April is Animal Anticruelty Awareness month. How are you going to get involved?
Every year my employer holds a giving campaign over the period of a couple of weeks. It is a time of year that we reflect on our passions and the diverse organizations that we support. One of the creative activities for the thousands of employees at our the headquarters is to write our chosen organization with a fun neon dry wipe marker on the surrounding windows of the building where everyone passes by on a daily basis. I was pleasantly surprised there were numerous dog specific rescue groups, charities, and organizations were listed.
This made my heart smile and got me thinking about writing this post. Maybe you’ve adopted from a rescue before. But maybe it just isn’t the right time to have a dog in your life. There are lots of ways to help dogs that are in need?
Why are there dogs in need?
Here are some shocking statistics from the ASPCA , the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, statistics
- 44% of all households in American include a dog.
- Sadly, 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide during a year
- 1.6 million of these dogs are adopted each year.
- 620,000 dogs are returned to owners as strays.
- And the rest, unfortunately, are euthanized.
I grew up in a very small farming community and all of our family dogs were being rehomed or given to us for free. We love every one of them as if they were “best in show”. I am so glad that “rescue”, or being able to provide homes for all these dogs, was part of our family culture but there is an unfortunate truth that the following are just a few reasons dogs find themselves homeless:
- litters from unplanned backyard breeding
- a drastic change in an owners economic or family situation (death or illness)
- the birth of a new baby
- a poor choice of a breed for an unprepared owner
- behavioral and physical challenges statistically at 43% rank the highest reason for rehoming
- military deployment
- natural disasters
- think you’re ready, but you’re not ready
Here is a short documentary that I found through another dog blogger who actually was a foster failure. That means they agreed to foster a dog in need and well…..failed….but sometimes failing is a good thing. You see when you are a foster failure that means you welcomed that dog into your home permanently. Hooray for all the foster failures.
Have your tissues ready to watch the video. This is one small example of an awesome organization at work saving lives. But it is a drastic reminder of the unfortunate truth that these situations are being discovered on a daily basis. Not a pleasant documentary to make or to watch but I hope if you are able, that you can help in some of the following ways.
If you can’t adopt, foster.
If you have the heart, the home, and the means please adopt. There are tons of resources available on the internet these days to help you find the perfect dog to fit into your family. Our Chase was one of those dogs that I feel, deep in my heart, the universe brought to me when I found him on Petfinder.com. That story is a whole other blog post.
But if you knowthat adopting is not the best option for you right now, don’t let that keep you from helping.
Do the next best thing, foster.
By fostering you’ll be supporting a shelter or rescue organization to bring dogs out of stressful situations into your home so you can help them to rehabilitate and adjust to family living. This entails caring for their needs, establishing routines, and providing the necessary behavior or manners training to make them the perfect dog for there future forever home. You are not limited to only supporting a local rescue. If you would rather participate in a rescue for a specific breed there are many of them that have foster families in different geographical regions.
How about raising a service or therapy dog? Wow, how ultimately rewarding would that be? There are programs for both fostering puppies entering a service program or fostering adult dogs as they prepare for their assignments. Search online and you may find a local service organization to support.
Let’s not forget the military family or individual that finds themselves being deployed far from home. Undoubtedly they could be struggling with finding support for their pets during that time. By supporting them, you are supporting our country, and giving them the peace of mind that their four-legged family members will be loved and cared for until they return from service. Learn about the PACT organization here.
If you can’t foster, volunteer.
Just because you may not be in a position to adopt or foster, you can still help out rescues and shelters by volunteering your time. It can take a lot of caring hands to intake new dogs into a rescue especially if the situation is a from a hoarder. It also takes a crew to showcase available dogs at adoption events making sure they are all getting time with prospective adoptees and answering any questions they may have.
Shelters are also embracing help from public volunteers by having programs where you can take a shelter dog out for the day to enjoy some one on one time hiking, enjoying some fresh air. Truly a win-win for both the dog and the volunteer sharing the day together. Check your local shelters for “Doggy Day Out” programs.
A more specialized volunteer option is helping with transportation. Transporting dogs from geographical areas with shelters that are high kill into rescue. Or transporting dogs from rescue into their forever homes. This could mean driving or flying, yes I said flying. Check out one example, an organization called Pilot N Paws, Pilot dogs, and Wings of Rescue.
And to wrap it all together there is Doobert. What a great organization and creative person who started Doobert to help connect all the transportation needs for dogs who need to travel. Where there is a will there is a way to help a dog reach its forever home no matter how far.
Be creative with what you have to offer as a volunteer. Maybe you have experience or specialize in fundraising or website development. All skill sets can be utilized to help organizations that rely on volunteers. Just reach out and give it a try.
If you can’t volunteer, donate.
If you are short on time then the next best thing is helping out with a donation of monies or supplies. Any of the previously mentioned organizations will gladly accept donations. But if you are still looking worthy causes to donate funds to there is also some great research that could use your help. Listed below are some of our favorites.
In conclusion you just can’t go wrong with any cause you choose to support with your time or money. Everyone can make a difference to a dog in need.
The sky is the limit and I hope this post has motivated to lend a helping hand in any way that you can.