Rachael Ray Every Day - - Contents -

Un­ex­pected ways to help your lo­cal animal shel­ter

When it comes to lend­ing a paw to animal-res­cue orgs, adopt­ing a lit­tle dude of your own isn’t the only way to pitch in. Here are some al­ter­na­tive ideas for giv­ing furry or­phans a leg (or four) up. RAISE FUNDS

A great way to put cash (yours and other peo­ple’s) in the cof­fers of your fa­vorite shel­ter is to set up a vir­tual do­na­tion drive, like a Gofundme, a birth­day fund-raiser on Face­book, or a Kick­starter cam­paign. Go the ex­tra mile. Turn an IRL event, like a block party, into a fund-raiser. “One vol­un­teer is in­clud­ing us in her wed­ding by re­quest­ing peo­ple sup­port Animal Haven in lieu of gifts,” says Jenny Cof­fey, direc­tor of com­mu­nity out­reach at Animal Haven in New York City.


One man’s trash may be his best friend’s trea­sure. Food and toys are the ob­vi­ous choice, but did you know that old bed­ding and tow­els are in de­mand to make those cages a lit­tle more cozy? If you’re un­sure of what’s needed, call your lo­cal shel­ter and ask for its wish list. Go the ex­tra mile. Rally friends or co­work­ers to do­nate their gen­tly used pet sup­plies. Your boss may be more than happy to purge that old pup­py­train­ing crate—es­pe­cially when you’re do­ing the drop-off for her.


“Don’t just Like your fa­vorite shel­ter’s posts—re­share them to help get the word out to more peo­ple,” says Nora Von­drell, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the SICSA Pet Adop­tion Cen­ter in Day­ton, Ohio. Or take your own photo of an adopt­able pet and in­clude info about the shel­ter’s up­com­ing events in the cap­tion. Go the ex­tra mile. Of­fer to help with the shel­ter’s so­cial me­dia—a cool line on your ré­sumé and one less thing on the em­ploy­ees’ plates.


“We have a role for ab­so­lutely ev­ery in­ter­est,” says Sarah Mcdon­ald, as­so­ciate direc­tor of me­dia and com­mu­nity re­la­tions at PAWS Chicago. “If you have a skill that you think would ben­e­fit home­less pets, we likely can use your help.” To start, con­tact your lo­cal shel­ter and of­fer your time and tal­ents. Go the ex­tra mile. Have a knack for Web de­sign or writ­ing? Ask if you can give the site, adop­tion ads, or the news­let­ter a pol­ish.


Spend your down­time play­ing fetch with lonely pooches. Give the shel­ter a call or visit its web­site to find out the vol­un­teer­ing re­quire­ments. You may need train­ing be­fore you’re al­lowed to walk or play with the pets (for your safety and theirs), or you might have to com­mit to reg­u­lar vis­its. Go the ex­tra mile. Plan an ex­tended va­cay for one lucky animal (or more) by be­com­ing a fos­ter par­ent. Bonus points for teach­ing them some man­ners un­til they find their safe, happy for­ever homes.


Pho­tog­ra­pher Guin­n­e­vere Shus­ter takes photo booth–style head shots of shel­ter dogs to en­cour­age peo­ple to adopt.

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