10 Ways You Can Help Shelter Pets, Even When You Can’t Bring One Home

Adopting or fostering shelter pets saves lives. Without question, it’s the best way humans can help animals that may be bound for euthanasia.

But what if that’s not an option? What if you still want to help shelter animals, but can’t give them a loving forever home?

Source: Pixabay

10. Donate to a local shelter

There are plenty of items lying around your house that your local animal shelter desperately needs to keep things running smoothly and to help keep their animals as healthy and happy as possible. Here are a few you can help them out with:

  • Old baby bottles
  • Old newspapers
  • Old towels and newspapers
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Hand soaps and sanitizers
  • Bottles of detergent
  • Heating pads
  • Office supplies
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Check out this list for more ideas

Source: Pixabay

9. Ask for birthday donations

Social media makes it easy for people to spread the word when their birthday’s near, indicating they would like donations to a specific cause in lieu of gifts. If you’ve got a big network, it may help you drive some much-needed donations toward your local shelter.

If there’s one thing a shelter always needs, it’s funding.

Explain to your friends what the donations will help the shelter do, the realities of overcrowding and euthanasia, and why you think your local shelter deserves the help. It never hurts to throw in a few pictures of the cute shelter pets, either.

And, by the way, happy birthday!

Source: Pixabay


It’s no wonder pet shop sales are being banned in states around the country. Many of the animals that wind up in these stores come from unscrupulous breeders who force female animals into a life of constant breeding until they eventually die. Meanwhile, their puppies are taken away and sold to the highest bidder.

Want to stop this from happening? Organize protest, circulate flyers, post on social media. Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Puppy mills have got to go.

Source: Pixabay


If there are elderly or physically disabled people in your neighborhood, help them out by taking their pets for a walk, or making a visit to the pet store for the food and supplies they need. A little help goes a long way to making both human and animal friends!

Source: Pixabay

6. Become a transporter

Thousands of dogs are transported from rescues around the country to loving foster homes every year, but not without help. With so much work to be done, shelters can’t always see their own staff out to drop these pets off, especially in rural areas.

That’s where you come in.

Volunteer your services as a transported and you will help shelters and rescues clear the kennels and make room for more, while putting adopted and foster pets in a more comfortable environment.

Source: Pixabay

5. Put your skills to work

Maybe you aren’t adept at cleaning litter trays, folding blankets, or even chuckling the cats. Shelters across the country are still in need of people who can help them make pets comfortable and happy in other ways.

“Shelters will put your occupational expertise to great use,” Inga Fricke, director of pet retention programs for the Humane Society of the United States, told Huffington Post.

Carpenters can help build outdoor shelters or agility equipment, photographers can catalog rescue residents and show them off to potential parents in marketing materials, lawyers can make sure adoption contracts are clear and fair.

Do you have a special skill that could come in handy?

Source: Pixabay

4. Advocate for Pets On Social Media

Shelters and rescues rely largely on word of mouth for marketing. They typically don’t staff graphic designers, or contract PR agencies to help them spread the word.

Thankfully, using free services like Adobe Spark or Canva, anyone can become a marketing maven and show off their local rescue’s residents.

Frame images of rescue pets in an attractive design and post them to social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit. You’ll potentially match up some happy new pets and parents, and add a few valuable skills to your resume.

Spread the word!

Source: Pixabay


While millions of animals will be lodged in shelters this year, Greater Good and Flights to Freedom have a plan to get them out, and keep them safe. One $5 gift could help save an animal’s life, covering the cost of a flight from overcrowded shelters to facilities where there is space to care for them, food to feed them, and enough love to go around until they find new forever homes.
Just one gift could make a big difference in the lives of these anxious animals.

Source: Pixabay


Going door to door and asking for treats works so well on Halloween, conversely, handing them out door to door should be more than welcome every other day of the year. If you know your pet friendly neighbors, bake them some treats with protein and fiber and bag them up to share!

Source: Pixabay


Many hands make light work. The more volunteers your local shelter has, helping with feeding and caring for caged pets, the calmer and more comfortable those animals will be. And, that could help them get adopted out even faster.

Shelter work is a labor of love for many animal advocates. The fact is, there may never be enough staff, funding, or resources to take care of all our stray animals. Volunteers make all the difference. To shelter pets, that’s a difference between life and death.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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