While there is no doubt dog rescue centres are desperate for financial donations, there are many other ways to help.
Many of us have suffered during the recession, and dog rescue centres have suffered along with us. If you have ever held back your purse or wallet when leaving the supermarket, thinking ‘my family comes first’, you will know what we mean. Money doesn’t grow on trees and many people do not have enough to feed their families, let alone a dog. But there are other ways in which you help dog rescue centres where no money exchanges hands.
How to help your local rescue centre
Three Counties Dog Rescue, our local centre, suggests offering a dog a home, donating, raising funds, volunteering at the kennels and donating items. We’ve added some more detailed explanations and a few other options to that list, many of which will leave your bank balance intact.
Volunteer as a dog walker
Suggest times that fit in with your schedule. You never know, there could be a perfect match.
Fostering a dog can be a rewarding occupation. It also frees up space at your local shelter for another needy case. More importantly, it allows the rescue centre to give a dog a history. Generally, when a dog is taken in by a rescue centre, the staff have little or no idea about his past. When a dog goes to a foster home, their carer will discover things that are impossible to realise in a kennel situation. Is he house-trained? How does he take to living in a normal, caring home? Is he good with children? You get the picture. When all this information is fed back to the centre, the staff can build up a picture and possibly write a more detailed and glowing report about the dog in your care, one that they hope will make him more attractive to potential adopters.
Get those who can afford it to part with their cash. There are many ways to raise funds, from standing outside a store shaking a bucket to organising an event, selling cakes or holding a quiz night. Find out what your rescue centre prefers and take it from there.
Donate old and unwanted goods
All shelters need towels, blankets, collars, coats, leads, to keep their charges comfortable and clean. Be sure to wash them first, though.
Become a delivery driver
When a centre has found a potential foster home or forever home for one of their charges, there is the small matter of getting them there. Consider donating some time (and fuel) to help by becoming a delivery driver.
Perform home checks
A good rescue centre always performs home checks on would-be owners and fosterers. They will usually provide the basic training required for you to take on this important task on their behalf. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, there’s only so much daytime TV a person can take! Consider donating some of that time for a good cause.
Become a dog midwife
Not as strange as it sounds. You don’t need to have experience looking after a pregnant dog, but you can provide a safer environment, such as a spare room, than a kennels, allowing the mother to give birth and raise her family. Wood Green Animal Shelter has an animal midwife programme.
Leave a donation in your will
It’s not unheard of for someone to donate their entire legacy to their local rescue centre. But every little helps. Consider setting aside a portion of your legacy, so that dogs continue to benefit from your kindness long after you have gone.
Donate other items
Even a broken mobile phone can fetch a tidy sum on eBay when sold ‘for parts’. Food and treats will always go down well with a hungry rescue dog. Many centres also have their own charity shops where they can sell your other unwanted items, such as books, CDs, DVDs, shoes and good quality clothing.
Every rescue centre has different priorities. Call your local centre or check out their website to find out how you can help.