'Tis Better to Give....

This morning I was collecting items to be picked up by a local charity and decided to share some ideas to help our canine friends this holiday season. Every shelter is beyond capacity right now. Never in modern history have there been more operational pet shelters and yet never has the need been so great to help them.
When I managed a pet boutique I kept a box behind the counter for donations to the local shelter. Every time a customer purchased a new dog bed, bowl, brush, collar, etc. I would ask them to bring in the old one to donate on their next visit to the store. Not only would the customers bring in the old items still in usable condition, but often they would bring in more items as well to donate. Every holiday season I would have a pet food drive and ask each customer to purchase an extra can or bag of food to donate.
I always kept the damaged bags of still good food to send to the shelter as well.
Our neighborhood association has a pet spay neuter program for neighbors who can't afford it or for strays to be fully vetted before going to a new home. This year I have asked them to donate their old crates and other supplies to local rescue groups.
If you don't have a neighborhood association, you can still have a neighborhood pet supply drive. Tell your neighbors to get those old crates out of the garage because rescue groups never have enough. In fact, recently one of our local rescue groups in an effort to rescue puppy mill puppies had to make several trips back and forth because they didn't have enough crates for transport. Borrow a truck and tell them you will pick up the crates and other donated pet items yourself on a designated day. Almost everyone I know has a dog crate they don't need anymore in storage that could be donated.

And shelters need collars and beds and bowls and toys too. Believe me, the dogs and shelter workers will be grateful and won't care that they are used.
I have also had pet food drives at my office jobs. Just email all your co-workers and tell them that on a certain day you are collecting pet food for the shelter.Do you or a friend have a retail business?Offer a discount to customers who bring in pet food donations during the holiday season. Because it benefits charity some community bulletin boards and local radio and T.V. stations may post it for free.
Another idea is to ask your friends to donate money to your favorite rescue in lieu of buying you a present this year....
Some no kill shelters have sponsorship programs. Get together with your friends and sponsor a dog at a no kill shelter.
Or donate your time. If you have never donated your time to a shelter it is both rewarding and unnerving. Unnerving because you are almost overwhelmed when you see how in need the shelters are and how little time can be devoted to each dog. Dogs need walking, grooming, and their cages and kennels cleaned. The work never ends and volunteers are always needed. If you don't live near a shelter, consider offering to walk or groom an ill, elderly or disabled persons dog.
Do you belong to an online group? Suggest that each member donate an item to their local shelter this year. Not everyone is in a position to adopt right now, but don't let the holiday season go by without doing something for rescue.
Share this idea with everyone you know, just think, if everyone in America did one thing for pet rescue this season how much it would help. Can you imagine? Spread the word!
With that thought, Puff tips his Pilgrim's hat to you...

Have a happy Thanksgiving and don't forget to watch the National Dog Show.