With the holidays in full swing and seasonal cheer finding its way into just about everything, it’s an ideal time to take a moment to help those in need. Not surprisingly, the holiday season—with its themes of family and togetherness—is a very popular time to volunteer. In fact, it is estimated that volunteering efforts increase by about 32% during the holiday season. Unfortunately, less than 2% of those volunteers opt to work with animals in need.
At Primal, we are passionate about animals, and we know there is absolutely no shortage of pets and wildlife in need of food, shelter, and human compassion. Want to get connected with animals in need? Check out our 3 tips to lending a helping paw to your furry friends:
Your local humane society is always a good place to start.
Humane societies are not simply centers for pet adoption. Many of them also deal with lost and surrendered animals, offer educational programs for kids and new pet parents, and maintain wide-reaching foster programs. On top of this, almost every humane society is need of volunteers—often for simply walking dogs or cleaning out cages. So, if you’re looking to make an impact right away, as well as to become knowledgeable about the animal rescues and shelters in your area, then finding your local humane society is an ideal first step.
You can search here for animal shelters in your area through the ASPCA. Or, to start helping animals in your neighborhood right now, you can look over our guide to helping homeless cats in your community during the winter.
If you have any special skills, those might actually be really helpful!
The needs of an animal-focused organization are very diverse, so you might be surprised to find that your skills will come in handy for your local shelters and nonprofits! For example, if you have skills in carpentry, plumbing, or general construction, almost every humane society would be able to find a use for your expertise. However, humane societies also need quality pet portraits for showcasing and adopting their rotating cast of fur babies. So, if you have the equipment or the skills for professional photography, then there’s probably a shelter in need of your services.
If you’re unsure about the needs of your local rescues, shelters, sanctuaries and humane societies, then it is often best to reach out beforehand to talk about what you can offer and where you might offer help.
Make a long-term commitment.
Volunteering around the holidays is a massively popular tradition that has become overwhelming in the numbers of people it turns out for humanitarianism. That being said, the influx of volunteers during the holiday season is much less noticeable in the realm of animal care and rescue. Unlike soup kitchens and homeless shelters, which are often overstaffed and overwhelmed by volunteers around Thanksgiving, animal-based organizations welcome the seasonal uptick in people willing to lend a hand.
Still, a long-term commitment is always more helpful to your humane society than anything temporary. A commitment helps the organization plan ahead and staff programs and events throughout the year. So, if you’re able, be sure to ask about how you might lend a helpful paw on a more permanent basis!
If you’re ready for a more serious long-term commitment, we have all the details for becoming a foster parent over at our blog.