How To Help Animal Rescues in Winter
No one likes to think of animals in rescue centres but at this time of year, it is especially hard. However, there are loads of things you can do to make homeless dogs lives a little better, even if you can’t adopt right now. Everyone has skills and talents which can make a huge difference. If you can’t adopt or make a donation there are still ways that you can help, it is rewarding and a great way to make new friends.
At this time of year, the dog rescues are full to bursting and that means more dogs are at risk of euthanasia because homes can’t be found.
Really small gestures, which you may not have even thought of, can be highly significant.
That bottle of perfume that has been in a drawer since last Christmas could be used as a raffle prize, the craft materials you never got around to using can be made into items to sell on a craft stall, the list is endless. Maybe you are trying to get fit, you could volunteer as a dog walker or your skills could be rustling up support on social media.
Here’s a list of how you can help animal rescues in Winter.
Support local rescues.
Try to support a small, local rescue if you can. These are the ones who will be feeling the pinch more than ever and a small donation or offer of help will be greatly appreciated. Google rescue sites close to where you live, there are so many and some are being run by just one person from their own home.
Do some research and find out which are the good ones.
Think of wildlife animals too
It’s not just dogs and cats that need our help, there are hundreds of wildlife rescues which are overflowing too. Hedgehogs, foxes, birds and other small animals are in rescues, recuperating from illness or just not strong enough to be returned to the wild.
Did you know there are rescues for every type of domestic pet? Rabbits, guinea pigs. hamsters and parrots find themselves homeless too!
Trust me the dogs don’t care if you lose the occasional stitch or use up your leftover colours, they just need something warm. If you’re new to knitting or crocheting this is a great way to practice!
Get the kids involved too, it’s a great indoor activity during the Winter months. Patterns can be found online for basic jumpers or just create some lovely squares and sew them together for a snuggly blanket.
If you are a more accomplished knitter, make something and donate it to be used as a raffle prize or sold at a Christmas Fayre.
If you used to knit or crochet but stopped, gather up all the oddments of wool and hand over to someone who can make something warm out of them.
Dog beds can be made of old jumpers with some small adjustments and old duvets and covers can easily be transformed into a dog or cat bed.
Do you have a sewing machine and some scraps of fabric? Dog bandanas are hugely popular and can be made really quickly.
Anyone who loves to craft can donate greetings cards, teddies, flower arrangements etc for the next fundraising sale.
Handcrafted items are always a massive hit and sell really well.
If you love baking, cakes are always great sellers at fundraisers. However, if you’re not super skilled why not make treats for the dogs and sell in attractive packaging? Dog lovers adore spoiling their pets with homemade, nutritious and delicious goodies and will pay good money for them.
If you love to walk but your life is too busy for a pet, volunteer at the local dog rescue and take a furry friend with you next time you go. The dog will benefit so much from a half hour walk. It will keep him in good shape physically but dogs need to be walked for mental stimulation too. Rescue dog walkers often go out in groups so you can have a good chat with other dog lovers and get yourself fitter at the same time.
Maybe a long-term commitment is a bad idea but you have times in your life when you could take care of a dog for a short time, maybe until he/she finds their forever home. Fostering is so important because the dogs are kept in a home environment and assessed thoroughly so that potential adopters know exactly what to expect.
For my dog fostering stories, read here.
There are so many fun ways to raise money and make animal loving friends too. Connect with a school or church and have get-togethers to brainstorm unique ideas.
Get the children involved in fun activities and pass on to them the important message that rescue animals need our support. It’s important that the next generation wants to help too.
Make a little hamper of pet goodies and take to the local shelter. It could contain a couple of good quality canned meat, a small pack of treats and a toy.
Add a can of dog or cat food to your shopping list, even if you don’t have a pet at home. When Winter comes there should be a lovely tasty treat for all the homeless animals and they will love you forever. A little gesture can make a huge difference.
Enquire about sponsoring a dog who cannot be rehomed. Some dogs must sadly stay in rescue for long periods of time or unfortunately forever. The dog may have severe medical problems or a history of aggression. Sponsorship helps with vet bills and behaviorists as well as general expenses. You can donate a small amount each month to a particular animal and get updates and newsletters through the post to let you know how they are doing.
Do you have a car and a few hours spare each week? You can volunteer to transport dogs and cats, either into foster homes or so that a meet can be arranged with a potential adopter. You could do trips to the vet for sick animals or collect fundraising donations.
Could you promote a local rescue on your Facebook or Twitter feed and maybe do regular updates on how they are doing. Or just write something to raise awareness.
You can look on recycling sites for items like bedding, blankets, and towels which may be otherwise thrown away.
Call local businesses to see if they can donate surplus stock etc.
Rescues are always grateful to have any of the following in their contacts list.
You may have a few hours to make sure the kennels are secure, help with the bookkeeping or taking snaps to catch the animals looking their best for adoption publicity.
Next time you have a decluttering session in the home, look out for any of the following which can be used as fundraisers
Household items you no longer use but could still be sold.
Perfume, beauty items or unused makeup.
Books that have maybe only been read once.
Nearly new clothes that just don’t fit.
Baby clothes that have been outgrown but are still in great condition.
Shoes and handbags used once or just the wrong size or colour.
Cuddly toys your children would like to pass on.
Finally, if you have a birthday, Christmas or other celebration coming up but you don’t want friends and family to buy presents, ask them to make a small cash donation and send to a named animal shelter.
Here is a poem I wrote about the plight of older dogs in rescue
The kennels were quiet
Now the gates were closed
The puppies had left for forever homes
Old Patch and Old Billy remained in their pen
Not surprised to be staying again
Their eyes were cloudy
Their muzzles grey
The people would stop, then just walk away
For Old Patch and Old Billy, there was no surprise
They didn’t want oldies, loyal and wise
They wanted the young ones
Eager and small
But the years weren’t always kind to them all
So, next time you visit with a new home in sight
Consider the oldies and their sorry plight
For Old Patch and Old Billy deserve a break
Their eyesight is failing
Their muscles ache
Next time you visit there is your match
Look no further
Than Old Bill and Old Patch.
Thank you for reading and caring about our homeless animals.
Let’s get the rescue tails wagging!