Let’s celebrate National Pet Day this Sunday 11 April by donating to animal shelters. As a nation of pet lovers, what better than to remember pets who don’t have their own people to love them. If each of us donates a little time, money, or unneeded stuff, we can help abandoned animals with a soft landing.
Because after all National Pet Day is every day for our own pets. So, let’s make this one day special for pets without parents.
If you’ve ever wondered how to donate to animal shelters, there are a myriad of ways. Here’s what you need to know about Pet Day, and how and what animal shelters wish you would donate.
What is National Pet Day?
Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Page launched Pet Day in 2006 to shine a light on the joy pets bring us. Importantly, she wanted it to also be a day which raises awareness of animals in shelters hoping for a home.
Many people opt to buy a pet because they want a young kitten or puppy, or they’re looking for a purebred. You may be surprised to discover that puppies, kittens and pedigreed animals get abandoned too. Or you may visit a shelter only to discover that what’s important to you is finding one specific animal you have a connection with.
How can I donate money to animals?
Most shelters accept donations in several ways to make it easier for you to donate. For instance, internet banking, credit card payment or cheque are all common ways you can donate. You could do a once off payment or opt to make a regular monthly payment. This goes a long way to helping shelters plan their spending more effectively.
If you want to remember those pets in need even after you’ve gone, there’s also the option to bequeath an amount in your will.
Because COVID has placed some restrictions on what items shelters can accept, donating money toward the safety of furry friends could be the simplest option. Some items are being temporarily removed from the list because of COVID-19 hygiene protocol (more on this further on) and shelters now have to purchase these.
According to Save a Dog no-kill dog (and cat) shelter, your donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. And if you’re not online but ready to fill in a donation form, you can do so with Animal Aid which has a form you can download, fill in and email later.
There is an endless list of shelters who rely on donations to cover running costs such as food, shelter, and medical bills. Here are 25 Australian animal shelters to get you started.
How can I raise money for an animal shelter?
If you’ve been browsing any of the shelter websites, you’ll notice that many also host events and fundraisers to build awareness and raise funds. Caring for the enormous number of abandoned and neglected animals requires manpower, time and energy. As a result, these events often don’t get the attention they need in terms of planning and execution, so they don’t get the fanfare they deserve.
Because of this, simply following these shelters’ social media pages and sharing the events when they happen can be an enormous help. Or why not join in and help with the planning?
Another way to support is to create an online fundraising event and donate the proceeds to your fund of choice. You’ll find that many shelters support this and you can create your fundraiser via their website.
What do animal shelters need?
While cash donations are great because they allow shelters to allocate funds where they’re most needed, giving goods is also appreciated.
As you can imagine, the infrastructure, medical care, admin and labour that goes into making a good animal shelter is enormous. As a result, many shelters have a Wishlist page. This tells you what they’re short of and what are the best things to donate.
Before rushing off and donating, always check for this page. It may also tell you what items they can’t use. For instance, some types of blankets disintegrate and end up causing intestinal blockages when animals swallow bits. You’ll save yourself time and also save the shelter from having to discard things you’ve brought over.
While each shelter may have different areas of greater need, many items are permanently on the donation lists because they’re always in use.
To make the legwork a little easier, here is a (non-exhaustive) of items that animal shelters generally need:
- Pet food
- Pet bowls
- Puppy pee pads
- Cat litter
- Washing machines and detergent (shelters wash animal bedding too)!
- Building materials (i.e.: fencing, bricks, cement)
- Scratching posts
- Play pens
- Medical supplies (worm, tick and flea medicine, bandages etc.)
As they say, one man’s rubbish is another man’s riches. However, as we mentioned earlier, COVID-19 means that some items can’t be donated. For instance, pet food that’s been opened, duvet inners and used litterboxes may not be accepted in some places.
It’s a good idea to check on a shelter’s website for a Wishlist and a ‘can’t accept’ list. Or just call ahead before donating.
Gifts that give back for National Pet Day
Lots of animal shelters have op shops and gift stores to help raise funds. If you’re keen to help by donating your household stuff, clothes, and shoes this is generally a great way to support their shop. Or you might just want to pop in and do a little spending of your own.
Why not give a pet parent gift card for an animal shelter gift shop to celebrate National Pet Day? Or if you like being on the other side of the counter, why not spare some time and volunteer at the shop once a month or once a week?
You might be buying an animal their wellbeing whilst selling gifts and second-hand clothes!
Lots of specialists like vets, behaviourists and trainers volunteer with shelters, but shelters also need you. The workload of caring for hundreds of animals is enormous. There are lots of other tasks, from managing social media pages and taking photos of pets for adoption, to cleaning, admin and laundry.
How do I volunteer for animal rescue?
Some shelters even offer in-service training for volunteers. Donating your time at an animal shelter is a wonderful way to share your energy and passion for animals. It might even be the start to a lifelong career of caring for animals.
Of course, while you’re there you could also meet your furry BFF and take them home. This is one of the biggest and best ways you can help a shelter. The more animals who find their forever home the better.
And remember, the key to preventing more unwanted and abandoned pets is avoiding indiscriminate breeding. Find out why it’s important to spay and neuter cats. If you’re a dog parent, here’s what you need to know about deciding to neuter and spay dogs.
How to help animal shelters during COVID
One of the best things you can do for a shelter is to give an abandoned animal a second chance and a forever home. Celebrate National Pet Day and become the proud pet parent some unwanted pet is longing for.
Pet insurance is a small investment that goes a long way to making vet visits easy on your pocket. The PD Insurance wellness package (available for Classic and Deluxe plans) even includes microchipping, desexing and vaccinations!
If you’re worried about the costs of caring for a new pet, then note that – at the time of writing this article – the first month is free when you buy your pet insurance policy online.
National Pet Day – over to you
Roughly 200,000 animals are euthanised in Australia each year. So, what better way to celebrate National Pet Day than to give a little and save an animal’s life? Let us know which animal shelter you love and why in the comments below.