As a blogger on a blog for secular giving I get the chance to feature some ways of giving that matter to me. One of the biggest areas of giving in my life is in the area of animal welfare. My focus in this post is on animals that we keep as pets.

There are many number ways that you can help animals. One of the easier ways, in terms of not having to do a ton of planning on your part, is to volunteer at your local animal shelter or rescue. You can do a search online to find the closest one(s) near you. Contact them and find out what the application process is as well as the requirements for being a volunteer. Some organizations require that you volunteer a certain number of hours a month. The volunteers at animal shelters are very important as they help the shelter staff be able to focus their time on other things that will help find the animals owners or their new homes.

Things you can do for shelters and rescues near you:
1. First and foremost, ask what the shelters & rescues near you needs. You may have one thing that you really want to do for them, collecting blankets, for example. But what if someone else in your community already collected a large amount of blankets? Ask them what they need before you begin.

2. Take pictures of the animals – Some shelters do their own intake photos and those are what are put on their website. If a photographer were to offer to take pictures regularly at the shelter many shelters would jump at the offer. I believe the most important thing with this is that if you say you are going to go once a week to take pics, for example, be sure to keep your word. My local shelter mainly posts grainy pictures they use for their files. Some animals are given a nice photo shoot, but most are not. This is because they do not have the volunteers or the staff resources to put toward a quality picture.

3. Foster –
a. Fostering is a way to help keep animals out of the shelter.
b. It socializes animals with humans (and any pets those humans already have in their home).
c. Some animals cannot handle being in a shelter.
d. Momma cats and kittens and also kittens without mom’s often need to be placed in a foster home to keep them healthy and to make room for more cats who can share a cage instead of just mom and the babies. The kittens without mom’s need to be bottle fed, too, so having fosters who are willing to care for the babies will keep the babies alive and free up time for the shelter workers to adopt out and save more dogs and cats.
e. Rescues often rely exclusively on foster homes as some rescues do not have a building that can house all of their adoptable animals.

4. Some shelters and rescues need help transporting animals from one location to another. Sometimes it’s local transport, other times it’s long distance.

5. Collecting items – This depends on what the shelter or nonprofit needs. Pet food. Blankets. Pet supplies (collars, leashes, beds, crates, bowls, etc).

6. Social Media posts – For shelters and nonprofits who are not reaching a large enough audience on social media you can share and like their posts. This will begin to draw more attention to the organization. It’s something simple, but it can help reach more people.

As you can tell this list is not exhaustive. Use your skills to find how you can best impact the needs of the shelter/rescue. If you are skilled at organizing events, consider offering to help organize a large event in your community (a pet fair for example) or possibly a smaller fundraiser event like a Yappy Hour at a local restaurant, bar, coffee house, or other establishment that allows dogs. If animals are your passion be creative and you will find something that will fit. If you would like any tips or suggestions about organizing events for animals send me an email ( and I’ll be happy to correspond with you about what’s worked for me.


We are always looking for stories to share on the blog. If you have a story of giving that you would like to share please send an email to



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