Paws for a cause

Quick and easy ways to help out local animal shelters


Photo by Peyton Sims

A pet owner plays with her adopted dog using a homemade toy. This year, approximately 1.5 million dogs were euthanized.

Story by Mikayla Zverina, staff writer

Animal shelters are always in great need of volunteers to help with the little things they don’t have time for. Many people are under the impression that helping the animal shelter is a long-term commitment that requires a lot of work, but that is not the case. Here are a few quick and easy ways to help out your local animal shelters. 

Volunteer for events
Animal shelters host an abundance of adoption days a year to help get the word out about these animals in need of a loving home. Take one weekend off from having brunch with your friend group, or better yet, bring them along and help out at these adoption days. There are many tasks that need to be done and not enough people to complete them. People can also volunteer to transport animals from the shelters, to adoption days and to the homes of the adopters. 

Hand out fliers
Whether it’s posting fliers on social media or just handing them out the old-fashioned way, it is easy to spread the word about the shelter and all of the available animals waiting for a forever home. Veterinarian clinics, parks and other places where potential adopters may be visiting are the best places to hand out or post fliers advertising the adoption days and adoptable pets.

Take dogs out for some fresh air
Animal shelters do their best to take in as many animals as possible, so the attention of the workers are spread very thin among the animals. Therefore, even the simplest act of taking a few dogs for a walk every now and then can help them out tremendously. 

Give cats the love they deserve
Most shelters have an abundance of cats in a room just begging for attention. Take an hour or more out of your day to go play and socialize with these cats, getting them ready for their future forever home. 

Donate supplies
Every shelter has list of supplies that they are always in need of, such as food, toys, bedding, litter and cleaning supplies. On the next shopping trip, pick up some items to drop off at the shelter. Cheap supplies can be found on Craigslist or eBay. Some local hotels may even be willing to donate unusable towels or bedding. If time is an issue, shelters appreciate monetary donations as well. 

Make dog toys out of t-shirts
Everyone has those few t-shirts that they don’t wear anymore, but they aren’t quite sure what to do with them. Those old tees can be made into easy dog toys that can be donated to the animal shelter. Here’s how to do it. First, cut 2-3” strips at the bottom of the shirt. Once all the slits are cut, rip along the slits to get the perfect strips. Gather the strips that were just made and tie them together at the top. Divide into three sections and begin braiding. Once the braid has reached the bottom, tie it off. 

Makeover the website
As animals get adopted and more become available for adoption, the website needs to be updated. The website is used for looking at adoptable animals and making donations, so it needs to look professional. Website designers and tech savvy people are needed to maintain and improve the shelter’s website.

Photograph animals available for adoption
Adoption profiles are needed to capture the animal’s personality to attract potential adopters. Pictures of the animals are needed for adoption profiles and records. The quality of the pictures can affect how fast an animal gets adopted. Animals need pictures to show their best sides and personality to attract potential adopters to their profile. HeartsSpeak  is an organization that helps pair photographers with shelters in need. 

Write adoption profiles
After the picture draws them in, their heart is captured by the descriptions of the animals up for adoption, prompting people to visit and adopt them. Shelters are in dire need of writers capable of persuading people to adopt animals into a home full of love. 

Updating the social media pages
The best way to reach an abundance of people is through multiple social media platforms. People are needed to run these platforms, updating the community of adoption opportunities and animals available for adoption. People with experience of social media applications can help out the animal shelter greatly by posting updates every now and then. 

These are only a few ways to help out, but there are numerous other ways out there. Everyone’s talents and caring hearts are needed at local animal shelters, and everyone is encouraged to reach out to help make a difference in these animals’ lives.