How You Can Help Your Local Rescue or Shelter

by Suzie Cyrenne April 01, 2015 11 min read

1 Comment

How You Can Help Your Local Rescue or Shelter

If you’ve been following this whole blog series on The Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption, you may already know that this article is the last of the series. We can’t believe how much support and gratitude we’ve received from people who have found our guides helpful and enjoyable, and we’re so thankful for that!

In this article on how you can help your local rescue and shelter, we will not only talk about plain pet adoption. We know that some of you out there are already doing a lot (especially if you’re reading this article). We know that there are also some people who want to help out by adopting but think that they can’t. Why? Because no matter how much someone loves animals, there may be reasons why someone cannot adopt pets such as:

  •      Not having the resources to take care of a pet’s needs like health care and food.
  •      Simply not having the time to take care of a pet.
  •      Living in a place that prohibits owning pets.
  •      Being in a situation which may hinder having a pet (like being a soldier on active duty).

Whatever reasons you may have for not being able to adopt an animal from your local rescue or shelter, that’s totally fine! There are plenty of other ways you can help out, even if you’re thousands of miles away!

Don’t believe us? Then read on to find out more!

How You Can Help Your Local Rescue or Shelter If You Are A Kid

We know that some of our readers are below 18 years of age (practically kids, no offense intended) and of course we don’t want you guys to feel left out. If you’re too young to adopt or your parents cannot let you adopt a new pet, you can still help out at local shelters and rescues by volunteering.

Volunteering? Yes! Shelters and rescues are often short-staffed and under-funded. This means that they often cannot afford to hire more people to help take care of the animals even if they want to.

If you are young and really love animals but cannot adopt one or more, then volunteering some of your time can help a lot. Below are some things you can volunteer for:

  •      Cleaning kennels
  •      Feeding the animals
  •      Bathing and grooming animals
  •      Dog walking or petting cats
  •      Playing with animals

See? Even purely enjoyable activities can be done whilst volunteering! Who wouldn’t want to play with animals, right? By doing so, you’d be helping in socializing them and giving them much needed exercise so they can be as charming and healthy as they can be. That way, they’d be more attractive as prospective pets for people who are looking to adopt. The simple act of interacting with them makes them friendlier and can really change lives.

Bonus points? It would look great on your future resume too. Plus, if you’re single, volunteering for a cause you are passionate about can help you meet other singles with the same interests (wink, wink!). Isn’t that win-win?


How You Can Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue If You Are a Professional

No matter if you are a professional photographer, writer, chef, web designer, or accountant and so on (you get what we mean), you can really help out your local rescue or shelter by offering a bit of your time doing what you do best for FREE.

Yes, providing your professional services without getting paid is another type of volunteering although it is also one of the least-known types. As we’ve mentioned earlier, shelters and rescues are often short on funds and therefore, may not always be able to hire the services offered by the professionals above. What should you do then? Below are some suggestions:

  • If you’re a photographer, take professional-grade animal photos for free. This helps both you and the shelter or rescue because professionally-taken photos are more shareable and likable, hence making the animal more adoptable. As for you, you can always use the photos taken for your portfolio or add your watermark to them for some free advertising. Who knows? This may also result in more business for you!

  • If you’re a doctor or veterinarian, then give free checkups or free surgery for animals in need. This is a no-brainer, and yes, it may seem like you’re not getting anything out of doing this at first, but think of all the animal lives you will change. Healthy animals are the ones usually adopted as pets and guess who the owners will contact once they adopt the pet? Maybe someone like you!

  • If you’re a writer, you can donate one or two articles per month for the rescue’s or shelter’s use. Most shelters and rescues have a facebook page and a website these days but that isn’t enough to give them some much needed exposure. By donating a blog or two per month, you’d be helping out by increasing social media awareness and presence for your local rescue and shelter. Futher more, this is another thing that looks great added to one’s resume– another win!

There are obviously more examples of ways a professional can help. Hiring an accountant can be costly for a shelter or rescue and if you are one, you can help out by reviewing their books. The same goes for other professions. Just volunteering your time is helpful enough!

How You Can Help Your Local Rescue or Shelter: If You Are Handy

Let’s face it, things brake all the time, that it be at home or at shelters and rescues. There is always a roof needing to be fixed, pipes to replace, walls to paint, and a lot of other handy-man type of tasks which need to be done.

By donating a few hours of your time per month, or even per year to do maintenance and needed repairs, you’ll be saving the shelter or rescue lots of money. They in turn can use those funds to buy food and medicines for the animals in need. Isn’t that great?

How You Can Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue: If You Are Crafty

Are you an accomplished seamstress? How about a graphics designer? Or perhaps someone who dabbles in arts and crafts? You can help your local rescue or shelter in a number of ways!

