Monday, November 22, 2010

good deeds ~ furry, four-legged friends!

happy thanksgiving week to the U.S. folks! can you believe it's that time already?! and along with a week full of {hopefully} turkey, family, and giving thanks, i have another fun community service idea - this time it's a hairy one {no, i don't mean grandpas}!

there are tons of animal shelters and rescue organizations who have taken in stray, sick, abandoned, and death-row animals who could use a variety of support. here are some ideas on how you can do some good for our furry, four-legged friends.

for those of you who are looking for a pet this holiday, i highly encourage you to seek out and adopt those loving animals who have been rescued, especially adult animals who are harder to find homes for (bonus - adult animals are already housebroken, calm, and quite cuddly!). there are also lots of kittens and puppies, if you want to start at the beginning. i was actually told that it is currently kitten season and many shelters are overrun with cute kitties right now {bah!}.

another great idea is fostering. i used to think fostering would be hard on animals, but talking to some volunteers set me straight. fostering is an awesome idea for dogs and cats {also horses, birds, rabbits, etc.} because:

1.} dogs & cats in shelters are stuck for long hours in small cages, all by themselves. having a foster home means being around people, going on walks, getting fresh air, playing in the grass, watching the birds, and getting exercise!

2.} having foster homes means more room in the shelter to rescue other animals. there are hundreds of animals in need of being rescued every day, but the shelter can only accommodate so many. providing a foster home means you are helping the shelters save more lives {you'd be a hero!}.

3.} fostering ultimately helps animals get adopted into loving homes faster. when you foster, you act as a sort of walking advertisement to reach more people who may be looking to adopt. dogs get “adopt me” scarves to wear on walks, and foster parents are encouraged to let their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors know about an animal in need of a home. since you get to know the animal, you can honestly let potential owners know if the dog or cat is what they are looking for in a pet.

a note on fostering - all of the food and supplies are provided by the shelter, so you don't have to let a tight budget be the one thing that stops you. if you choose to buy things for the animal then keep those receipts because it's all tax deductible as a donation. most shelters also provide a reduced adoption fee if you fall in love with your foster animal and decide to keep him/her forever!

of course, not everyone can adopt or foster - they are both big responsibilities! but that’s totally okay. many shelters need people to give just a little bit of their time to volunteer with:

* playing with the animals at the shelter
* giving them a good brushing or scratching
* helping run adoption events
* taking the dogs on walks {some shelters even let you take them to the beach or mountains!}
* washing animal beds & blankets
* giving them lots of love!

of course, shelters also need people to donate money and supplies. however, i know for a lot of us, donating time is more practical than donating money. it is my hope that we can all find a way to do some good with whatever level of support we are realistically able provide.

i'm planning to foster soon {hopefully the beginning of the year}! in the meantime, i’m hoping to take some cute dogs on a walk this week. care to join me?