We can have the spirit of giving beyond the season of giving - and we don’t even have to spend much if anything. Generosity and kindness come in many forms. Dogs, Cats, and people in need deserve all the generosity we can give them all-year-round. As this giving season approaches, here are a few ideas of ways to provide a bit of relief to those who could use a little pick-me-up.
Holiday IG-worthy photo-op!
Pet shops, charity organizations, and rescue groups often set up holiday-themed photoshoots, i.e., with Santa, to raise money for shelter dogs and cats. So why not snap IG-worthy holiday photos of your fur-kid/s while also helping out dogs in need?
Let’s volunteer some of our free time.
You can volunteer to walk and play with shelter dogs whenever you have free time. Begin offering your time at the beginning of this holiday season and make it a weekly or monthly routine. Simple human contact and affection will mean the world to these homeless dogs, and the joy we’ll see in their eyes will definitely lift your spirits, too.
Let’s organize a donation drive.
You can do this within your neighborhood - coordinating a donation drive for new or used blankets and clothes for homeless people, and new or used blankets, towels, and toys for shelter dogs. Shelters (for both people and dogs) and rescue groups accept donations year-round, and every bit of help they can get counts.
How about pet food as a gift?
While shopping for holiday gifts, everyone can add an extra bag or two, or a few extra cans of dog food to donate to a local rescue organization or food pantry. Or take advantage of your neighbors’ spirit of giving and organize a neighborhood pet food drive.
EcoEats dehydrated dog food is an all-natural dog food that is grain- and preservative-free. It’s hypoallergenic, safe for all life stages, and it doesn’t contain any by-products. Just re-hydrate and add your protein of choice. Commercial dog food can be difficult to digest because of additives and fillers. Instead, EcoEats is vet-approved, delicious to dogs, wallet-friendly, and as close as you can get to a whole food diet without the harsh digestive upset. Try EcoEats for yourself, or donate a bag (or several) to your local shelter.
Buy fundraising calendars.
Fundraising calendars are printed and sold by many organizations to raise funds for rescue dogs. You can buy one for yourself and a few more to give away for the New Year. Buying and giving away holiday cards and calendars that help spread awareness about adopting shelter dogs and therapy programs is also a great way to hit two birds with one stone - giving twice with one deed. Giving gifts that give back is a great way to double down on the gifting season.
Give a shelter dog a forever home.
As a holiday gift for our kids or even for ourselves, why not adopt a shelter dog? Adopting is always better than buying as there are too many homeless dogs out there that deserve a loving forever family and home. Of course, make sure that you are adequately prepared to care for a new pet, and even more so, that your kids are in it for the right reasons - because they are ready to learn how to be companions, not just because furry things are cute. Giving a dog as a gift should not be done lightly; our hearts might be in the right place, but we must also make sure that the recipient - our partner, a family member, or a close friend - also has a place in their heart for a homeless dog.
Find out other ways that you can help rescue drives and organizations.
Here are a number of programs and organizations where anyone can contribute some time, money, or effort:
Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program. R.E.A.D., for certified therapy dogs that can help promote literacy among children.
The Shelter Buddies Reading Program, which encourages kids to volunteer their time to read to shelter dogs.
Petsofthehomeless.org, which accepts donations of coats, blankets, and dog food for homeless people and their pets.
Dog Scouts of America, which organize education and training programs for dogs and their owners, as well as donation drives.
The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation, which are always accepting canine participants that are eligible for their ongoing clinical trials and research.