Dogs are selfless beings and many get abused, one way or the other. Some receive horrible treatments while others are loved for a few months and then get abandoned. The shared attribute of all these dogs is the place that is welcoming them all.
Call it a shelter, call it a pond, call it a rescue, or call it a rehoming center – it serves one purpose only: caring for each dog transiting there.
Rescue centers work hard to fix damages already done to each dog. They have specialists working hard, day and night, to care for these poor dogs in hope that somebody will one day want to adopt one of them.
Sounds good, right? Yes, in theory rescue center are super awesome. In practice, they lack staff, they rely on too few people, and constantly need help from volunteers because money is scarce. Shelters don’t attract investors nor they get much governmental grants.
In a few words: dog shelters need you, they need help.
1 – Volunteer One Day a Week
Nobody can just volunteer five days a week but most of us could allocate half a day each week to our local shelter. If you have a particular specialty, offer it to the team over there. You need not be a vet, all associations need secretaries, accountants, legalists, and even marketers.
Back in the days, the youth used to volunteer at the local farm and do all the cleaning and chores. That’s something you could do, too, even for a couple of hours only.
Volunteering at a dog rescue center starts by making an appointment with a manager and asking what do they need. Explain where your strengths lie in, and see where you could be a good fit.
2 – Foster a Dog and Make Two Happy
Fostering a dog means welcoming a homeless rescued dog for a while generally after surgery or if it has been in the shelter for a very long time. By doing so, you are making two dogs happy – the one you are welcoming home, and the one taking his place in the shelter!
Indeed, rehoming centers have more dogs in need of a place than they have free spaces. So they either cannot accept any new dog, or they have to get rid of the longest-staying ones (e.g. euthanasia tends to occur at this stage.)
Fostering a dog is a wonderful thing a lot of people can do but not many people know they can do that. You can impose a maximum duration for how long you will care for a given dog, and you can often pick which done you want to care for.
3 – Raise Money In Your Neighborhood
Volunteering is often dismissed just because “we all have better things to do, right?”. Not sure this is true but you cannot force people doing it. Instead, you could try to motivate them to raise some money in their network.
Workplace, family gathering, church, town hall, markets, school, and so many more spots where you can raise any amount of money. From $10 to $500. Every little helps, especially if you are a tiny shelter cutting costs to the utter minimum.
Oh and you could also do it online if you run a website, blog or ecommerce site. I’ve seen some fundraising campaigns doing quite well on Facebook Groups as well!
If money is a little weird to gather in your circles, you can ask people to give you some healthy dog foods and dog supplies that you can bring every week or month to your local shelter!
4 – Help The Shelter With Its Online Matters
Following up on the above, you could assist the shelter with its online strategy. Most rehoming center or dog ponds do not really do a great job at keeping their website updated. They rarely write original content and they seem all dead on social media’s. Not very enticing for somebody who would be keen on adopting rather than shopping for a dog.
No need to be a computer scientist to help out – there are so many articles you could write up that would drive so much interest and attention on all the hard work completed by the center.
For example, you could write a weekly article on what goes behind closed doors in a dog rescue center and how a small one is run. If you feel better with a camera, film and edit a series of mini videos and interviews introducing the team of your local shelter.
Just like volunteering, it’s a matter of starting rather than pondering for weeks on what could be done. Get yourself there, speak to them, and quickly get to work. If it doesn’t work, change!
5 – Don’t Breed Dogs At All
Obviously, dog breeders are not foreign to the issue of pet overpopulation. They may not be the main and only cause but they share responsibilities.
Too often, breedings occur and litters of puppies come to this world by accident. And these puppies will in their turn, few years down the line, accidentally give birth to their own puppies. A decade later you end up with dozens of unwanted puppies just from one mistake – multiply that by the thousands of mistakes every year!
The very same goes for irresponsible breeders who just do it to see their female dog go through motherhood. Breeding dogs should only be done to promote certain characteristics and rid others of the future progenies. It’s not a fun experience but a complex project instead. It takes years to master what dog breeding really is and to do it means committing to the breed fully for the years to come.
Shelters are having a very bad time coping with abandoned dogs all over the globe so if you cannot or do not want to help them out, try to not make it worse at least.