Giving Tuesday is November 30th this year (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the internationally recognized day to contribute to charity), and while we are all in for finding ways to help pets that day, we wondered what about the next day, and the day after that?
So, we decided to think of #givingtuesday as just the start of the “giving season.” With so much to be thankful for and with awareness that gratitude is the attitude we want to put into the world, we’ve come up with 25 ways to help pets—you can do them in 25 days or whenever works for you. Other ideas? Please share them in the comments below. We would love to know how you’re giving back this year.
25 Ways in 25 Days to Help Pets in Need
1Support Military Working Dogs
Thousands of active or retired military working dogs would love a little holiday cheer. See how you can send a care package or make a donation through the United States War Dogs Association.
2Make Edible Outdoor Decorations to Feed Wildlife
While the squirrels, birds and other critters who populate your yard during winter might not technically be “pets,” one of the best ways to help pets is ensuring the diversity of species that’s critical to a healthy planet to sustain them. We love this recipe!
3Donate to a Local Pet Food Bank
Food banks for animals have grown in popularity in recent years. One of the best ways to help pets is to organize a one-day neighborhood food drive or partner with a local business to gather supplies that will help both people and their furry friends survive through hard times.
4Run With Your Dog to Raise Funds
Dog-friendly Jingle Bell Run events happen during December, but why not make it an everyday thing. ResQwalk is an app that lets you raise money and resources for your favorite animal welfare organization, and all you have to do is walk!
5Be a Pet’s Favorite Auntie
While many pets are just fine being boarded, how much better for them to stay at home while their folks are away. Offer your services for a day, a few days or longer and be rewarded with wags and kisses. Here are tips to get you started.
6Glam-Up a Shelter Pet
Animal shelters and rescue groups do their best to keep pets in their care clean and tidy… but they could use a little help. A groomed pet is more likely to be adopted. One of our favorite ways to help pets is to volunteer a day of bathing and brushing. Better yet, see if your local groomer might want to join in. They often volunteer their services to groom pets in need.
7Craft for a Cause
Organize a craft night or take a day and upcycle some of your used clothing to make a blanket or sweater for a shelter animal who needs comfort and care. Here is a great tutorial. More? Make curtains to provide shelter cats with some stress-reducing privacy.
8Stock the Car with Supplies for Homeless Animals
While preferable, it’s not always possible to capture a homeless animal. Having basics such as food, water and bedding in your car to offer an animal in need can be the difference between life or death. Take a day to pack up a box of supplies to have at the ready.
9Plan Year-End Charitable Giving
Now is a great time to factor end-of-year charitable donations to benefit an animal shelter or rescue organization or other group that supports the welfare of animals. Sustained funding is one of the best ways to help pets. Here’s a tool to help you decide to which to give.
10Offer to Drive Shelter Pets
Staff at your local shelter or rescue are likely swamped with the basics of caring for animals. Offer to transport a pet to a vet appointment or to another rescue group that has room or even to a new adopting family who lives out of the area. And be sure to pack treats!
11Use Your Special Skills
Donate your specialized skills to support your local animal shelter or rescue. From accounting and legal services to creative communications, there is a role for everyone. Need inspiration? This couple are professional photographers who volunteer their skills to take beautiful images of pets up for adoption.
12Donate Your Air Miles to Animal Rescue Groups
Look, you’re probably not going anywhere anytime soon, right? Why not put those thousands of air miles to great use by donating them to an organization that transports animals in need. Here is a round-up of airlines that allow you to transfer air miles.
13Take a Time Out for Play
This one seems easy, but for many of us living in a vortex of stress and work, the thought of taking 20 minutes to just sit on the floor with a pet is guilt-inducing. Don’t go there! Make a play date with your pet today and then make it habit. Need more convincing? Look to the science.
14Foster a Pet Over the Holidays
There are plenty of reasons why a pet needs the temporary safe space of a foster home, but for us, the whys don’t matter. The holidays can be a tough time at a shelter or rescue with fewer regular volunteers. If you can open your home, make a call today and see how you can help. Find tips for fostering dogs and cats.
15Bake and Donate Homemade Pet Treats
Do animals know it’s Christmas? Well, they know something’s up, so why not just go with it and make their season bright with vet-approved homemade goodies you can bake in an afternoon and donate to a shelter or rescue. Cookies, doggy donuts or mini-muffins or any sort of treats for the sweet!
16Plant a Tree in Your Pet’s Name
It’s estimated that we will need to reforest our planet with 1 billion trees to ensure clean water and air, diverse species and full, healthy forests for future generations of people and pets. You can donate in your pet’s name and be part of the solution. Find out more here.
17Walk the Neighbor’s Dog
One of the surest ways to give back that is always appreciated by humans and canines alike during the nutty holiday season, is to grab a leash and walk the neighbor’s dog (with their permission of course!).
18Crowd Fund Your Local Shelter’s Wish List
Most shelters and rescues have a wish list of items that they prioritize above all other material donations. Start a digital campaign using any of the crowd funding apps and raise funds to purchase from their list. Find a shelter or rescue near you to shop their wish list.
19Fan Girl Your Shelter’s Social Media Channels
Help your local shelter, rescue or other animal charity get the word out by giving them a shout out on your social media channels and sharing their good works with your network. Every click counts!
20Sponsor a Individual Shelter Pet
You can make sure that a particular pet currently in a shelter or rescue has everything they need by becoming their sponsor. Every organization’s program is different—find out more here.
21Adopt an Animal Shelter Worker or Rescuer
It’s a labor of love to be sure. Let’s reward these heroes by “adopting” them and lavishing some appreciation and a bit of pampering on them. Have lunch delivered, drop off a gift certificate, or give them the gift of time by taking on tasks such as walking or petting shelter animals. Why not start today? Find a facility near you.
21Set Up A Pet Trust
No, it’s not as fun or romantic as baking cookies for shelter pets, but providing for your pet in case you become incapacitated is one sure way to ensure they do not end up in difficult circumstances. Setting up a pet trust is easy and important.
22Connect With Your Local (Human) Food Bank
As we mentioned there are food banks for pets, but many pet parents will go to regular food banks as well as meal centers and pantries with their beloved pets in tow. Help make sure pets get the food they need by donating canned or bagged foods. Check with your local organization to get details.
23Get Into the Business of Doing Good
If you are a business owner, consider donating a percentage of each product sold on a given day to an animal support organization. Ask local businesses to be part of a one day event. It all adds up!
24Read to Shelter Pets
It’s a fact that pets groove on being read to despite likely not knowing what you are talking about. Reading to animals reduces stress and promotes a sense of connection and well-being. What to read? Try this original holiday poem we wrote just for you (and them).
25Give an Animal a Forever Home
If you have the time, circumstances and resources to make adoption a success, you can change the life of homeless pet in need. While it is tempting to bring a new pet into the family at the holiday, many experts advise waiting until after when things are less overwhelming. A video of the new family member might be a better idea. Nearly 1 million pets in the US went to their forever homes in 2021. Let’s top that in 2022.
The season of giving is a perfect opportunity to set your intentions for now and for the year ahead. We hope you found this helpful and wish you to tell us what you’re doing to make the lives of pets better and better.