Pennsylvania’s dog shelters serve their communities in immeasurable ways, helping homeless pets find loving forever homes and providing a safe place for licensed strays as they wait to be reunited with their owners. There are many opportunities for Pennsylvanians to give back to their local shelter, by volunteering or donating items they need.
Volunteer Your Time
One of the most impactful ways to help community animal shelters is to volunteer your time. Shelters often rely on volunteers to clean, care for animals and keep the facility in good condition. Other volunteer opportunities could include offering up your skills – do you have a special talent, such as photography? High-quality photos can bring new attention to a dog who might have previously been overlooked. Skilled at grooming? Offer to give animals a fresh, clean cut and wash…they’ll feel better and be more approachable by potential adopters! Shelters often have committees of volunteers that you can be a part of as well, such as fundraising or marketing.
The best way to determine your local shelters volunteer needs is to call and ask. Needs will vary based on season, current shelter population and staffing.
Donate New or Gently Used Items
Shelters are always on the hunt for extra supplies, some may have a wish list of items that you can use as a guide. Just be sure to provide new or clean items that can be used versus donating old items that will simply result in clutter. Often, a shelter’s wish list will include:
- Water and food bowls
- Unopened food and treats
- Leashes and collars
- Brushes and other grooming tools
- Blankets, pillows or pet beds
- Cleaning supplies
- Office supplies
- Paper products
- Old towels
Donate a Place in Your Home
Fostering a pet is a rewarding experience and a great way to help your local shelter. Fostering means bringing a homeless pet into your home and nurturing them while they wait for a permanent home with a family to love.
Often times, the best donation comes in monetary form. Shelters are often in need up remodeling or other updates to their physical shelter. Monetary donations allow shelters to keep the facilities that house the strays of Pennsylvania up to par, in addition to paying for veterinary services for animals.
Each shelter offers unique services and has a unique set of needs to match. Before dropping off a carload of items, be sure to call and confirm their needs. While you’re on the phone, ask about opportunities to give back as a volunteer.
Find a shelter near you.