Last weekend, Columbus, Ohio saw a gathering of animal lovers and members of the online pet community. The conference, BlogPaws, sounded wonderful, but I was unable to attend. I will not make that mistake again next year. There has been a ton of chatter about BlogPaws, even before it occurred. Since it came to a close, I have heard amazing stories of the sessions that were offered.
One of those sessions was "Be The Change You Want To See", a panel made up of Jane Harrell from PetFinder.com (@petfinder), Dr. V from PawCurious.com (@pawcurious), Dorian Wagner from YourDailyCute.com (@yourdailycute) and Lynn Haigh, typist for Frugal Dougal (@frugaldougal). During their panel, a shelter was picked-totally at random-to be the recipient of funds raised from "Be The Change" ideas. That shelter is Pets Without Parents, a no-kill shelter in Columbus, Ohio.
After returning from BlogPaws, they threw down the gauntlet. "Go do something" was the directive. This is my something. I want to point out all the good that can be done in your own community.
Most people who are acquainted with me know that I volunteer for a local Kansas City shelter, Wayside Waifs (@waysidewaifs). I spend most of my time there as a "cat socializer". It's really quite nice. I go to the shelter once or twice a week. I spend two to three hours there each time. While I'm there, I cuddle kitties. Yep, that's about it! I sit with them, pet them, talk to them and play with them. I give them water if they need it or clean out their litter boxes. I greet potential adopters that come through. Something else I do while I'm there is take pictures of the adoptable cats and post them on Twitter. That way, I'm also being an advocate for homeless pets.
Sometimes, I walk dogs as well. I give them time to go outside, get some fresh air and learn to behave on a leash. It doesn't seem like work at all. I get my dog fix and I get a little exercise. I get time away from my real life and anything that might be bothering me. I just enjoy my time with the animal I am with at the moment.
You say you don't have time to volunteer? That's understandable. People are busy. We all have jobs, school, family and other commitments that demand our time. That's okay. Shelters are in great need for donations. Many shelters, like Wayside Waifs, are completely sustained by private funding. If you have money to give, they would benefit greatly from those donations. Don't want to donate cash? When you're out shopping, grab a gift card from a pet store or hardware store. If you don't have extra cash on hand, try doing a coin drive. The Kansas Humane Society (@KSHumaneSociety) in Wichita, Kansas holds an annual "Pennies From Heaven" drive. If an office gathered change from all of its employees, they could make a substantial donation to a local shelter.
Another way to donate is to check out your local shelter's "wish list". Most shelters have a list of items on their websites detailing things they need. A lot of it is stuff you might never think of donating. Many shelters don't need food, but they need blankets, treats, bleach, peanut butter, toys, or beds. Check out the list, then when you're shopping at your local pet store, supermarket or discount store, throw a couple extra items in your basket for them. I also donate shredded paper to the Kansas Humane Society in Wichita. They use it to line small animal cages. That doesn't cost me a thing
Want to do something fun while you're supporting your favorite shelter or rescue group? Check out the events they have coming up. Wayside Waifs has the Fur Ball and the Kansas Humane Society holds Woofstock every year.
Are you thinking about getting a pet? Adopt! The fees are reasonable and usually include the cost of spaying or neutering your new pet, vaccinations and a supply of pet food to take home. It's an awesome deal! You can find all varieties of pets at shelters: young or senior, big or small. You can find cats and dogs, but you can also find bunnies, ferrets and guinea pigs. I adopted my cat from Wayside Waifs. He's a senior kitty and he was already litter box trained. I didn't have to train him myself!
Next month, a local animal welfare organization in the Kansas City area is having a garage sale. Chain of Hope, a small outreach organization, is using this opportunity to raise funds for all they do around the metro area. I have gathered up several items to donate to their sale. Not only does it go to a good cause, it gives me the chance to do some spring cleaning as well! Again, a donation helps them, but costs me nothing.
At a company I used to work for, we recycled our soda cans. When the receptacle got full, one of the employees would take the cans for recycling. The money would be tucked away. This went on all year long, then at Christmas, we had a rather large donation to give. What did this cost us? Nothing! Plus, we were acting a little "greener".
I hope that you are able to find something here that you can do to help out. By the way, if you'd like to donate to Pets Without Parents, you can do it right here. Check out the top, right-hand corner of my page. I've made it easy for you to get started! Right below that is a list of links to organizations I have mentioned here. Visit them. Go do something!