local shelter or rescue on your drive home from work.
1. Take a Dog for a Walk or Offer Some Playtime
This is an easy, fun, and incredibly helpful way to lend a hand. By volunteering to stop by the shelter and take a dog for a quick walk or play chase-the-mouse with a cat before heading home, you make the lives of those running the shelter (who are likely spread a bit thin) a little easier, and you give a pet some well-deserved attention. You might even make a new friend in the process.
2. Bring Office Supplies
Helping pets can start with helping the people working for them. A simple way to help out your local shelter is to drop off a few office supplies every so often. Pens, pencils, Post-Its, legal pads, paper clips -- anything your office has in surplus they’d be willing to donate, or anything you have lying around your home. People tend to forget the clerical side of running a shelter, but as anyone who has ever worked in one can attest, there is no shortage of paperwork.
3. Bring Over Dinner
As quick as a trip to the local pizzeria, throwing your shelter an impromptu pizza party is a great way to let them know how much you appreciate them. Two pies and a couple of two-liters are the universal sign for “thanks.” Homemade goodies like a batch of cookies will score big, too. Just be careful about bringing homemade treats for the pets -- shelter rules might not allow the workers to share anything unlabeled by a manufacturer with the pets. But you can always bring some extra store-bought treats.
4. Give Some Cleaning Supplies
Things like soap, hand sanitizer, or all-purpose cleaner are often on short order at animal shelters, so if you have time to stop in to the local supermarket and drop a few bucks on cleaning supplies, everyone at your neighborhood rescue would be grateful.
5. Give Them All the Plastic Bags
You know that pile of plastic bags under your sink, or in your closet, that is starting to get out of control? Why not take half (or all) of them to some people who can put them to some real use? Just think -- if your local shelter is home to 40 dogs, that’s 80 walks a day, and 80 good reasons to have a plastic bag on hand. Cats need litter boxes cleaned every day, too. Your shelter staff will seriously thank you.
Guest post: Sam Bourne is a pet lover and dog and cat parent lucky enough to get to write about them for a living on PetCareRx and The Wet Nose Press.