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Seven Surprising Ways to Donate to Your Local Shelter

Donate your time
Volunteering for a shelter is one of the most impactful ways to get involved. Many shelters need help with cleaning and caring for the animals, and keeping the facility in good condition. Call your local shelter to see if it needs extra volunteers and learn more about volunteering with shelters and rescue groups.

Donate your skills
Do you have a special talent or hobby like photography or creating video? Photographing shelter pets or highlighting one in an adoptable pet video for his Petfinder profile can bring attention to a pet who’s often overlooked. A great photo on a pet’s Petfinder profile will make him more likely to catch an adopter’s eye and bring her into the shelter. Get some tips for how to get great shelter-pet photos, then donate your skills to help a pet find a home.

Donate your pets’ gently-used items
Shelters can always use some extra supplies. Contact your local shelter or rescue group to see if it has a wish list of items it needs, just be sure to clean any supplies before you donate them. Often a shelter’s wish list will include:

Water and food bowls
Leashes and collars
Brushes/grooming tools
Pet beds

Donate a place in your home
Fostering a pet is not only a rewarding experience, but it’s a great way to help out your local shelter from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about fostering cats and dogs, why you should and how to start in our articles on fostering cats and fostering dogs.

Donate part of your wedding or event registry
Getting married or throwing a big party? I bet you don’t need those fancy china plates or the glass vase that’ll just sit in a cabinet collecting dust. Instead, have your shelter set up a registry page so guests can donate to the shelter rather than purchasing a customary wedding gift. It’s a rewarding experience for you, the shelter and your guests and it’s a great way to remember the meaning of your wedding! Read about two couples who set up donation registries on our blog.

Donate household items
Pet supplies aren’t the only supplies shelters need. Some other things that come in handy for shelters include:

Cleaning supplies
(call your shelter and ask what cleaning supplies it uses/needs)
Old newspapers
Paper towel and toilet paper rolls
Old towels and blankets
Hand sanitizer
Office supplies

Donate pet food and litter
Shelters and rescue groups go through a lot of pet food and cat litter every day. You can buy pet food in bulk at wholesale stores and donate:

Wet dog/cat food
Dry dog/cat food
Clumping cat litter
Non-clay cat litter (for kittens and post-op cats)
Dog/cat treats

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