If you, like most of the world, are spending the majority of your time at home right now, then your pet is probably loving the extra company, attention, and belly rubs. Unfortunately, many animals in shelters and rescues don’t have the luxury of having a human companion to spend every single day with. Right now, they are probably lucky if they even get  as much human interaction as they did pre-pandemic. I don’t know about you, but it breaks my heart knowing that not all animals are getting the same love and affection that my own pets get daily. However, since we are all basically sitting around our homes trying to find ways to pass the time, there are many ways you can help your local animal shelter and those animals in need. 

Donations

This is a very obvious and typical way to help your local shelter or rescue. Monetary donations or donating supplies is a great way to help ensure the homeless animals in your area are getting the care and needs that they require. With many people either being at home or out of work, it’s understandable that monetary donations may be difficult. If you can afford to make a donation in the form of cash or check to your local shelter, great! It will definitely with a lot of the daily costs of care and upkeep for the animals.


If you find that financially you just can’t make a donation, don’t worry! There are other ways you can donate and help. One of the first things you can do is call or look on your local shelters website. Many shelters and rescues have a wishlist of items that they can always use on their websites. These items include food, treats, towels, toys, beds, cleaning supplies, puppy pads, pet shampoo, etc. These are items you could easily grab on your next grocery run or Amazon purchase. Some shelters even have an Amazon account set up so that when you donate items, it ships directly to the shelter. You could also check for some of these items around your house. Items like gently used towels and blankets are almost always welcomed at shelters. 

Volunteer

Shelters are always asking for volunteers. Even during this time, they need help caring for the animals. Social distancing only counts for humans. You can still help by volunteering at your local shelter by cleaning out cages, feeding and providing water to animals, making routine vet trips, walking dogs, playing with cats, and the list goes on and on. Just remember that you want to remember your mask if you are around other volunteers and be sure to wash your hands frequently.

Foster

Maybe you make donations on a regular basis and you want to do more or maybe you are sitting at home by yourself without a pet to care for and could use some company. Consider fostering! Fostering is a great way to help empty the shelters and to help support a homeless animal. You would be responsible for caring for the animal, but may receive reimbursement for certain costs, such as vet bills, through the shelter or rescue. When the shelter matches that particular animal with its forever family, then you would simply say goodbye and if you chose so, you could get another foster. 

This is a great “trial run” option to see if permanently adding a new pet to your home would be something you could do in the future. Either way, you are home alone and the animals are sitting alone in the shelter, so why not bring one (or two, or three!) home and keep each other company. You may just end up finding the new best friend you never knew you needed!

Adopt

So maybe you have had pets in the past, recently lost one, or the idea of fostering an animal only to give it up to its pawfect family is more than you can handle. Why not just skip the fostering step and adopt a pet! It still helps to save a life and you get a best friend for life! It’s really a win-win for everyone involved. Think seriously about what you are looking for in a pet, know that there will need to be an adjustment period, and perhaps even some training for your new pet to get used to house rules. 

Remember

Dont foster or adopt just because it seems like a fun thing to do right now. Remember that these animals will be with you for life. That means, when the quarantine rules lift and you’re free to go about town as you normally would, you still have that animal to care for. Think long and hard about fostering and adopting and make sure it’s really something you’re committed to doing. These animals will be depending on you. 


No matter what you decide to do during this time, one thing you need to keep in mind is that you can continue to financially care for these animals. Animals, just like humans, require food and medical attention, whether it’s a routine checkup or they have a medical disability that requires attention.

There are quite a few ways you can help animals during this time. You will know whether you and your family are ready to welcome a new pet into your home. If you have any hesitations regarding the care or financial aspects of the animal, then maybe stick to donations until you are absolutely certain. Otherwise, adding a furry new family member to your house means a slight adjustment for everyone, but in the end you will be rewarded with endless love and appreciation from your new pet.