How to Give Back to Dogs in Need

by Sundays

Pit Bull mix breed dog outside of an animal shelter with leash on being pet by a person.

Here’s how to help dogs in need when you can’t be the one to adopt them.

There’s nothing that can hit you harder in the feels than seeing dogs in need of a little love. You’ll come across a post about a dog someone found that looks all scruffy from living the street life, or see an ad about donating to an animal shelter, which makes you think of every single doggy in every shelter that needs a home and some loving care.

And of course, most of us probably can’t realistically take in another dog, so then we end up feeling guilty that our little furball is living their best life while other dogs are not. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing gesture. Here’s how to help dogs in need when you can’t be the one to adopt them.

6 Ways to Help Dogs in Need

Everyone can get involved in doing their part for dogs in need. Here’s a list that includes ideas for giving back, no matter what kind of resources you have available. 

1. Be their buddy for the day.

It’s true that some of the larger animal shelters might want you to commit to a certain number of volunteer hours or days per week. But there are also smaller rescues and shelters that would happily take any time you have. Just be transparent about the time you can offer. 

You could spend the day with your new best buddy just taking them for a walk, playing with them, or helping to feed them. You’ll probably find that it’s not just making them happy, but it will also feel good for your soul, too.

2. Bring them gifts.

This is one you can do whenever you have the time and resources. If you have the means to buy little treats or toys, you can do it that way, but you can also be a gift gatherer and spend no money at all. 

Try posting in neighborhood apps and your social media, or put up flyers asking people to donate things like old blankets, extra pet supplies, toys their dogs don’t use, and so on, and offer to take the donations to a shelter or rescue. Check on social apps for people listing pet supplies for free, also.

3. Help other people find their new best friend.

If you’re good with people and think of yourself as a good matchmaker, this is the volunteer job for you. Check with local pet stores to find out which shelters do adoption events there. Contact the shelter to volunteer whenever you can. 

This way, you can be an advocate for the pets in helping them find the perfect family, even if it can’t be with you. Plus you get to feel all the excitement of seeing a pet get adopted and know that you helped make it happen. 

4. Sign up to donate monthly

You may think that you can’t give a donation because what you can give wouldn’t be enough. But if everyone gives just a little, it adds up. Figure out how much you’d be able to give out of each paycheck or each month, even if it’s a tiny amount. Then commit to a monthly or regular donation. No organization is going to turn down a donation for dogs in need.

5. Offer your talents.

Sometimes you have to start thinking outside the box when it comes to helping dogs in need. Even if you think you have nothing to give, trust us, you have something that can help dogs in need. 

Animal organizations are looking for all sorts of help that you might not even know about, and it might be something you’re really good at. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

- If you take great selfies, you can offer to take fun “selfies” of the shelter dogs that just might get them adopted. 

- Can you sew amazing scarves? Donate some handmade doggy scarves for shelter dogs to wear to make them look even cuter. 

- You could be a great writer who could help shape up a rescue’s newsletter, or maybe you could write hilariously sweet first-person profiles for each pup.

- Are you the best at event planning? Offer your help with fundraising events. You may even have a special talent like painting or yoga, where you could run a paint-a-pup or dog yoga event.

6. Foster a dog.

Maybe you can’t give a fur-ever home to a dog, but perhaps you could give them a temporary safe space. Small local rescues in particular always need more foster homes for pups. 

They will pay for the dog’s veterinary care, food, leash and other supplies, and flea/tick medication. Most of the time, you will need to transport them for vet care, adoption events, and to see potential adopters. 

You might also be asked to post on social media about them and provide details about them, like if they are good with other dogs, cats, and small children, or if they are potty trained. 

Make sure you have the time and space to properly take care of a foster dog before you commit. The only risk is that you may fall in love and be tempted to adopt them yourself!

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