So you absolutely LOVE animals (as we Green Monsters do) but you cannot adopt one. Maybe you’re renting and your landlord doesn’t allow pets. For shame! Perhaps your boyfriend is deathly allergic to cats. Maybe you’re in between jobs and don’t have the money to invest in a pet, or you’re moving again in six months and want to wait until you’re settled. For whatever reason, you just aren’t stable enough to make a lifelong commitment to a pet. Oh, the agony of not having puppy kisses and kitty purrs in your life! You want to do something to help animals, right?

Don’t despair! There are actually several things you can do to help and feel connected to the animal community at the same time. Due to the overwhelming amount of unwanted, discarded and abused pets everywhere, there is always a way to reach out and lend a paw. From getting involved in hands-on activities to slaving over the keyboard from the comfort of your own home (in your pajamas, of course) there is a place for you!

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1. Foster

Whether a cat needs a foster home due to limited space at the rescue or a dog needs one because he’s not doing well in a shelter environment, providing a safe, loving home for the animal is absolutely essential. This is also a great way to have a pet in your home when you can’t adopt one. The rescue or shelter usually pays for all vet expenses, and all you do is provide food, a bed, and lots of love. Like they say about adopting – you save the life of the dog you take home and the one who now has a spot to go into. Fostering saves lives too!

2. Volunteer

Animal shelters and rescues both need help. Constantly. There’s never nothing to do. There’s always a bowl that can be washed, a litter box that can be cleaned, a dog that can be walked, or even something that only you can do because of your skill set and experience! Even when a facility has a paid staff to work full time, there still are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Volunteers help ease that burden and make for a less stressful environment. Less stress means happier rescuers and shelter staff, and happier rescuers and shelter staff mean happier puppies and kitties. It’s a win-win for everyone!

3. Transport

Transportation is one of those things we easily forget about. The shelters and rescues take in the animals, the foster homes take care of the animals, and the adopters take them home. But how do we connect the dots? Transport. Whether it’s getting a litter of newborn puppies to a foster or taking Frisky Cat to his new forever home, someone is needed to do the driving. There are actually several groups that specialize in this who are always in need of volunteers, so check online to see what pet transportation is available in your area. Chances are they have a Facebook page and you can sign up to help right away!

4. Educate Yourself and Others

You all have heard the words and seen the photos in your Twitter feed. You are familiar with the horror stories of animal abuse and neglect. The key to changing this behavior is prevention, and prevention is a product of education. It’s a simple chain reaction, really. Education leads to awareness, which leads to sympathy, which leads to action. Take the time to learn your local animal welfare laws. Many are state-mandated, and some vary from county to county. For example, brush up on your local leash laws. Find out if your city has a breed ban. As they say, knowledge is power, and with the tools to educate others, we can all bring about change. You don’t need to physically have a pet to help make a difference for them!

5. Network

Networking saves lives. It really does. All those shares you see on Facebook, the posts about the sad little kitten at the shelter who was abandoned and needs a home. They work. They may not work immediately or 100 percent of the time, but they do work. Join your local animal shelter and rescue pages on Facebook and share those posts. Tweet the photos of the lost pets in your area. It may feel at the time like you aren’t doing much, but if you share one post that gets seen by the right one person, an animal’s life is saved then and there. You don’t have to be the one taking in an animal to change their lives forever, but you will feel just good knowing you did something to help!

Image source: Pixabay