For pet owners, their dogs, cats and other pets play an important role in bringing added happiness to their lives. As not every dog and cat is as fortunate to be with their forever families, you may be looking for ways to give back and help pets in need.
As many as 117,000 cats and dogs enter shelters every year across Canada, according to The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. There are numerous ways you can help homeless pets and give back, starting with these tips.
Volunteer at your local animal welfare organization. Almost every community has at least one animal shelter or rescue group that needs help. A simple internet search is a good place to start, or ask your veterinarian for recommendations on local organizations that assist pets in need. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities at shelters and rescue organizations, from office duties and community outreach and education to training, feeding and socializing, so people with every skillset are often able to lend a hand.
Donate supplies. Items such as food, cat litter, cleaning supplies and blankets are almost always in demand at animal shelters and rescues. While pets await adoption, they need access to food, making pet food a significant operating expense for animal welfare organizations. Through PetSmart’s Buy a Bag, Give a Meal program, for every bag of dog or cat food purchased online and at its stores across North America through the end of the year, the leading pet specialty retailer will donate a meal to a pet in need served by animal welfare organizations and food banks.
Foster or adopt a pet. As many animal welfare organizations have dogs or cats not suited for living in a shelter atmosphere, fostering a pet in your home is a simple way to give back without the long-term commitment of pet ownership. These pets may be older and in need of a quiet environment or a space to recover from a recent surgery. Of course, if you’re ready for a new pet, your local shelter or rescue organization may have the perfect one waiting for you. Adopting from a rescue or shelter can not only save that pet, but also open a spot in the facility and potentially save another animal.
Take care of pets at home. One of the most important things you can do for pets in need is simply not become part of the problem. Be ready for the responsibility before adopting a pet and know that having one requires a long-term commitment. Be sure to keep pets fed, watered, groomed and vaccinated, and have your pet spayed or neutered to help avoid pet overpopulation.
Find more ways to get involved at your local shelter or rescue group, and learn more about the Buy a Bag, Give a Meal program at Petsmart.ca/giveameal.