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5 Creative ways to help animals if you can’t adopt

As anyone who enters an animal shelter knows, it’s hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position to adopt. Perhaps your kids are allergic. Maybe your landlord doesn’t allow pets. Or you might just not have the space or finances to add another furry member to your family. Don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to help out cats and dogs in need without bringing them home.

1. Volunteer

There are plenty of tasks shelters need assistance with. Whether it’s cleaning cages, walking dogs or just answering phones, any contribution you make will likely be greatly appreciated. It’s a great way to spend time with cats and dogs in need of socialization without making the full-time commitment of pet ownership. It’s always best to call ahead or check online to see what kind of help is most needed. Sometimes shelters have planned training seminars and orientation schedules for new volunteers, too.

More: 6 Pets perfect for small children

2. Donate

Shelters are often hurting for supplies — not just pet food and toys but towels, bedding and cleaning supplies as well. Chances are you probably have some old bed sheets or extra paper towels to spare. Not only will you help out animals in need, but it’s a great opportunity to clean out your linen closet, too. As always, call ahead to see what items or brands are preferred. Sometimes abrupt switches in pet food can cause dietary issues, so make sure you stick to what’s requested.

3. Transport

Many shelters often lack on-site veterinarians, which means lots of trips to animal hospitals are needed for checkups, shots and surgeries. Offer to transport animals after work or on weekends to help free up time for employees who are needed at the shelter. It’s an easy way to help maintain the many health needs of diverse pet populations, especially as new cats and dogs continue to enter the shelter.

More: What exotic animals can you legally have as a pet?

4. Social media assistance

The internet loves adorable cat pics. Why not contribute to the cute overload by sharing posts and photos from your local shelter? Especially when one click can help find a home for Fluffy or Fido. The Twitter a Critter app makes it easier than ever to spread the word about cats and dogs up for adoption. In three easy steps, you can share photos and profiles of animals in your neighborhood. You may not be their forever home, but you can help them find one.

More: 11 Reason you should consider getting a rat for a pet

5. Fund-raising

There are so many ways to raise money for your favorite shelters. Bake sales at school, raffles at holiday parties or tip jars at local businesses are just some of the ways you can fund-raise. Chances are you’re already attending these events as it is, so it’s especially easy to use the opportunity to collect a few bucks for pets in need. Plus it’s a great way to get the entire community involved. You can even send thank-you notes to donors with photos of the animals they’ve helped so they can see their donations in action.

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