November 26, 2014

5 things you can do to help shelter animals + tips from Instagrammers.



The holidays are around the corner and while we all make plans to get together with loved ones and enjoy some cheer, food and presents, I thought to do a quick post on how we can all lend a hand to help shelter animals. 

Yangkyu and I support rescue and advocacy groups mostly through monetary funds. We try and encourage others to do the same, but I realize that not everyone has the capacity to do so. For some, even contributing their own personal time can be tough. And it's unfortunate when people start to feel helpless in helping animals in need.

There are actually many things that people can do to help other than contributing money and time. I share my five tips at the bottom of this blog, but I also thought to ask the good folks on Instagram to share their advice on how to help a shelter animal out, not only this holiday season, but throughout the year. Here is what some folks had to say: 

*These have been edited for length purposes. You can see everyone's tips and advice in full hereThank you so much for taking the time out to write to us!  
@foxteufelswild :: I was thinking if I could offer my camera and my photo skills to a local animal shelter. 
@thegracechon :: Taking pictures of shelter dogs is a huge help. (**Grace is an amazing photographer who also donates her time and services to rescue groups in Los Angeles. She is also the creator of the Zoey & Jasper photo series that went viral earlier this year.)
@eleanorpike95 :: Not sure if you have this in the US, but most supermarkets here in the UK have a big box next to their exit or entrance for donations to local shelters. So you can buy dog food and blankets, etc. whilst doing your food shop and leave a bag in the box on your way out! Quick way to help out! 
@alibuchanan84 :: The rescue I volunteered with in Korea, besides monetary donations, we asked for old blankets and sweatshirts, photographers to get good shots of the dogs, we also did videos of the dogs so people could see their personalities. We also had some dog trainers help with very difficult dogs. People donated old leashes and harnesses of all sizes.
@vslseet :: I know transport of rescue dogs from shelters to their forever homes is a great way to help.
@freyjapup :: Social media is a big help. I work off and on at a doggy daycare that does small-time rescue and Facebook has helped get the word out about our dogs. While spending time with rescue dogs is awesome, telling other people about the dogs is even better. I would say fostering is the ultimate thing you could do for a shelter animal (other than adopting), but not everyone is able to (or should) make that commitment. 

I have already mentioned in the past, but Piri is not a rescue dog. My brother bought him at a mall in Georgia. It was before we knew any better - before we knew anything about puppy mills and what adopting a dog really meant. When Piri was entering the senior stage in his life, he came to live with me and  Yangkyu. 

While Piri is not a rescue, he has taught us a lot about the issue and throughout the process we got to know some really great rescue and advocacy organizations. Piri continues to teach us about a lot of things. This is one of the best perks in having a pet in your life. 

Adding to the great suggestions from Instagrammers, here are some of our thoughts on how you can help a shelter animal today: 

1. Find a local rescue organization near you and follow them on Facebook or any other social media platform that is comfortable for you to use. Join their email mailing list. Just by doing this you have unlocked an endless number of opportunities you can join to help shelter animals. You will be updated on emergency fund needs, dates to meet dogs at local adoption shows and shopping opportunities {jewelry, wine, chocolate, clothing} where proceeds go towards rescue efforts. And just by being connected to a rescue organization you have, at the tip of your hands, the power to help disperse information far and wide. You can share with your family, colleagues and friends AND encourage them to do the same. Yangkyu and I are connected to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue and Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation

2. Collaborate. Have you ever felt like you wished you had a few hundred bucks to donate to a rescue group? I've seen many people who say they wish they can win the lottery so they can do what they always wanted to do -- help animals in need. Really. You don't need to wait until you hit the jackpot. Commit $5. Ask 2o of your friends to skip out on Starbucks for a day and help contribute $5. Boom. You just raised $100. $5 may seem really small, but when you collaborate with others that $5 becomes $10, $30, 100, $500. It's the same concept with donated goods, food and other needed supplies. Same for folks with hobbies. Are you a knitter with many knitting friends? Get together and knit some warm blankets. The possibility to collaborate for shelter animals is endless. Get creative and stay committed. //Don't have anyone to collaborate with? Skip that Starbucks coffee anyway and donate your $5. It will go a long way for the animal in need. Never think that your donation amount is too small and won't have any impact. 

