Be Kind to Animals Week continues. Here are some things you might do to help your animal friends.

Animal shelters all over the country are, and sad to say almost always, at full capacity. Most are running on a limited budget and rely heavily on donations. If you take the time to make a visit to a shelter you can't help but want to do something for those animals in need. Some shelter needs are obvious, some are not. Helping may not be as hard as you think.

  1. Old blankets. They can be cut up to use in cages with smaller animals or left whole for the larger animals. All dogs and cats love things to lie on. People often throw these away, but shelters love them. Check yard sales, too. Often, people sell them very cheap.

  2. Food. Dog food, cat food, or any other kind of animal food for the type of animals your shelter takes in. When the budget is stretched food is needed badly. Both dry and canned food can be used. When a dog or cat is full it helps them get through a scary situation. Mother's milk replacements are available in many pet stores.

  3. Treats. Dogs and cats love to get a treat but often these items are cut back when the budget at shelters is tight, and that is almost all the time. Treats are often on sale at stores and can be purchased at a very reasonable price. All kinds are appreciated. Raw hides are a great treat for dogs!

  4. Towels. When towels wear out give them a new life at your animal shelter. They love to get clean towels and the animals don’t care if they are worn or have holes in them! Animals are often brought in cold and wet and towels are needed. Sometimes, they just want something to lie on. Towels are very versatile. They can be used as blankets, be used to dry a wet animal, or be used to clean messes the animals make at the shelter.

  5. Place-mats. Tired of your place-mats? Cats love to lay on them and the vinyl ones can be used under food dishes. Cloth ones can be used as small bedding. They don't care if they are worn or stained.

  6. Toys. Often animals alone in a cage want something to play with. Who wouldn’t? Check with your shelter and see what kind they are in need of. Most shelters take toys but some do not. Toys wear out very fast and need to be replaced often. Again, as with treats, toys are one of the first items to be cut when money is tight. Squeaky toys, stuffed animals and even balls are favorites.

  7. Food dishes. Animal shelters go through many dishes on a regular basis. They get worn out, pushed around, and broken. New ones are also something that isn't expensive to give.

  8. Litter and Litter Boxes. Most shelters have lots of cats and change litter often. They can always use more litter. Litter boxes are useful because they are always getting in more cats and kittens.

  9. Cat or Dog beds. If you have them, if you see them on sale, or if you know someone getting rid of theirs the shelter desperately needs them. Comfort of the animals is important. They provide a warm, soft place to sleep and relax.

  10. Leashes and Collars. Shelters use them to walk animals, and sometimes give them away with adoptions. They aren't very expensive, but when you go through so many, the cost adds up for the shelters. All sizes are needed and used.

  11. Laundry detergent. Towels, blankets, and other items need to be washed. Laundry detergent comes out of the shelter's budget. Fabric softener is also welcome!

  12. Grooming items. Animals need to be bathed, brushed, and taken care of. Items to help groom them are needed. Brushes, combs, shampoos, even animal nail clippers are useful items.

  13. Newspaper. Newspapers can line the bottoms of cages for puppies and kittens. Just save your papers and drop them off at your local shelter.

  14. Time. Do you have some spare time that you can donate to go and walk animals, or play with them? Can you help care for, or feed them. You can also volunteer to foster an animal that desperately needs it. Shelters are overcrowded and the staff is in need of help. Most shelters love to have volunteers. When the staff is busy running the shelter the animals may go without the attention they need and want. If you have the time you can make a big difference for the improvement in the quality of a cat or dogs life. Even a few hours a week can be a big help to your local shelter. We all wonder how we can make a positive difference in this world. Here is your opportunity. The shelter and the animals will be grateful.

  15. Cash. Every shelter could use cash donations. Every single dollar helps. They help stretch the shelter's budget. In most situations, these donations are tax deductible.

Contact your local shelter. They may need things that aren't listed here. Shelters that take in other animals may have special needs that you maybe able to help out with. Your local shelter will be happy to let you know what they need. It takes very little to make a difference in the lives of animals. It also just might make a difference in yours!


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