After what was a very strange and eventful year, we’re happy to say that the holiday season is finally here! This is the time of year where many animal-lovers are thinking about how they can do good for the shelter pets in their community, so we’ve put together a list of six ways you can help.
The easiest way you can support rescue organizations and shelters during the holiday season is simply by sharing their 'adoptable pets' content on social media. Many shelters write witty profiles of their adoptable pets and share it on their social media accounts to increase its reach. Sharing these posts with your networks can help increase the number of people it reaches and who knows, one of your connections may find a new best friend to spend the holidays with!
Have some free time during the holiday season? Inquire at your local shelter about volunteer opportunities! They rely heavily on volunteers throughout the year, but especially during the busy holiday season. Volunteers can help with a wide range of tasks, from walking dogs and playing with cats to cleaning cages and even doing laundry. They sometimes seek out specific volunteers, like those who have carpentry or sewing skills, to help with bigger projects. If you’re not able to physically volunteer at the shelter, inquire about ways you can volunteer virtually. Perhaps they need some help with their website or for someone to help collect items for a holiday drive.
If you’re not able to make the lifetime commitment of adopting a pet but are ready for the responsibility, consider fostering. Unfortunately, a greater number of animals are surrendered at shelters leading up to the holidays. Fosters play a critical role in reducing the number of animals physically in the shelter so that they can keep their doors open to pets in need. Plus, it allows homeless pets to enjoy the holidays with a loving family!
If you want to help shelter pets, but aren’t able to foster, consider donating. Rescue organizations and shelters usually have a list of their most-needed items which they keep up to date as new animals pass through their doors. They also appreciate monetary donations which they can use for the ongoing care of their animals. In addition to donations made directly to the shelter, you can make ongoing donations by using websites like smile.amazon.com when doing your shopping, holiday or otherwise. These websites take a percentage of your purchase and donate it to your chosen charity – many of which are animal-related.
If you want to maximize the amount you give back this holiday season, consider asking for donations to your local shelter instead of gifts. These donations could be sent directly to you in the form of food, toys, and other needed items or as a monetary donation made directly to the shelter. If you do ask for items to be sent to you, it can be helpful to share a list of the most needed items – this makes it easier for people to know what to shop for.
While it can be tempting to keep it a surprise, bringing a new pet into your home should always be a family decision. Regardless of age, pets are a lot of work and when you bring one home you are making a lifetime commitment. As the whole family will likely be involved in their care, everyone must be aware of what they’ll need to do and be ready for the responsibility. If you all agree that now is the right time for a new pet, consider adoption first. Your local shelter has young, adult, and senior pets of all shapes and sizes so it’ll be easy to find the right match for your family. Keep in mind that to avoid an influx in surrenders in the new year, some shelters close their adoption programs during the holiday season.
From our Freshpet family to yours, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!