Around this time of year, animal lovers far and wide seek ways to volunteer their time and treasure. Here are a few purr-fect holiday volunteer ideas that we know you are sure to appreciate.
Help a Local Animal Shelter
We are confident, any help offered to an animal shelter is appreciated on a heart level, but some things are more beneficial than others.
1. Donate Items
Not all donations are created equal. Although intentions are good, not every shelter needs 1000 cans of dog food or 67 blankets. They may have a higher need for brushes, wet cat food, or dog toys. Every square inch of the building is being used for a specific reason, and they may not have room to store that much more. Before you go dropping big bucks on things they don’t need, give the shelter of your choosing a quick call or message them on Facebook. They can give you a detailed list of what would be most helpful. If you work in an office, it can be fun to have a few containers for collection. Get some cardboard boxes, wrap them in paw covered wrapping paper, and you’ve got yourself a donation center. Select a date to deliver the items together, then go out for drinks to celebrate how wonderful it is to give to pets in need.
2. Volunteer Your Time
This option requires a little more commitment but can be one of the most valued by the shelter. Your time is a treasure, and we guarantee that if the animals being cared for could audibly thank you, they would. Animals need care, attention, walking, playing, socializing, and engaging with people to help them find homes to go to. There is always something to do, and there are volunteer options for all types of animal lovers. Maybe you are more administrative, and you don’t really want to be in charge of animal care. We know they would love your help as well. Give your local shelter a call to set a volunteer schedule that works for both of you.
Host a Themed Party!
3. Have a Photo Shoot
Everyone knows the cards that make the fridge are the ones with the cute animals on them. With life’s busyness, it’s hard to get a photo sesh scheduled to acquire said photo. Problem solved! You plan it and set it up for a pawsome day of animal bliss. Create a cool set, buy some props (you may even have stuff around the house that works), hire a legit photographer (maybe that’s you), and invite your friends and family to come and get their picture taken with their pets.
All of the profits can be donated to a shelter or cause of your choosing. You may have to get a bit more creative this year, but it can absolutely be done while observing safety procedures. Multiple sets could be beneficial depending on how passionate you want to get with this project. How cute would it be to have little snack stations for the pets waiting for their turn? We could go on and on, but you get the point.
4. Run a Silent Auction
If you are looking for a more chill option, this might be the event for you. There are a lot of places looking to donate products for a good cause. Of course, you could buy it all yourself, but it makes a bit more sense to partner with others since the idea is to raise funds. Offer a mention on social media or some signage at the event as a courtesy for the donation.
Because this event will likely appeal to pet parents, think about hosting the auction in an animal-friendly location, so everyone can attend. Don’t forget to use your social media channels to share about the event and invite others to get the word out. Facebook is an excellent resource for those who can’t or aren’t comfy attending in person. Assign someone to manage the live feed, and allow your digital attendees to bid as well. Collecting for a cause has never been so much fun!
Offer an Act of Service
5. Walk a Dog
With 48,255,413 households in the US owning a dog, you are bound to come across an owner that could use a helping hand. Life throws unexpected curve balls that can lead to a variety of outcomes. A sprained ankle or foot injury can make daily walks very difficult for a dog owner, and because dogs can pick up stress in their hoomans, the dog as well. The invitation of a cheery volunteer offering walk-relief could be just the holiday joy that person and their precious pup needs.
While dogs offer incredible and much-needed support to the elderly, it can be lonely at times. It is a nice treat to have a walking buddy or task helper. Sadly, that demographic is often ignored. It’s unfortunate because the stories from someone who isn’t rushed remind us to soak in all of life’s memorable moments. You may have thought you were volunteering to help them, when in fact, you walk away changed.
So how the heck do you find these people? A lot of neighborhoods use the Nextdoor App to stay connected and involved with their surrounding community. Facebook groups are another great resource to see if your neighborhood is connected there. If you have a friendly pup, maybe you can contact a nursing home, and you can take a walk together on the property. The options are limitless!
6. Pet Sit
Many families choose to travel during the holidays. If they decide not to travel with their pets, they will need someone to watch over them while they are out of town. Traveling in and of itself can be stressful, but leaving their four-legged loved ones in the hands of another person can be challenging. It can be nerve-wracking and expensive, trying to decide if and where to board your pet. Knock this “to-do” off of their list by offering to pet-sit. The gift of peace of mind is one of a kind and will ensure that they enjoy their time away knowing their pet is in good hands. You can even send texts and photos from the pet to their owner. “I hope you are having a fun time, hooman. I think this pet sitter is falling in love with me. I’m getting lots of nose boops and treatos. I miss you!”
7. Play Chauffer For a Day
Cars are fantastic, but not everyone owns one. Some people may even be anxious to drive or leave the house. Others feel overwhelmed at the thought of taking their animal to the veterinarian alone. Perhaps they have an animal to help support them emotionally, and just the act of waking up and getting out of bed is a victory each day. Whatever the situation, their animals still need check-ups and vet visits. Offering to drive and accompany them to these things is not something we often think about but could be a game-changer for them.
There may also be more basic needs that need to be met. The simplest gesture of running to the store to lift a heavy bag of dog food can make a world of difference in someone’s life. Never underestimate little acts of kindness; they go a very long way. If you offer, we have no doubt that someone will respond with a need.
Whichever of these holiday volunteer ideas designed for the animal lover that you choose, we hope you have loads of fun spreading howl-i-day cheer and bettering the world one act of kindness at a time.