Every now and then I use this column to point out the heroes of the companion animal world. There are so many hard working people out there; rescue organizations, shelters, dog park committees, service dog trainers, spay/neuter initiatives, organizations working with feral populations, the list goes on and on.
Watching my facebook and twitter feeds explode with stories of animals saved during the hurricane Harvey, and closer to home the animals affected by the wildfires here in Manitoba, it is truly inspiring what lengths good hearted people will go to for our pets.
One of the hardest things in my job is deciding where to send the limited charitable donations we can make. We get asked every day for donations, and would love to fulfill every request, but its just not possible. So, sometimes I try to use this column to help out causes. They may not be flood or wildfire relief, but to the affected animals, they can be just as important.
Probably the thing requested most are for donations for fundraisers. So we try to help where we can. Some food, toys, chews or treats to put together in a basket is the most popular request, and we try to encourage our suppliers to pitch in as well. We occasionally get given samples or end of run items at a reduced cost so our charitable dollar stretches further.
Awareness of events is another way we can help. If your group has an event, we'd be happy to share the information, in store or on our website/facebook. Most shops offer this opportunity, just ask.
A very interesting trend I've noticed lately is people in University or College spearheading fundraisers for rescues as part of their schooling. With resources not usually available to volunteer organizations, these events can have a very professional feel to them. Its great education for the students, and a great boon to the charity. After the event, the rescue may not have those volunteers as they may move on, but they leave behind the resources that were developed that they can re-use for future events.
What can an individual do to help? Where do I start?
Do you have a space in your home to give temporary shelter to an in need pet? Many rescues don't have a brick and mortar facility, and rely on satellite spaces. Careful, though, sometimes a temporary home can turn into a permanent one, so be ready for that possibility.
Time is always something these organizations are short on. Whether it is time spent searching for a lost animal, walking dogs in a shelter, manning booths at events or the hundreds of other thankless jobs that need to be done, time is always a great donation.
Money. The grease that keeps the wheels going. For those items a charity has a hard time getting donated, money is always a welcome gift. Some prefer to buy items on the "most needed" list with their money, so they know exactly what their money was spent on, but either way, if you have cash, there is a way to put it to use.
Unfortunately, our charitable efforts are often linked to disasters. Many of us need to work on budgeting our time for when the world isn't crashing down. Which can make the time both rewarding and fun.