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It’s that time of year again. With a new year comes new resolutions!  Have you considered making a difference for good in 2019? Maybe you’ve made previous resolutions of donating to help dogs in need, but it just didn’t work out as you hoped? We’ve got 8 ways for you to help dogs all throughout 2019.

Photo Credit: @teddy.takesthecity

The first step is to find a cause that is important to you! The cause you support should be something that is truly important to you or close to your heart. This will help keep your resolution alive and well even into the later months of September and October.

Next, you’ll want to figure out exactly how or what you want to donate. This can be the part of the resolution that often trips people up, so we’ve put together a list of ways you can make an impact on a dog in need’s life.

1. Monetary Donations

If you’ve hit the lottery and are able to donate large portions of money to your favorite dog charity or shelter, go for it! Unfortunately, despite our tries, most of us are not lottery winning millionaires, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make monetary donations.

There are many ways to make monetary donations – the easiest is to go to your charity’s website and make a one-time donation. To help keep your resolution going throughout the year, many charities make it easy for your to setup a monthly recurring donation.

Photo Credit: @rambothepuppy

Another great way to make monetary donations that directly impact your fellow community members is to check your local Veterinarian’s office for a emergency fund. These funds are often labeled as “Frank’s Fund, Lucky’s Kisses”, etc. Any monetary donations added to the jar are put into a fund for fellow client’s unexpected emergencies. No one expects to have an emergency, but payment is still due at time of service at most Veterinarian offices and this fund helps families in need that may be either low income or hard on their luck.

2. Recycle, Reuse!

Dog shelters are always in need of many items you probably have laying around your house or in storage. A hot item always in need are blankets or towels. Maybe you’ve been saving old Winnie the Pooh blankets from your childhood? While Winnie the Pooh may not work in your guest room, dog shelters will happily welcome your old blankets and/or towels. Dogs are easy to please and don’t care if the blanket you donate is themed. All that matters is that the blanket is comfy, not ripped and doesn’t have any holes. These blankets and towels help keep shelter dogs warm and cozy while waiting for their forever home.

Photo Credit: @spcatexas

3. Your Time!

There’s no greater gift you can give a dog shelter than your time! Dog shelters rely on the kind hearts of their neighbors to help keep the dogs happy while in their care. Often, dog shelters are functioning solely on donations so unfortunately, it is not in the budget to have a large staff, even though a large staff is often necessary.

Dog shelters are always in need of dedicated dog walkers. As we learned from our MD SPCA shelter visit, becoming a volunteer dog walker takes many hours of training.  If you’re looking to volunteer, but might not have as much spare time as needed for dog walkers, ask you local shelter if you can volunteer at an upcoming event or fundraiser. Also, an even more fun way to volunteer is to be a dog cuddler! These volunteers come in and spend time with the dogs in their run. You can read the dog a book, tell him about your day or simply just snuggle with him. 

4. Toy & Food Donations!

Despite many shelters having trained dog walkers that volunteer on their own time to come in and walk the dogs outside, dogs are still left in a run for hours on end. Toys not only help keep dogs busy, but toys can be a great exercise for their minds as well. Before you buy or donate toys, check with your local dog shelter. Dog shelters will often have a wish list of toys that are best suited for the dogs in their care. And, while you might not see Benebone on a wish list, if your shelter lists “chew toys”, you can be sure that they will welcome Benebones! (Fun Fact: Benebone sends over 50 donation boxes a month to various US dog shelters and organizations. Keep an eye on our Instagram account for shelter donation giveaways to nominate your favorite non-profit or let us know in the comments below who we should send a box to next.)

Photo Credit: @narps2015

Many dog shelters run a food bank, which is solely dependent on donations. Food banks help low income, homeless or families having short-term financial hardship to feed their dog. Since these food banks do not have access to refrigerators or freezers, the food donated often has to be a dry kibble. Again, you’ll want to check with your local dog shelter to see which brand of food they ask you to donate.

Photo Credit: @lextasyy

5. Foster A Dog!

Maybe it’s not the right time for you to adopt a dog, but have you considered fostering a dog? Many dog shelters are sadly overcrowded or certain dogs may have medical issues which prevent them from staying at the shelter. That’s when dog shelters look to the community for vital help. Fostering helps dog shelters take in and care for more dogs than possible on site. Another benefit to dog fostering is that you can set the parameters for which kind of dog you want to help foster. Maybe you’re on a puppy high and have the time needed to devote to only fostering puppies.

Photo Credit: @furbabyfostermom

Or, maybe, you have a soft spot for anxious seniors. Either way, fostering gives you a unique opportunity to help dogs of diverse backgrounds in which you may have never had the opportunity to interact with.

Photo Credit: @socialteesnyc

6. Participate In Events!

Attending a fundraiser events is probably the easiest and social way to support your local dog shelter. Visit your dog shelter’s website or Facebook page and take a look at their upcoming events. Typically for these events, you will have to purchase a ticket to attend, however, all the proceeds go back to helping the shelter. It’s a win-win: you and your dog get to mingle with other local pups and the shelter raises funds to continue helping dogs in need.

Photo Credit: Petbacker

7. Put Your Talents to Work!

Do you have an Instagram account for your dog? With that, comes dog photography experience. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a novice, lend your talent to your local dog shelter. One of the toughest battles for shelter dogs is getting a good photo online. Let’s be honest, many of us look online for adoptable dogs. Much like human dating apps, dogs need to have their best paw forward and this is where you come in. Lend your talents to help shelter dogs get adopted. It can be something as little as finding a better background within the shelter to take the dog’s photograph to bringing in a light kit to help brighten up your subject’s cuteness.

Photo Credit: @amandastrozeskiphotos

8. Drive or Fly Dogs In Need!

As dog shelters become progressive and mobile, the need to transport dogs has greatly increased. Shelters have begun broadening their reach beyond their state lines and have also began partnering with shelters in various states to help combat overcrowding.

It’s becoming more frequent for dog shelters to ask volunteers to help transport dogs to another state, across the country or even from other countries. While private pilots often donate their time and expertise to fly dogs from one shelter to another, everyday citizens can also volunteer to help fly a dog in need. Often, a rescue may be in dire need to save a dog at a high kill facility. However, in order to save the dog’s life, they need someone to fly the dog to the rescue’s home state. Many of these dogs cannot fly in cargo and rely on someone traveling to help transport them in the cabin safely.  

Photo Credit: @humanerescue

If you’re someone who likes road trips, consider helping a dog shelter by driving their newly adopted dogs to their new forever home. While this can be a long distance drive, this added benefit to dog adoption has helped save more dogs than originally possible when limiting adoptions to local residents only.

Photo Credit: @jenn_ziesk

Ultimately, there’s no wrong way to help shelter dogs in need. This year let’s resolve to help give back to dogs who give us so much unconditional love and support! We would love to hear how you help dogs in need. Leave us a comment below or tag us in your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts with #benebone.