If you are an animal lover, you should consider supporting your local animal shelter. This is a great way of not only giving back to your community but taking care of homeless animals as well. Animal shelters can be sad, and even scary places for many animals. They need love, comfort, and to feel as though somebody cares about them after enduring various hardships.

Shelters are so important to our communities, but they need help to run successfully as they are often underfunded and understaffed. Although they do the best that they can do, they can’t do it all alone, nor should they have to.

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If you love animals and want to know how to start doing more for them, the best place to start is at your animal shelter. There are all kinds of ways that you can help out your animal shelter.  Everyone can do something to help. Here are a few things that you can do to support your local shelter and the animals there:

1. Volunteer

One of the best ways that you can support your local shelter is to volunteer. This is so vital in most communities as shelters are drastically underfunded and can’t hire enough people. Most animal shelters will gladly accept any help that they can get. They are often filled to the brim with animals that need love, care, attention, exercise, and more!

There are all kinds of ways that you can volunteer. You can help to fill food and water bowls or clean out litter boxes. You could take the dogs out for exercise and playtime or hang out with the cats.

One amazing way to volunteer is to help socialize feral and scared animals. This will help them to gain trust in humans so that they can find their forever home!

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Even if you volunteer just to hang out with animals, you are making a huge difference. Volunteers play an important role in keeping the animals’ spirits up, as well as making their time at the shelter more pleasant.

Most shelters have a program that you can join. Check on your local shelter’s website for more information. 

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2. Become a Driver

Your local animal shelter just might also have a volunteer program in place for people to become drivers. Drivers are important because someone needs to get animals to their grooming and vet appointments. Some shelters even transfer animals from one shelter to another to increase their chances of being adopted. All of those things require people to drive the animals. The people who work at shelters often have their hands full and are needed at the shelter, which is why it is so important to have people who can volunteer their car and their time. If this is something that you are interested in, ask your local shelter if they have a driving program in place.

3. Donate

If you cannot donate your time to volunteering, you can still help out your local animal shelter! They are always needing extra funds for routine animal care, facility maintenance, emergencies, and other necessities. No-kill shelters specifically are always in need of donations as they have a growing number of animals to care for at any given time. Monetary and physical donations are sure to be of great help to your local shelter. They will help provide animals with food, bedding, renovations, and better care. If you are curious about where your donation is going you can always ask. Some shelters might even have separate kinds of donations that you can make towards different concerns and needs.

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4. Adopt an Animal

One of the best ways that you can support your local shelter is to adopt (or foster) an animal! Or two or three!

Animal shelters wouldn’t be able to stay open if people did not adopt the animals. So next time you are thinking about getting another pet, make sure to adopt. There are so many animals in need of homes that there is no reason to look to breeders for your pets. Plus, there is a slew of ethical issues with how breeders treat their animals.

Shelters are already full of animals that are eagerly waiting to be seen and loved. Make sure to adopt not shop, and encourage people that you know to do the same. 

5. Cover an Adoption Fee

If you do not want any other pets or cannot take care of them, you still have another option. Many shelters have a program that allows you to pay for the adoption of an animal. This means that the person who actually decides to adopt that animal doesn’t have to pay a fee! This can be a wonderful way of helping out a fellow animal lover to get a pet. It is best to ask if their adoption can be kept secret, however, since an openly free animal can sometimes encourage people to adopt for the wrong reasons. It is best to keep this kind of adoption secret to surprise the future owners!

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