This week is National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week and Rover wants to celebrate by thanking all the amazing shelters and rescues who help save the lives of animals every day. According to the Humane Society of the United States there are approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the U.S. that serve approximately 6-8 million homeless animals each year. During this week, people are encouraged to become acquainted with their local shelters and rescues to learn how they can give back.
Giving back to animal shelters and rescues has been part of Rover’s mission since the day we launched. Our support quickly grew into our Sit-a-Dog, Save-a-Life program, which launched in November 2011 and allows Rover sitters to donate a portion of their proceeds to over 40 organizations nationwide. To date, we have more than 1,200 sitters who have chosen to donate and this number keeps on rising!
You may be wondering how you as an individual can help local shelters or rescues in your own area. The Human Society has pulled this list together of “Ten Ways to Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue”.
1. Share your love
Tell the world how you feel about your local shelter or rescue by using The Humane Society of the United States’ Facebook share graphics.
Just click on your favorite to add the image to your Facebook page. (If you think they’re both too cute to choose a favorite, swap them out every day.)
2. Get to know your local shelter and rescue groups
Start the process by locating all of the ones in your area. You may be surprised how many groups nearby are helping animals.
3. Learn before you leap
Before you adopt, go to the Shelter Pet Project to learn what to expect when adopting a pet. You’ll be much less likely to become frustrated and return your new pet if you understand the challenges and rewards of adopting a pet beforehand.
4. Say “thanks!”
Take a minute to express your gratitude to the people who work at your local shelter or rescue groups. If you’ve adopted a pet from one of them, show how well your pet is doing by sharing an updated picture via a letter, email, or posting it on the organization’s Facebook page or website.
5. Get crafty
Combine fabric, yarn, recycles, and imagination to bring much-needed fun into the lives of local shelter and rescue pets. There’s no end to the toys you can make. Try braiding strips of fleece into fun for dogs, or cutting and folding a surprising household object into a cat distractor.
Are you a born match-maker? Create attention-grabbing “Adopt-Me” vests to spotlight available pets at adoption events held by shelters and rescues. We’ve found DIY options for those of us who avoid sewing as well as sewing-machine wizards.
6. Become a fan
“Like” the Shelter Pet Project on Facebook. Then, if possible, “like” the individual groups in your community, too.
7. Make wishes come true
Shelters and rescue groups always need towels, toys, and other supplies. Check their websites for wish lists or call them to find out what’s in short supply.
Even if you can’t adopt a pet just now, you can help make life better for homeless animals by volunteering with your local shelter or rescue organization. Do you have experience as a carpenter or electrician? Are you a marketing or dog-walking whiz? All of these skills are valuable!
9. Help at your own home
Make the jobs of shelters and rescues easier: Outfit your cats and dogs with collars and proper ID (a microchip and ID tags) at all times. As soon as you bring them into your family, have all of your pets spayed or neutered. Keep your cats indoors, where you can keep them safe (though it’s great to take them on walks if they are comfortable on a harness and leash), and keep dogs on leashes when off your property.
10. Help your shelter make positive changes
If you see or hear anything at your local shelter that concerns you, follow The HSUS’s guidelines for addressing that concern in the most effective way.
And now one more added from Rover…
11. Rover sitters, donate some of your proceeds to a shelter through out Sit-a-Dog, Save-a-Life program
Rover’s Sit-a-Dog, Save-a-Life program supports animal shelters and companion animal programs across the nation. Since March of 2012, this program has allowed Rover to donate a portion of their proceeds to partner organizations and made it easy for our sitters to do the same!