As animal lovers, many of us would love to take home the entire shelter if only we were able. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic for most people. There are, however, things you can do to make sure the doe eyed pups of all ages are comfortable and happy during their time in the shelter. Shelters and humane societies often rely on the donation of money, goods, and time to provide for the animals. Many shelters have specific rules or preferences about what can be accepted as a donation so it’s always best to call ahead or check the shelter’s website to take a look at their wish list. Thanks to technology, some shelters even allow you donate directly online through an Amazon Wish List that they’ve set up with their most needed items.
You may think that food is first on an animal shelter’s wish list and that is, indeed, the case most of the time. However, many shelters ask for a specific type or brand of food. For example, Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART) in Fairfax Station, prefers to receive Kirkland Costco brand food and the SPCA of Northern Virginia requests Avo brand food for dogs. While it may seem strange that shelters that are in need may request specific foods, it’s important to keep in mind that sudden, and potentially, drastic changes in food can cause dietary distress for dogs. It’s also important to note that shelters cannot accept open or expired foods. There are still many shelters that are happy to take any brand of unopened dog food, soft treats, and even canned chicken. Your best bet is to check with the shelter ahead of time.
Though shelter staff goes above and beyond to make sure every animal is comfortable and happy, the reality is that abandoned and surrendered pets may get a little blue. Just because you can’t cuddle all of the puppies doesn’t mean that you can’t make them feel cozy and loved. Many shelters accept beds, blankets, towels, squeaky toys, indestructible toys such as Kongs, and crates. Some shelters, such as Loudoun County Animal Shelter, even accept puzzles for dogs! Of course, not all shelters accept the same creature comforts so please check their list before you drop off your goodies. A touch of home can make all the difference in a dog’s day.
When you’re considering what to donate to your shelter, you may not think of donating the supplies it takes to support day-to-day operations. Many shelters welcome items like office supplies, paper towels, disinfectant and cleaners, food scales, batteries, food and water bowls, nylon slip leads, and flea and tick preventative. Some shelters may even be in need of a car donation or gift cards for gas. These donations can go a long way to help the staff cut down on little costs that add up quickly.
Shelters rely on your love, donation, and volunteering to keep things running smoothly. When donating food to a shelter, it’s important to remember that they cannot accept any open or expired foods and that any goods donated should be clean and in good condition. No money to spare? No problem! As with most things, time is the most precious commodity and shelters are always looking for enthusiastic animal lovers to help care for pups. Check with your local animal shelter or humane society to see where their most pressing donation needs lie.