3. Check your company policy. Some companies have really amazing matching fund programs for their employees. Either they will match the dollar donation (some even matching at 100%) you make to an organization or they will make a monetary donation for every hour you volunteer with a organization of your choice (time is usually capped). Please make sure the organization you wish to do a matching program with is a registered 501 c3, non-profit. If not, the matching program won't apply.  

4. Sign up for action alerts. Many organizations are leading the charge to change laws on the local, state and federal levels so that animals are protected and policies are adopted so that the number of animals that end up in shelters decrease, and that no-kill shelters are implemented across the country. There are online petition drive alerts to encourage people to send letters to elected officials. There are sample letters provided and the process is super easy. And of course, there is always that last step, which is to share and encourage five of your friends and family to take action as well. Yangkyu and I are signed up to receive alerts with Best Friends Animal Society and the ASPCA and also take action through The Humane Society of the United States Facebook page.

5. Commit to doing. This doesn't have to be a Herculean effort. Fostering and adopting are great and amazing ways to help a shelter animal out, but  not every can {or should} do it. That doesn't mean that there is nothing else you can do. When you see an animal in need, commit to doing something. Share the picture, donate, email/forward to your friends, give up your birthday presents and ask friends to donate instead, replace wedding and party favors with donations to a local rescue group, take 2 minutes and sign that online petition. The most important thing we all do is committing to doing something instead of feeling sad. Any act, when it is done in mass, in collaboration, has a profound impact, especially for those animals waiting for their happy endings. 

What have I missed? Please share your best tips and advice!

20 comments

  1. These are great tips! And the one about a box being at the supermarket here in the UK is right. There's always one in our supermarket, you can buy food or other items for animals and put them in there and they take it to animals that need it, it's really quite good and there's always stuff in there that people have given. Every little helps really, if we all put in a little, it will turn into a lot!! :) xx

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    1. I think some grocery stores in the US have this as well and especially local pet stores. It's really a great idea! And so true - every little helps!

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  2. I love these tips! What a great post and a great way to support shelters. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Jane! xx Kat


    Love and Ace

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  3. Great tips, Jane! I have donated to the Best Friends Animal Society and the ASPCA but I didn't think about signing up to receive alerts from them until I read this post!

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  4. I love how dedicated you are to this cause, Jane. Thanks for sharing all these tips Every little bit helps when it comes to charity.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

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  5. It's great that u raise awarness about those things. It makes me kind of sad when see how people minorize those problems when put together with the problems of humans. In my city there are some active groups helping animals but it s not easy because whenever they stress out some problem there is always that 'there are so many humans in need' like we can't help everywhere, to everyone and be happy when we contribute however. xx

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    1. I know what you mean. It's hard when people and children are suffering so much.. for some they are just trying to survive. But for me, all causes are important and I don't want to put one over the other. Sometimes I even see people who says things like "dogs are treated better than people", and unfortunately for some groups of people they may feel that way, and in some cases, it might be true, but it doesn't take away the fact that animals are abused and tortured by people. Everyone suffers and we should all uplift each other's struggles and causes instead of putting it down. xx

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  6. Aww Jane thank you for sharing these tips!! I've never thought that you can offer photography services for pets in shelters and I would love to do that. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Your photography service would be so helpful for animals in Hawaii! I hope you will be able to do it! If you do, please share our experience on your blog! I would love to hear more about it!

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  7. Thanks for posting! I will have to remember to donate to the cat shelter they have at my local Pet Co. Funny last year at this time was when I found my kitty Chloe, she just turned up in the cold and the dark in the driveway meowing her 8 week kitten ass off. Still have her!

    Allie of ALLIENYC
    allienyc.com

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    1. xx so sweet that you two found each other!

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  8. I love the idea of sharing pictures. I know times where I've looked in to adopting, I go to websites to see available animals before actually going to the shelters. I would also love to start fostering pets as soon as I have room!

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  9. this is very helpful information. I've always dreamed of having a dog growing up, and I do plan to have one or two in the future. I do hear that it is better to adopt from animal shelters and thats probably what I would do! I feel like social media would be a huge help for these cats and dogs!

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  10. These are excellent things one can do! I usually donate, but I can do so much more. Thanks for this post!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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