It’s always great when a shelter dog finds his forever home, but there’s one day each year when dog lovers unite behind this cause. It’s called Clear the Shelter Day, and it is scheduled for August 17 this year.
You don’t have to be affiliated with a shelter or rescue organization to pitch in and help the puppers, either. Read on to learn five ways you can help lovable doggos across the country find a family of their own this year.
1. FOSTER A SHELTER DOG AT YOUR HOME
Obviously, the best way you can help local shelters and their dogs is by adopting a four-footer of your own. But if you are already stocked up on Schnauzers, you can do the next best thing: Serve as a foster pupper parent.
This essentially involves providing a temporary foster home for one of the dogs at a local shelter. Typically, you’ll also help to spread the word about the canine in need of a permanent home to help get your foster dog adopted, and work with the shelter during the actual placement. But in the meantime, you’ll be able to enjoy a furry companion and eliminate the need for him to sleep in a cold, lonely shelter.
In fact, this is actually a win-win-win scenario: You will get to enjoy the kind of love only a dog can give, the pooch will get to stay in a loving home while waiting for his permanent family, and the undoubtedly underfunded shelter won’t have to pay for the dog’s food and care for a while.
2. VOLUNTEER AT YOUR LOCAL SHELTER
Speaking of cash-strapped shelters, it is important to note that many of them are also chronically under-staffed. So, consider calling your local rescue or shelter and volunteering.
Different shelters put volunteers to work in different ways. Some may kindly ask you to pitch in with some of the less-than-glamorous tasks, like hosing out kennels, but most need help with a very simple thing: They need someone to help walk all of their canine captives. These pooches not only need to go out for pooping and peeing purposes, they also need the chance (like all of us do), to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Besides, we should all volunteer more to help non-profit organizations, and walking dogs for a couple of hours is likely the most enjoyable way you could possibly do so. Heck, some of us would surely pay good money to enjoy a few hours of pup-playing fun.
3. HELP A NOVICE OWNER NAVIGATE THE DOG-ADOPTION WATERS
Getting a dog is always a bit of a complicated process, but it can be incredibly overwhelming for first-time owners. But if you’ve had a dog or two in your day, you can probably help make the entire ordeal easier for a friend looking to add their first pupper to the family.
Be sure to start providing advice early in the process. Make sure you encourage them to research some of their favorite breeds (most shelter dogs are mixed, but they should still have some idea of the breeds that will or won’t work for their family), and explain the basic needs they’ll have to provide (food, bowls, leashes, etc.). Consider having them fill out a dog adoption scorecard to help prioritize their most essential dream dog traits and evaluate potential fur-kid candidates.
You can also help mentor them during the first week or two after they bring home their new fur-a-doodle. After all, they’ll have plenty to learn, from proper pooping protocols to puppy-proofing their home (our advice? Stock up on chew toys to save your sandals).
4. MAKE FLYERS FOR YOUR LOCAL SHELTER
Some people are interested in adopting a dog, but instead of heading down to the local shelter, they just keep procrastinating. But you can help solve this issue too, and it’s actually pretty easy to do so: Just make and post a flyer (or three) advertising a specific dog at a local shelter.
As a dyed-in-the-wool dog lover, you already know that it’s easy to fall for a pooch based off little more than a photo. And it is easy to get a would-be dog lover’s heart to pitter patter a little faster by showing off some cute still shots of an available pooch. Be sure to include plenty of appealing descriptions about the pooch and maybe a bit of his history on the flyer as well.
So, head down to the shelter, snap some adorable photos, and crank up Photoshop. This will not only help drive interest in Clear the Shelters Day, it will help one specific dog find a home.
5. PRO BONO PUBLIC RELATIONS: SPREAD THE WORD VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media gets a lot of negative press, but it is unquestionably an amazing tool for spreading awareness about worthy causes. And few causes are quite as worthy and universally supported as finding homes for needy dogs.
You can just snag a few graphics and links about the holiday and plaster them across your various platforms, but your efforts will prove more fruitful if you point people in a specific direction.
Namely, by encouraging them to adopt a dog from your favorite local shelter. This will help eliminate the need for your dog-wanting friends to sort through all of the different places they could adopt a dog from and allow them to simply get in the car and go for a visit.
It’s a good idea to reach out to the shelter you plan on publicizing beforehand (or, minimally, check out their website). This way, you can go ahead and answer some of the potential questions your friends may have in your post. This would include all of the basic stuff, like adoption fees and hours of operation.
There you have it! Five different ways you can help a local doggo find a new home and family. Can you think of any other ways to help? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author: Megan Marrs is the Founder of K9 of Mine, a dog care resource website aiming to help owners take the very best care of their four-legged pals!