Animal rescue is the #1 priority and purpose of my life.
Nothing else comes close. I don't concern myself with other societal problems, because I'm too busy solving this one.
Human beings are capable of rising above unfairness and creating a better life situation for themselves, no matter how many obstacles are in their way.
Dogs and cats don't have the same luxury. While many are smart, their minds just aren't on the level of ours. They can't formulate long-term plans or strategies.
Pets live in the present moment at all times. This can be a blessing since it eliminates the stress, anxiety, and regret we bear like a cross for no worthwhile reason.
But it's also a curse that prevents them from escaping bad situations. A starved dog tied to a tree all day and deprived of even the most basic necessities can't report their owners to the authorities.
I used to get absorbed in the news, politics, and the many systemic problems that plague Americans everyday.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was a huge waste of precious time and energy.
How many times have you changed somebody's heart and mind with an angry political post?
I bet the number is close to zero. Why torment yourself emotionally for no tangible benefit?
I've walked close to 150 shelter dogs over the last year and a half, all of whom were promoted on social media.
Over 90% of those dogs got rescued and are now living their best life with a loving family.
I can only claim partial credit, but "networking" or "advertising" animals definitely helps.
Every time a pet gets adopted or fostered, it motivates me to keep going.
It doesn't take much to please a shelter dog. Even a short walk or drive can make their day.
Add in a chicken sandwich or butt scratches and you'll instantly become their hero.
I never realized how fast dogs can bond with you until I began to volunteer.
Often, they treat you as if you're "their person" within a few short hours.
This point applies to me. I'm in desperate need of a road trip.
If you know the feeling, contact nearby animal shelters and rescues. Offer to transport animals as needed.
Sometimes an individual in a different city or state wants to adopt a pet, but can't make the trip due to their work schedule.
In scenarios like these, a volunteer can pick up the animal and drive them to their new home. It's a valuable and appreciated service!
Shelter dogs know the feeling. They'd love to go outside and play.
You could pick a up a dog and take them for a nature hike or walk at the park.
Or you could bring a tennis ball and play fetch at your local animal shelter's fenced-in yard.
To protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19, invest in a leash for your personal use.
If you have a dog, you know how quickly shedding can undo your vacuum job.
And cat people are fully aware of how fast a clean litter box turns into a stinky mess.
Now imagine how much effort it takes to keep a shelter containing 20, 50, or even 100 pets clean.
Nonetheless, it's gotta be done so the animals' temporary homes can be as comfortable as possible.
Animal shelters are super dependent on donations. Not an ideal situation, but it is what it is.
Given this reality, it's completely acceptable to throw money at the problem. How else will all the animals eat?
The biggest needs tend to be leashes, collars, harnesses, pet food, kitty litter, cleaning supplies, and towels/blankets.
When in doubt, contact your animal shelter first (or simply write a check so they can invest in the exact items they need most).
I bet you'll find the same fact to be true, because it's inspiring to see positive results in real time.
Choose any volunteer activity that fits your skills, talents, preferences, and time/schedule limitations.
If you'd like to see more ways to help your animal shelter, click the previous link for some creative suggestions.