Become a Homeless Dog Hero

As the holidays near, we hustle to buy gifts for our friends and family, we run from party to party and wrap our gifts at the 11th hour. This time our year is such a great opportunity to celebrate and spend time with the people and the pets we love. However, for thousands of homeless animals at shelters and in foster homes, it’s just another day, week or month that they wait for a family to call their own. This holiday season, you can make a difference with homeless animals; we’ll show you how.

Sponsor a Dog
Your local shelter and rescue group is always appreciative of a donation. You can sponsor a dog and pay for their care while they are at the shelter or in rescue. What a great gift!*

Blanket, Toy and Food Drives
Also many shelters and rescue groups during this time of year welcome donations for the animals in their care. Blankets, and hard rubber toys, like Kong toys and hard chew toys like sterile bones are great for the dogs. Visit you local shelter’s website and view their wish list. You can also host a blanket/toy drive at your place of business or drop off donations at the shelter.*

There’s nothing like hands-on helping the animals. Rescue groups can always use help handling dogs at adoption events and many shelters are always looking for volunteers to walk dogs, and socialize cats and critters. If you will be in town during the holidays, consider donating a few hours of your time to spread the love and socialize the animals at your local shelter. This is the best gift to give to an already overworked shelter staff! If you’re interested in volunteering, contact you local shelter or rescue group and ask how you can help.*

If you have dog experience and are willing to be part of the journey to find that forever home, please consider being a foster parent. Many rescue groups rely on a network of dedicated foster parents to help provide temporary homes for their dogs. Additionally, the stress of living at an animal shelter, can aversely affect many sensitive dogs. Foster homes allow many dogs to flourish and relax. Besides, fostering can be a great way to see if you’d like to have another dog or even a first!*

Shopping for your pooch?
Did you know that many shelters have gift shops on site for supplies for dogs, cats and critters? Please consider visiting your local shelter to buy a gift for your own companion! Some online boutiques also donate a portion of their sales to support rescue.

Fun for the Holidays!
And while you out shopping, there are shelters and groups like GoodDogz.org that sponsor the popular Pet Photos with Santa. So come on out, get a great picture and your donation will go directly to helping more homeless dogs.

Looking for a companion?
Lastly, if you’re considering getting a puppy or a dog…Adopt! Shelters and rescues are full of wonderful adoptable animals that are just waiting to spend the holidays with a family to call their own. Give a dog a first or second chance at the life they all deserve.

*Please visit www.petfinder.com for local and regional listings of adoptable dogs.

by Leigh Siegfried

Leigh Siegfried is the owner of Opportunity Barks Animal Behavior & Training, offering private lessons and behavior consultations in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. Have a training question or want more information? Visit www.opbarks.com!