As your dog curls up next to you this winter, you’ll feel the cozy warmth of knowing you found each other. But dogs in shelters are still waiting for that lucky match. You can’t adopt all the dogs, but you can lend a hand with donations that will brighten those dogs’ days and help the hard-working shelter staff who care for them.
Gift cards or money
Shelters appreciate cash or checks that allow them the flexibility to purchase what they need. Many shelters stretch your donated dollar by purchasing supplies in bulk and at cheaper prices. Shelters also appreciate gift cards to stores like Walmart, Amazon, and Target where they can shop for a variety of goods.
You can also shop using a shelter’s online wish list (many of them use Amazon.com) and have needed supplies sent straight to the shelter.
At a pet shelter they need a constant supply of food to keep all the hungry bellies full. Before you donate food, check with the shelter if they have preferred brands. Some common food requests include:
Cleaning and office supplies
Taking care of dogs can be a messy business, so shelters will gladly take cleaning supplies to keep the facilities in tip-top shape. In addition, they need office supplies. Common requests include:
Toys and accessories
Shelters need toys that keep dogs busy, along with basic accessories like leashes. Make sure you clarify which toys the shelter prefers, and only donate new items. Common requests include:
Time and services
Finally, you might have a skill to donate. Maybe you’re an amazing photographer who could volunteer to take photos of incoming shelter dogs. Perhaps you build websites and could offer to revamp a shelter’s web presence. Get creative!
Terri Inglis, executive director of the Homeward Pet Adoption Center in Woodinville, Washington, said one of the most meaningful gifts this year was from a family who was touring the U.S. and giving baths to shelter dogs.
If you donate, make it easy on the shelter staff by checking ahead of time how and when they prefer to receive items. Find out about their wish lists, which help by making donations an easy add-on to online shopping. Here are two such wish lists, from Homeward Pet Adoption Center in WA and Last Hope in Wantagh, New York.
When you donate to a pet shelter, you’ll help a dog in need stay happy and healthy until she finds her forever home.