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7 Ways To Help Your Local Animal Shelter

The Humane Society estimates that between six and eight million animals are sent to animal shelters each year in the United States.

Sadly, at least half of those are put to sleep.

Animal shelters are almost always full, but spring and summer are far worse than the rest of the year because of the large number of puppies and kittens that are brought in. Sadly, many of those are adopted, only to be returned to the shelters as adults.

But you can help. If you’d like to get involved, contact your local animal shelter. And here are some great suggestions for how you can make a difference even if you don’t actually want to adopt a pet.

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  • Donate Money 1 of 7
    Donate Money
    Yes, they need money. Most local shelters are run by a hodgepodge of low-wage staff and volunteers, with little money from government to make it work. Donating money helps tremendously.
  • Donate Blankets and Towels 2 of 7
    Donate Blankets and Towels
    Can't afford to donate cash? No problem. If you've got old towels, blankets, and sheets (flat, not fitted) lying around, your local shelter can use them. Your old, ripped up blanket might be the difference between the hard metal floor of a cage
    and comfort.
  • Volunteer Your Time 3 of 7
    Volunteer Your Time
    Love dogs but can't have one where you live? No problem. Head to your local shelter and offer to volunteer. You'll get to spend plenty of time with dogs helping to socialize them, walk them, and play with them. Sure, you might have to hose down a few cages too, but it's worth it.
    Photo Credit
  • Foster 4 of 7
    Foster
    Shelters fill up, and you can save an animal's life by agreeing to shelter him in your home. You can even sometimes shelter a mom with newborn kittens, which, frankly, is about the most fun you'll ever have.
    Photo Credit
  • Adopt 5 of 7
    Adopt
    Of course, this is one of the best things you can do. Skip the highly overpriced pet store or breeder, and instead, go to your local shelter to find your next family member. If you're worried about the dog's behavior, use the shelter's fostering system as a way to find a dog or cat, because those animals have lived in homes with their foster families and have revealed their true personalities.
    Photo Credit
  • Spread the Word 6 of 7
    Spread the Word
    If your friends are thinking about getting a pet, tell them about your great shelter friend. Stress to them the fact that some 50,000 animals a DAY are put to sleep in shelters and need homes. Friends don't let friends buy pets.
  • Spay and Neuter 7 of 7
    Spay and Neuter
    The #1 way you can help your local shelter is to spay or neuter your own pet. No, they don't need to breed. I promise. All domestic animals live long and healthy lives (in fact, sometimes they live a little longer!) once spayed or fixed. Don't have a litter. If you need financial help spaying or neutering your pet, contact your local shelter they likely have assistance programs. Don't let money stand in the way, because trust me, having MORE animals costs far more than spaying or neutering does!

writes here and at MomCrunch as well as at her own blog, Uppercase Woman. She spent over eight years as a young woman working as a surgical veterinary technician.

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