Be a Shelter Dog’s Super Star

pitbullmix-october2013-5325If you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll have noticed the addition of ‘Shelter Dog Saturday’ (which I sadly missed this weekend due to unforeseen circumstances) where I feature a different dog each week and write up a small bio and the contact information on one lucky shelter dog from one of the shelters locally to me – well, I’ve been lucky enough to meet and get to know each of these dogs on my visits and I felt that they needed a little spotlight on the Internet to give them that boost they may not ordinarily get – an opportunity at going home to their forever home.

Visiting the local shelter isn’t always easy – especially if you’re not looking to adopt a new friend.  There are rows of kennels and dogs barking and leaping at their kennel doors.  They often look ferocious because they are cooped up for hours on end with no release to their energy.  This, sadly, means that many of these dogs will be passed up because of their frustrated behavior and their desire to be with people and not be stuck in a kennel.  These dogs, sadly, get the cruddy end of the stick if they start acting ‘kennel crazy’ from spending so much time there – especially if they are in a high kill shelter.  Thankfully, there are many, many ways to help these dogs and showcase them in their true nature and help them express some of that energy out so they are more appealing to a potential home.

If you have a spare bit of time in life’s busy schedule and aren’t looking to adopt, here are some things you can do to help adoptable dogs (and other animals!) at your local shelter:

– Go up and walk a dog.  Dog walkers are always in demand.  This allows dogs to be able to expend some of that pent up energy and allows them riverouge-september2013-2787to mellow out a bit in their kennels.  Some of the larger, more drivey dogs need longer walks or even runs so you’ll get your exercise in while building some good karma!

– If you’ve got a particular talent for capturing the best look of an adoptable critter, consider donating your photography skills to a shelter.  Often shelters rely on volunteers and cell phone photos and low end cameras (which don’t always work as fast as an animal!) and this means many, many photos behind kennel and cage doors with forlorn faces or blurry streaks – neither of which shows an accurate picture of how lovely and wonderful this adoptable animal actually is!

– Spend time with the cats or other small animals that may be at the shelter.  Bring up toys and entertain them or just spend time petting and talking quietly to them.  Shelters are stressful areas for many small animals – sometimes even more so than for the dogs.  A frightened and stressed animal is more likely to get sick and a sick animal is never a good thing in a shelter environment of any type.

– If time isn’t on the menu, consider a monetary donation or a donation of food, durable toys and/or easily sanitized beds (if your shelter allows them).  Shelters are often run on donations for veterinary care, food and other environment enrichment items.  These items help the animals even if you can only spare a few moments or a cowboyadopted-october2013-3389few dollars and are always in high demand.

– If none of these are feasible and you’re unable to make it out, support your local shelter via social media and speaking to locals who may be looking for a new family member.  Sharing these animals and letting people know that they are available and looking for new homes is the biggest help of all.  This gets these adoptable furries their forever homes and creates more space for those animals that need a temporary space to crash.

If you can do even the smallest thing or donate a small bit of time, your local shelter and its animals will thank you – especially when they are heading out the door into their forever home!  Happy Adopt-A-Pet Month!

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