At the mere mention of Sarah McLachlan and ASPCA, animal lovers everywhere get teary-eyed, weepy with emotion. Now, with that in mind, think how abused and abandoned animals must feel: terrified, hurt, alone, unloved, like there is no hope. Regardless of the varying levels of intensity of such feelings in these animals, they are all in need of caring humans like you. The good news is that there are ways you can help to take away or alleviate these sad and fearful feelings. Are you on board?

From starting an online fundraiser for shelter animals to taking in a homeless pet for a time, there is always a way for you to contribute. So get your thinking cap on and get your research started with these six ways to get involved in helping abused or abandoned animals:

1. Participate in (or start) a fundraiser

Check with local animal shelters and rescues to see if they need any assistance with upcoming fundraisers. If you cannot physically be there to participate in a fundraiser, spread the word by way of social media, email, flyers, or informing the local media. Do you or your child want to start an individual fundraiser to help abused or abandoned animals? There are websites specifically set-up as free fundraising pages for animals like PetCaring.com which lets you create an online fundraising platform to raise money for the animal care organization you choose to support.

2. Volunteer at a farm animal sanctuary

Organizations dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abused and abandoned farm animals such as horses, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, and turkeys are most always in need of several different forms of help: donate money for general expenses, give blankets and brushes, donate food and treats, volunteer to be a caretaker, volunteer to assist fundraising events, or sponsor a specific farm animal. Help farm animal sanctuaries spread the word of kindness and compassion!

3. Adopt a shelter pet

Unwanted pets are dropped off at animal shelters or abandoned on the streets to fend for themselves everyday. If you’re ready for a new addition to your family, pets like these can really use your love. You will be saving an animal from a lifetime of loneliness and even from the possibility of being euthanized. Check out 10 Things You Need to Know Before Adopting Any Pet for important questions you should ask yourself first.

4. Foster abandoned animals

If you are not able or ready to adopt a pet, or you simply prefer to provide temporary housing for homeless animals, then consider fostering abused and abandoned pets that are living in your local animal shelters. Rescue organizations are also in need of foster pet parents. Doing so allows extra time for a pet to find a forever home, will help with socialization, and provides much needed love. Maybe you have specialized training in an area of animal care that a foster animal can benefit from while living with you.

5. Care for feral cats

These cats were once someone’s pets before being abandoned or they’re the offspring of feral cat parents. To help, construct a homemade shelter and leave food and water out at a scheduled time daily in a location out of the way of the public and neighbor’s yards. Another way to get involved in helping feral cats is to become a Trap-Neuter-Return volunteer and caretaker. TNR improved the lives of these cats through population control and vaccinations against diseases. Read more about Trap-Neuter-Return here.

6. Report animal neglect and abuse

As a witness to animal abuse, report it to your local law enforcement, local animal control, or humane organization. If you truly believe an animal is in immediate danger, make this very clear to the officer so your report is made a priority. Whatever you do, do not take matters into your own hands. This can be a hard thing to do when an animal is in obvious distress, but you may end up putting yourself in a dangerous situation while trespassing.

Green Monsters: In what ways have you helped abused and abandoned animals?

Image source: bfishadow / Flickr