If you’re an animal lover and you want to make a difference, but you can’t foster/adopt, there are still ways to support local pets and unowned animals.
1) Animal blood banks are a thing!!! Size & health (and other) restrictions apply, obviously, but if you have a well behaved, healthy dog (or even a calm and healthy cat), you can look into having them donate much needed blood for pets in crisis. The donor usually ends up with plenty of treats and toys for their much appreciated donation! Call your local emergency veterinary hospitals or veterinary teaching universities for info.
2) Consider donating old bedding, towels & furniture (human or pet) to local clinics, hospitals, animal rescues or shelters. We go through a TON of blankets and warming supplies in surgery/recovery, and shelters/rescues can always use more comfy items (and furniture that reminds the animals of a place they once lived) to create a better place for animals to rest.
3) Regarding #2, are you a hobby knitting/crocheting person with projects that didn’t quite turn out, or you want to practice your skills with a purpose? Do you have scrap product as a crafter/builder that can be designed into a simple animal enrichment or resting area? Consider crocheting/knitting blankets for animals in your area as well as other crafts/builds.
4) If you prefer to contribute monetarily, ask your local hospitals and clinics if they have a type of “angel” fund. Your money could go to a community pet that needs care the owners can’t afford. Likewise, if you choose to donate funds, please consider your smaller non-profit animal rescues that are struggling to help as many as they can. There are a lot of small rescues out there that are doing big things but they don’t have a well known name that advertises.
5) Do you love walking or running? Have active children/teens that love animals? Consider volunteering at a local rescue to give unowned animals the exercise and human interaction they need. It could be a great family bonding experience while providing a service that is for a purpose.
6) Check to see if your area has a program for the homeless pet population. Many homeless people have pets that are actually well cared for. The program may accept pet food, other unexpired/unopened products, bedding, and of course they’re always willing to accept your time as a volunteer.
These voluntaryism ideas for animal lovers were written by VIA team member (and animal lover) Amanda Garvin.