order for a donation to be tax deductible it needs to be an approved 501c3 group. You can check that status with the IRS here.
Support Rescue Events or Fundraisers
Rescues cannot function without donations. Sometimes rescue groups will host events or fundraisers to help with the costs of rescuing. This can be a fun, simple way to help the animals. Groups often have 5k races, galas, silent auctions, shows, and more to benefit their group. This is always a great way to meet like minded people too.
Speak Up for Animals
It’s cliche, but if you see something, say something. It might be easier to turn a cheek to something wrong, but you could be saving a life by speaking up. This could be something as simple as speaking up about the importance of spay/neuter or something like reporting neglect. Animals do not have voices, so it is important for us to speak up for them if we want change.
Be a Responsible Pet Owner
Honestly, one of the easiest ways to help rescues and shelters is to be a responsible pet owner yourself. No facility needs more owner surrenders. There is not a shortage of animals in need. Instead of giving up on your pet and trying to dump it on others, try other routes such as training, seeing a vet, fundraising, etc. If there were more responsible owners there would not be as much of a need for shelters or rescue groups.
There you have it! There are plenty of ways to get involved and help animals. Remember, doing something is better than nothing! 🙂