Tonight, as I am writing this article, my four dogs are lounging on the couch, there’s a fire in the stove, our house is toasty warm and all their bellies are full. They are lucky dogs, and I imagine that many of The River Reporter’s readers’ dogs are living the same type of life. I find that many dog lovers think of their furry friends as family, and treat them as such. Our dogs don’t want for much, they receive routine veterinary care, quality food, toys, and they often accompany us on our travels about town. It’s not surprising then that most of us will include our dogs on our holiday gift list. Like I said, our dogs are lucky.
Unfortunately, our communities are full of less fortunate dogs (and other animals) that are homeless, lost, hungry, abused, or abandoned. All of our local shelters have an abundance of animals in need of new homes. During this season of giving, there are many things you can do to help the less fortunate animals in our neighborhoods. A donation to your local animal shelter can top the list. While many people will drop of a bag of food or toys/treats for the animals, I’ve come up with a list of other items that may help as well.
1. Office supplies such as pens, paper and postage stamps
2. Pet grooming supplies such as shampoo, towels and brushes, a good pair of clippers
3. Gift certificates to local pet supply stores (Many shelters become overwhelmed with donations of food this time of year, and a gift card will allow them to get what they really need when they need it.)
4. Offer to pay one month’s utility bill
5. Donate your time to help with a fundraiser, or to visit and socialize with the animals
6. Cat litter; even though it doesn’t sound too exciting, most shelters go through hundreds of pounds a month.
7. Gently used towels and blankets
8. If your local shelter has a thrift store, donate your gently used household items there.
9. Cleaning and laundry supplies, such as bleach, laundry detergent and dish soap, paper towels and toilet paper
10. Adopt your new pet rather than buy it; you will open up a cage for the next needy animal and save a life.
I am sure that any of the above items would be greatly appreciated by all of our local animal sheltering organizations. If you are unsure what may be the best donation, it can be a good idea to call and ask what they need the most. Shelter staff and volunteers will let you know what their most important, immediate need is.
And while you are at it, take the time to give a big “thank you” to the shelter staff and volunteers who work tirelessly day in and day out to give so much to the community and its animal population. A tray of fresh baked cookies, a gift certificate for a staff lunch from a local pizzeria, a basket of bagels with cream cheese, a box of chocolates will go a long way in helping to show your appreciation of the good work they do.
From our house to yours, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.