“At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, we should make some slight provision for the poor. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.” – A Christmas Carol
Inspirational holiday tales like Charles Dickens’ classic often show people helping one another, but what about helping friends of the four-legged variety? As we initiate or participate in holiday giving, there are many ways to help a canine at Christmas. Here are some of our favorite ideas this year—from the familiar to unexpected.
Donate Money and More
It’s the time of year where money flows more freely from our fingers—often toward Black Friday specials and holiday coffee drinks. Be intentional and direct some of that disposable income to a life-giving source. Even if the bank account is low, you have options:
- Donate to large, reputable organizations like PAWS, where your money can go to microchip dogs for safety, feeding them for a week, and more.
- Use petfinder.com to locate shelters near you that take donations.
- Purchase presents for dogs (food, blankets, toys) and donate them to shelters.
- If money is tight, donate gently used items. Your local shelter may even need helpful human donations (like printers or computers) that help in their important work.
- If you’re crafty, knit doggy sweaters or other gifts to donate tangible presents made by your own hands.
Lend a Hand
Winter can be a cold and lonely time for animals, and more help may be needed at your local shelter. This could mean hands-on help with the animals, but it might also include your specialized skills. Could your graphic design abilities help produce flyers to promote holiday adoption? Might your social media skills increase awareness and put more puppies under the trees in your neighborhood? Find and contact your local shelter and see where they can use help beyond monetary and material donations.
Promote Shelter Adoption
Whether you’re working first-hand with a local shelter or not, you can promote adoption with friends, family, in your neighborhood, and in your social media circles:
- Does your sibling have a child at that perfect age to get a puppy for Christmas?
- Is your friend finally settling into their newly acquired home that’s only missing the pitter-patter of a cute quadruped?
- Do you have friends on Facebook and elsewhere talking about plans or considerations to adopt a dog?
Encouraging others to visit their local shelter and consider dogs in need often yields results. A boy or girl might have their heart set on a particular size, shape, etc., but when they see the puppy-dog eyes of a shelter dog yearning for their forever home, they’ll be won over. You can share the ASPCA’s link that provides an easy search for adoptable dogs in your area.
An overcrowded shelter is never healthy or happy for the animals, and may inhibit adoption. Freeing up space by fostering a puppy makes room for the other animals, and allows you to assess the dog and articulate a personality profile for the shelter and their prospective forever family. Puppies may be too young to adopt out, and you could enjoy that cuteness for Christmas while being a help to your local shelter. Contact local shelters or agencies and ask about fostering: You may have just the right space—or be at the right point in your life—to make this a help that extends beyond the holidays.
Diversify Gifts and Wish Lists
What do you get for the person who has everything? What do you get for the dog who has everything? With a little intentional planning, your gift ideas and shopping plans can benefit dogs in need:
- Make sure your own wish list asks for donations to your favorite shelter or dog-helping organization.
- Consider family and friends that would appreciate this kind of gift, and give a donation in their name as a present this year.
From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, Zappos.com partnered with Best Friends Animal Society to provide free dog and cat adoptions for the “Pawlidayz,” as well as a charitable donation for each adopted pet. You never know what retailer or organization is going to team up, so keep your eyes open and support stores that are dog-friendly. You may also find a site or store like The Animal Rescue Site where everything from dog socks to human sweaters will fund at least 14 bowls of food for shelter animals. If all dog lovers take that little extra time to make sure their shopping efforts support animal-caring organizations, it can really add up.
Rover’s Holiday Donation Program
We’re proud to team up with Pet Partners to present our own holiday option for helping dogs. Pet Partners trains and educates owners of therapy animals, and for everyone who books a stay over the holidays with Rover, Rover.com will donate $1 to Pet Partners—up to one million dollars! For more details on how your dog’s staycation can help therapy animals improve the lives of others, check out the full post.
You could make a difference in a dog’s life during the holidays. You might even find that the holiday spirit extends beyond the season.
Top Image Courtesy of Flickr.com/audreyjm529