Writing about Noah’s Ark animal shelter yesterday, it occurred to me that their list of needs, and the needs of the shelters near me, varied in some ways. So I’ve done some digging and come up with 5 things your local shelter needs, wherever you may be.
- MONEY – not all animal shelters are designed strictly for companion animals (dogs, cats, guinea pigs, etc.). Depending on where you live, your local shelter could house cows, llamas, sheep, miniature donkeys, rabbits and more. So a big bag of dog food might not be what your local shelter needs most. Your local shelter will appreciate money, whether it’s in the form of cash, a gift visa, or a gift card to a local feed or pet store, or even a grocery store. I promise.
- Cleaning supplies – bleach, disinfecting wipes, PineSol, mop buckets and/or mops, paper towels, laundry detergent, hand soap, Simple Green – your local shelter will love you forever if you bring them cleaning supplies. They’ll probably love you even more if you set aside a couple of hours to help them clean and disinfect, but I can’t guarantee that.
- NEW toys and treats – I see this one over and over again. PLEASE do not bring already chewed treats and bones. Do not give your local shelter used Kongs and toys for dogs and cats. Bring new in package toys and treats. Jones is an exception to that rule, with the loose treats, because they come directly from the production floor, no other dogs having come in contact with the treats.
- Crates – check with your local shelter to see which kind they prefer, but the ones near us take used crates and dog houses. Wire, plastic, dog, cat – crates seem to always be a welcome donation.
- Milk replacement – this one keeps popping up, whether it’s formula or goat’s milk in some form. I forget, sometimes, that local shelters take in pregnant animals which wind up giving birth there at the shelter.
There are so many more things your local shelter needs, but these seem to be fairly universal, some of them more urgent than others. A couple more things which you might want to check into with your local shelter:
- Volunteer – whether it’s you, or your high school child looking for volunteer hours for a college application, volunteering at the local shelter is always appreciated. Dogs need to be walked regularly, and picked up after. Cats need to be held and petted. Birds need someone to talk to. Sometimes it’s just filing paperwork in the office. Pop in at your local shelter and ask what they can put you to work doing for an hour or two each week.
- Adoption programs – sometimes the local shelter needs help with adoption programs at places like PetSmart. A Saturday morning once a month is a great way to help out.
- Fostering – for those who want to do more, consider fostering animals for the local shelter, freeing up their space for more animals. Chewy came from an amazing foster home in Killeen, Texas. We’re so grateful for his foster parents!
So get up! Get moving! Call your local shelter. Drop in. Ask questions. Bring them what they need. You’ll make more than just dogs smile. You’ll be smiling for days.
Until I write again …