Whoa! The holidays came in hot didn’t they?!! I mean what happened to this last year? So surreal. I know that covid has had a significant impact on how we can help animal shelters. Here are 5 ideas to try. Contact your shelter to ask first though.
Simple idea: Do something small to help your shelter this season
Gifts, food, parties… they all kind of take over at this time. But I also love how this time of year has our hearts in a giving mood. If you’re like me, you’re feeling cozy in the cooler weather. You want to cuddle your loved ones more. And you want to sit on the couch and sip hot cocoa while shopping on your favorite app.
But one of my favorite things about the holidays… that programs to give back tend to abound right now too. There are so many toy and food drives. And there’s nothing better than a snowy evening trip to the store with a Salvation Army volunteer ringing a bell out front and taking donations in the big red pot. (Obviously that’s a nostalgic memory. I’ve never seen a drop of snow here in LA!)
So how can we help animal shelters this season?
I don’t think the gesture needs to be huge. There are tons of quick things that make a difference. Here are my favorites. Please pick your favorite idea and contact your local shelter first (to make sure they can use this item as a donation before you do it).
1. Charity Gift Cards
This is the quickest option. If you don’t have much time, and you do have some cash to spare, this may be for you. Your money really does make a difference. When it comes down to it, animal shelters ultimately need money to deliver on their mission. Your donations make it happen.
You can simply send an online donation. But… I have an idea for involving the kids and spicing it up a bit: CHOOSE YOUR CHARITY GIFT CARDS.
A fun way to involve kids in giving to animals is by placing a charity gift card in their stocking. The child then chooses the charity that receives the card. It’s a great way to bring in giving while they’re pulling other goodies out.
You can do this as a crafty little project yourself (link to my free printable gift card). You just print, glue, stuff (into the stocking), and then make the donation after the holidays to the charity the child chooses. If you don’t have the time, or a local shelter or rescue to support, you can always contribute to the big ones with TisBest Philanthropy.
TisBest Philanthropy gift cards do this same thing in a non-DIY way. You purchase the card as a gift, and the person receiving the card chooses where it is donated (from a predetermined list of charities). They ask for an extra donation to TisBest at checkout, but you can remove that in the cart if you want. Link to TisBest Animal Charities
So give your favorite charity a wink this season and donate. You get to write it off on your taxes for the year. And you get to introduce the idea of donating to the children in your life. So why not squeeze it in? ;-)
2. Donate Supplies
Donate supplies – check with your local animal shelters or refuge first. It’s important to understand what they can actually use. If you want to do a pre-holiday (or post holiday may be easier) minimalizing session in your house, you may find some things the animals would really love too. Here are some ideas:
- towels (gently used ok)
- blankets (gently used ok)
- leash, collar, and/or harness (gently used ok)
- pet beds
- microwavable heating pad
- new sweaters or rain coats
- dog toys (used ok, but in good condition)
- dry or wet food
- stainless steel pet bowls
- cat litter
- carriers or pop up cages
- unopened flea and tick medicine
- new cat tower
3. Make Dog Treats
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love to make dog treats with Miya and Bauer to donate to our local animal shelter. It’s a fairly simple thing to do, and they get excited about forming the gooey dough into treats.
I’m a big fan of baking Christmas cookies together too, so this is a fun little add for the pups to benefit from holiday baking as well. Sweets are like my favorite thing ever! So it’s a really nice way to shift the kids’ time and energy into making something (and away from what presents they’re getting ;-).
You can find the recipe we use here (again make sure that your local shelter or rescue will accept these): Link to Easy Dog Treat Recipe
4. Make Pet Beds
Making pet beds is a bit more involved, but it can still go fairly quickly. It took us about an hour to make a non sew fleece version with the kids. If you make them on your own, I think you could knock out 2-3 while watching a holiday movie.
As with the other items, please check with your local animal shelters to make sure this is actually useful for them. If it is, then go for it. And share your experience and photos! I’d love to see if this is something you enjoy doing.
You can find directions for making a bed to donate here: How to Make a Comfy No Sew Dog Bed.
Note: We did not add filling material to our beds. In my experience, many dogs tear the beds apart quickly in the shelter, to get to that filling. It’s not as fluffy and cushy, but I think it’s more practical to have just the two fabric layers attached to each other without filling in the middle.
5. Make Toys
There are a variety of things you can do here, using spare material or socks. There are even some items that just use things laying around the house. Again, check with your shelter / rescue group to see what’s most useful for them.
Let me know if this is helpful! And please share if you do any of them. If you snap photos, I would SOOO love to see them! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook @ForAnimalsForEarth. I think if we all do one little thing this year to help our local shelter, it will add up to a ton of love for the animals this season. ..xx