Sunday, December 7, 2014

HELPING SHELTER ANIMALS DURING THE HOLIDAYS



The merriest time of the year for a lot of us can be heartbreaking for many.  Charities throughout the country know this and work even harder than usual to bring a bit of joy to those in need.  While pets with homes receive an abundance of gifts and treats during the holiday season, their shelter equivalents do not often receive those luxuries.  Why can’t we also bring a bit of good cheer to these often forgotten homeless animals?

The ultimate hope is that each shelter pet has a Home for the Holidays.  However, if that does not happen, you can still help our furry friends believe the world is a little kinder during this most magical of times.  While most of us would love to provide something, it can be difficult.  There do not seem enough hours in the day, or enough money, to achieve everything we want during this season, let alone assist a shelter animal.  Doing one or more things, however, can potentially make a huge difference in a small desolate life.

The easiest and cheapest way is to spread the word about them.  You can distribute fliers for an upcoming major adoption event like “Home for the Holidays” or information about the now-adoption-ready animals in retail stores, veterinarian offices and various other businesses.  Doing this has the potential to bring them one step closer to getting their forever family.  If you can share a selfie, then you can share an adoptable pet profile on social media.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, to name a few, are excellent ways to help advertise the animals needing homes.

If you have a car and enjoy driving, help the Animal Care Center get animals to rescue facilities.  By being willing to transport, you have the ability to increase their chance for adoption.  It also frees up space at the shelter so another pet in need can have a safe place to be during this season.  By helping one in this way, you are actually helping two animals.

The Tehama County Animal Care Center’s staff can use a great deal of help exercising and socializing the animals.  In as little as thirty minutes, once a week, taking a dog for a walk or playing with a cat will have the huge benefit of getting them ready for their new home.  Working with the dogs to understand basics like sit, down, and leash walking contributes to making them more desirable to potential adopters and/or rescues.  The extra benefit is that the animals adore the attention and exercise.

If you are throwing a holiday party, perhaps you could ask your guests to bring something to donate, like those special treats or something comfortable animals can lay on.  You could, in addition, place a jar with a picture of one of the shelter pets on your desk at work and ask for sponsorship donations.  Sponsoring a spay or neuter will help lower the animal’s adoption fee and, again, increase its chances for adoption into a warm, caring home.  If you have the time and energy, take the action one step further and organize a donation drive, bake sale, raffle, or other fundraising event.  Anything raised can be designated for specific uses, like purchasing scratching pads for the cats, which are special extras the county budget does not cover.

Fostering may not be considered as an “easy” way to help, but it is considered as one of the most vital things you can do.  Temporarily opening your home to a disadvantaged animal and providing the care and love it needs truly represents the best of holiday spirit.  It can also provide you with one of the most rewarding experiences you may ever know. 


This holiday season, why not make a homeless animal’s days a little brighter?  Why not give them the special holidays they deserve?  Every animal should be able to receive the joy of the season, whether they have a home or not.  So, while we celebrate the holidays, let’s not forget our furry friends.    

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