By Dr. Beth Leermakers
If “make a difference” is one of your New Years’ resolutions, here are several fabulous ways to support homeless animals while keeping your other resolutions.
Use the free app: Wooftrax: Dog Walk for Charity. Money will be donated to your favorite shelter or rescue group every time you walk or run (with or without a dog). There is no cost to you. Visit wooftrax.com for more information, and then search for the app in the app store. I’ve logged more than 10,000 miles since I started using the app years ago. Yes, I walk a lot of dogs.
Use the free app: ResQwalk. This app also lets you raise money and resources for your favorite animal welfare organization. Visit bestfriends.org/resqwalk, and search for it in the app store.
Walk/run with shelter dogs. Shelter dogs benefit from the exercise, and so will you! Exercise sessions reduce boredom and burn off extra energy, making the dogs more adoptable.
Dallas Animal Services needs D90 Dog Runners and D90 Dog Strollers to run and walk one mile in a group setting. Visit https://bedallas90.org/home/volunteer-opportunities/ to learn more.
Garland Run D.O.G. needs volunteers who can run/walk two miles. Visit http://garlandtx.gov/3873/Volunteer-Programs and email Art Munoz ([email protected]) to sign up.
Donate to Impact. Donate household items between January 16-29, and Passport for Paws will receive money to support their rescue efforts. Items can be picked up at your house, or you can drop them off in Frisco. They accept clothing, shoes, accessories, kitchen ware, handbags, toys, linens and small appliances/electronics. Visit donate2impact.com or call 214-257-7199 to schedule pickup. Please designate Passport for Paws, a rescue group that saves hundreds of dogs and cats from North Texas shelters. Passport for Paws won’t appear in the dropdown menu (Select a Charity) under Schedule a Pickup until January 16 (or maybe a couple days before).
Donate household items to an animal shelter.
Linens. Most shelters need old towels, sheets and blankets. The animals don’t mind if they’re torn or stained. This is a great excuse to clean out your linen closet.
Newspapers. Shelters use them to line cat kennels.
Spend Less Money.
Animal welfare groups rely on donations to care for the animals. Many shelters need basic supplies (e.g., bleach and other cleaning supplies) as well as food, treats, kitty litter and toys. Most shelters and many rescue groups have an Amazon wish list (visit the organization’s website for the link), and some have a Chewy wish list (chewy.com/g/animal-shelters-and-rescues).
If you’re watching your budget, here are a few ways to support your favorite organization without any cost to you:
Amazon Smile. Shop at smile.amazon.com, and Amazon donates money to your designated charity at no cost to you. It doesn’t get any easier than this!
Kroger Community Rewards. Link your Kroger Shoppers Card to your favorite charity, and Kroger donates money based on the shopping you do every day. Visit kroger.com/i/community/community-rewards to sign up. Habitat 4 Paws and Bull luv able Paws (as well as many other groups) participate in this program.
Meet New People/Get Out More.
Volunteer at a shelter or rescue group. Take photos of the cats or dogs. Socialize the cats. Walk the dogs or take them out in the play yard. Greet shelter visitors and help potential adopters meet the animals. Visit https://bedallas90.org/home/volunteer-opportunities/ to check out volunteer opportunities and requirements at Dallas Animal Services.
Help at adoption events. Rescue groups often need people to walk dogs and help potential adopters meet cats and dogs at adoption events at pet stores and other businesses.
Transport animals. Rescue groups often need someone to pick up dogs or cats at the shelter and take them to the vet or foster home. Freedom rides (springing an animal from the shelter) are the best!
Foster a cat or dog. Fostering isn’t free, but the major expenses (e.g., vet bills, food and crates) are usually covered by the rescue group. You can be a short-term/temporary foster for Dallas Animal Services (https://bedallas90.org/home/foster/) or a rescue group that transports Texas animals to other states where there are shortages of adoptable dogs and people eager to adopt.
Passport for Paws (passportforpaws.org) sends cats and dogs up to foster-based rescue groups in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They need foster homes for a few days to a few weeks until transport. Society for Companion Animals (societyforcompanionanimals.org) flies dogs up to New York and New Jersey. SFCA needs volunteers to pick up dogs, foster them overnight (yes, just one night) and then transport them to DFW airport (early in the morning, before the work day starts for most people).
If you’re interested in fostering dogs or cats until they are adopted, visit petfinder.com to find rescue groups in your area. White Rock Dog Rescue (whiterockdog.org ) and Bull luv able Paws (bullluvablepaws.org/) always need foster homes and volunteers. A Voice for All Paws (avoiceforallpaws.com) needs foster homes for cats.
If you’d like help finding a shelter or rescue group to support, please email me at [email protected] I’m happy to suggest several options.
Thanks for making a difference for homeless pets in our community!