For instance, you can use donated clothes and blankets to make ultra-cute pet beds or pet clothes. The animals would look extra cuddly wearing your creations and you can also add that to your professional portfolio. It’s the kind of giving that truly gives back many times over!

Here are more craft ideas for your shelter animals and rescue pets:


How You Can Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue: If You Are A Social Media Queen or King

Do you have legions of Instagram followers and Facebook friends? Then you can easily help out your local shelter or rescue by utilizing your social media accounts. How? Simply click on like or share whenever your local shelter or local rescue posts something new. This way you’d help tremendously by spreading the word to all your followers.

When you share an article (like this one) on Facebook or Twitter, you are helping people who may need some information and also helping the cause behind an article or a page. You don’t need to show up at the shelter or put in hours of work. Simply put your social media prowess to good use and the animals at your local shelter or rescue will thank you for it.

How You Can Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue: If You Have Extra Funds

This is a no-brainer but so many people may not be aware about how truly helpful donating a few dollars can be. Perhaps it is because of some rumors saying that donated money simply gets misused and yes, that can be true for some organizations masquerading as shelters or rescues. This is why it is important to help locally because you can see first-hand the real conditions at the shelter or rescue and how funds are being used.

If you are not comfortable about simply handing over your cash, you can always buy supplies. You may chose to provide pet supplies, cleaning supplies, or others according to their needs. If you cannot buy and bring the supplies yourself, why not buy and ship directly to the shelter or rescue through a company like Amazon? An added bonus is that in some states or countries, this is tax-deductible too!

Need More Reasons on Why You Should Help Out?

Not convinced about volunteering and helping out at your local shelter or rescue? Please read this story shared with us by Larry from Blue Moon Cat Sanctuary and you’ll see part of the reason that makes rescues and shelters such a magical places!


“There is one more very important point I would like to make regarding the ‘Passion’ behind what we do here.  For many years we celebrated the number of adoptions we had.  We looked forward to filing the new vacancies with more surrendered cats and kittens.  This was always a measure of our success.  Then it occurred to us one day what was really being accomplished.

During one of our in-store adoption events at the Fayetteville Arkansas Petco Store, a young family entered the store. That Saturday afternoon was obscure and uneventful until the young girl and her parents approached us. The youngster quietly asked if she could hold one of our kittens. Her parents, standing behind her, looked at us and nodded with approval.

We opened the cage door and gently handed the young girl a 12 week old kitten. It may have been the very first time she had actually held a live, breathing and moving animal. We watched as her small hands trembled with some uncertainty. Her shy and somewhat frightened look gradually turned to an innocent but pleasant smile. She looked to her parents for approval. They returned the smile and a few minutes later adopted the young kitten.

It was not until that Saturday afternoon several years ago that we realized we were doing so much more than saving lives and finding homes for unwanted and abandoned cats and kittens. We were playing a role, along with their parents, in teaching children some of the most important values they will carry with them all their lives. We are taking part in teaching compassion, responsibility, and a love for all of God’s precious creatures. Sure, we just ‘had another adoption.’ Butwhat did we really accomplish?  We are also impacting families, changing lives, touching the hearts and minds of children and giving them the positive values they will carry with them their entire life.”

Isn’t that sweet?

Got more ways on how you can help your local shelters or rescues? Let us know down below or join the conversation at Facebook! We would love to hear of more ways we can all help out animals in need so feel free to share your thoughts and this article as well!

To cap off this finale in The Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption Series, here is a full list of all the guides together which are must reads if you’re planning to adopt a shelter animal or rescued pet:

We would also like to extend our gratitude to the hundreds of animal rescues and shelters which so generously participated in our surveys and interviews to help bring this guide to life. You may recognize some of the rescues and shelters here from our articles and we’ve tried to include direct quotes from them throughout the series. Take a look below and see which one is located near you!

Whew! That’s one long list of animal shelters and rescues! We truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this whole series as much as we’ve enjoyed getting all the juicy details on pet adoption and sharing them with all of you!

We do hope you’ll join us on Facebook for tips on how to save on vet bills plus more animal videos and articles. Don’t forget to sign-up for our newsletter to be updated on future blogs and features! Until next time everyone!


Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne co-founded Zumalka over five years ago, and has worked in naturopathic pet medicine for more than six. Day-to-day, she works as the lead manager for the Zumalka staff and specializes in training the team to have thorough knowledge of pet health and the company’s extensive line of naturopathic remedies.

Suzie has gained a lot of experience from years spent in the pet health field and she earned her degree in Homeopathy at the School of Classical Homeopathy in Quebec, Canada, (a partner of the European Academy of Natural Medicine (AEMN) in France).

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