You love animals; they’ve given you so much, and now you want to give back. Or maybe you aren’t able to keep a pet at home and just want to spend time around animals. Whatever the reason, animal shelters and rescue centres are ALWAYS in need of help. Before pitching up at your local shelter and demanding to walk the dogs, find out the shelter’s needs. They might not need dog walkers, but are in desperate need of food. See where you would be needed most, and where your skill-set would be most beneficial. Here are some of the ways you can get involved.
If you have time on your side:
Volunteer a few hours a month or week, walking and socialising the dogs
Spend time with the animals, stroking, petting and showing them you care
Clean cages, or help with general daily duties
Bath and groom the animals
Assist with the shelter’s fundraising days. These often involve plenty of administration, from putting up flyers to manning water tables.
Help at adoption days
Have a car? The animals often need fetching and carrying, so your wheels would be of great assistance.
Donate! Most shelters rely on public donations to remain open, so all donations are welcome (no matter how small). Most of their websites have facilities set up where you can donate online.
If you’re not able to donate money, food, blankets and toys are very much in need. Call the shelter or check their websites for the relevant wish-lists.
Sponsor an animal. A small monthly fee can support an animal (in the form of food, shelter and healthcare) until they are settled in their permanent home.
Put the word out in your office or community and ask for donations.
Many of the shelters have charity shops, or regular garage sales. So if you have non-animal related items at home gathering dust, donate them for resale.
Use the power of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. are great ways to spread the word. Share adoption stories, and announce upcoming adoption days or fundraising events.
Having a birthday? Why not ask your friends to donate to a shelter of your choice, or to give you dog/cat food and related items, rather than birthday presents.
Qualified vet, or studying to become one?
Help with the sick animals that are brought in regularly.
The dogs that are brought in are often scared, overwhelmed and mistreated, and as a result, display behavioural problems. Your skills would be greatly appreciated before they are put up for adoption.
Do you have other skills?
Are you a carpenter, builder, accounting whizz, lawyer etc? Offer your services!
Foster an animal
Plenty of animals need fostering before they find their permanent home. Often there is no space at the rescue centre or an animal requires certain care that only fostering can provide. That could be your chance to make a difference!
Be warned however, volunteering at a rescue centre can be hard work (both physically and emotionally). So be prepared before signing up. But know that you will be rewarded ten-fold!
Some of the Animal Shelters and Rescue Centres in South Africa:SPCA – Various websites, depending on where you are in South Africa
DARG – Domestic Animal Rescue Group http://darg.org.za/African Tailshttp://www.africantails.co.za/Adopt-a-Pethttp://www.adopt-a-pet.org.za/Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centrehttp://www.wetnose.org.za/Ark Animal Centrehttp://www.arkanimalcentre.co.za/Dogtown SAhttp://barkingmad.co.za/
You can see a full list of the charities we support here. #RegaltotheRescue!
You can also see a full list of charity events that are coming up here.