Those statistics come directly from the ASPCA, and they are a little depressing. Turning them around means getting involved, either directly or indirectly, with community animal shelters. But often, when I talk to people about shelter volunteer programs, I hear the same sorts of sentences:
- "I don't have time to commit to a regular volunteer program."
- "I don't have room in my home for another pet. If I volunteer, I'll take one home."
- "My heart will break if I see animals in cages, and I can't do anything about it."
- "I don't have spare money to give to an animal shelter."
But there is one thing almost every single person out there could do to help a shelter pet. I'm calling it "virtual fostering."
|Liam is ready to get started.|
Then you'll take a few photographs of the pet with your cell phone or camera. You don't need to do anything fancy with the photos. Just a quick snap of the pet should do the trick. Here's one I took of a shelter kitten as an example.
|Isn't she adorable? And she was adopted.|
|Sinead likes privacy when she's writing.|
The great thing about this? You'll be directly involved with linking a pet with a family that can take that pet. This work is far from depressing. You'll see successes for yourself. Plus, there's no financial commitment involved, and you don't have to take a pet home yourself. And, you can do this foster work on your own time, as it fits into your own schedule.
And as you get going, you'll find that the work gets easier. And there are plenty of resources that can help. If your shelter is full of black pets, for example, this blog post can help you take great snaps.
And if you can't think of what to say or how to organize it, this SlideShare I put together may help.
I believe in this project (clearly), and I'd love to help you to get started. Shoot me a note in the comments with your ideas, and I'll help. And you can follow the cat blog I write for Willamette Humane Society, too, so you can see how I put this plan into action in my own community.
While we may not be able to take home every shelter pet, and we may not be able to throw tons of money at every shelter, I hope I've helped inspire you to help in a small way in your communities. Together, we really can make a difference.