This Sunday marks Change a Pet’s Life Day! This event was created by a group of animal lovers who wanted to recognize the hard work that shelter staff and volunteers do, as well as encourage adoption of shelter pets, and raise awareness about the challenges of animals in shelters.
Pet adoptions have continued to be popular through the pandemic, so much so that many shelters and foster organization across North America have few pets, or no pets available for adoption! With many people working from home indefinitely, the pandemic provided a perfect opportunity for pet adoption. With many people having little reason to leave home, adopting a puppy or kitten was easier because all those puppy and kitten needs can be met.
Many shelters and foster organizations have had to make adjustments to their adoption processes, which has changed the experience for potential adoptive pet parents—think Zoom or FaceTime meet and greets! But other than that, adopting a pet is really no different now than it was a year ago.
Volunteering at many shelters has been put on hold to reduce social interactions and the potential spread of COVID-19, but there are still many ways to support your local shelter and change a pet’s life!
Actions you can take in support of Change a Pet’s Life Day include:
Become a foster parent. While many foster organizations may not have a huge need for fostering at the moment, there will always be a future need. There is only so much space in shelters and rescue organizations; fostering enables more animals to be cared for. Fostering provides loving, safe homes for pets until they are adopted, and even the opportunity for personalized care. Foster parents sometimes care for pets that are recovering from surgery, injury, or illness, and pets that need behavior rehabilitation or “a break” from the shelter environment. Many shelters and rescue organizations provide the food and veterinary care for the animals – all you do is provide the love! Check out some local foster organizations to see if they need foster homes now or will have a need in the future.
Make a monetary donation to a shelter or rescue. Animals in shelters may need medical, as well as preventive health care (spay, neuter, treatment for existing conditions, surgery, and flea, tick, or heartworm preventives). Donations to shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries help to cover these medical costs, as well other costs associated with the rescue, rehabilitation, care, and adoption of animals that have been relinquished, neglected, or abused. Without such donations, many shelters and rescues would cease to exist. Your donation allows these organizations to continue providing care to animals in need. Contact your local shelter to see how you can make a donation.
Item Donations. While most shelters aren’t accepting donations of new or used items during the pandemic, many have wish lists of most needed items on their website. These items can be ordered from pet stores or on-line stores, with the items delivered directly to the shelter. Check your local shelter’s website to see if they have a wish list.
Adopt a pet. If you have the resources, time, space, and love to give, consider adopting a pet. Cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, and pocket pets alike, may be in need of a “furever home”.
Appreciate the staff. Staff at shelters and rescue organizations have a difficult job. Each day they encounter situations with pets that have been relinquished, neglected, or worse. Consider treating the staff by mailing them a gift card for a local coffee shop or restaurant – not only will this give the shelter team a boost, but you’ll be also helping out a small business at the same time!
Many of us have already changed the life of a pet, so remember to spend some extra time with your pet this Sunday!