We’re kicking off 2013 with a resolution for the year. We’re promising to #ResolveToSolve pet homelessness, and we’re urging animal lovers everywhere to pledge to do the same.  If you have an extra 3 minutes, you can potentially save a homeless pet. If you have an hour, you can do even better! If you have an afternoon – well, you get the point.

Below are 50 ways YOU can help homeless pets right now. They range from easy things you can do in a couple of minutes using social media to hands-on volunteer opportunities that will have you working directly with the pets that need your help. Please use this list as a starting point to brainstorm more ways to help. You can start by telling people about #ResolveToSolve and encouraging them to help, too.

Tweet us your suggestions with the hashtag #ResolveToSolve or post on Adopt-a-Pet.com’s Facebook page with your ideas and progress.

  1. Adopt a pet! It’s a no brainer.
  2. If you are able to temporarily care for a homeless pet until they can find a permanent home, try creating a profile on Rehome for them! The pet will be posted on Adopt-a-Pet.com for millions of potential adopters to see!
  3. Sew, quilt, or crochet? Make blankets for your local animal shelter.
  4. Hold a neighborhood pet food, blanket, or supply drive and ask neighbors to drop off donations.
  5. Thank a shelter volunteer. A little appreciation goes a long way. Your “thank you” could be just the push someone needs to make volunteering a regular part of his or her life.
  6. Foster a litter of puppies. Many pets newly entering shelters come in pregnant. Fostering a little pack gives you the opportunity to not only save one life, but a whole family. Plus, puppies are adorable!
  7. Bottle feed newborn kittens. Newborn kittens need special care. Help them get the attention they deserve by volunteering for feeding times.
  8. Clean kennels. It may the least glamorous way you can help homeless pets this year, but it is also one of the most needed. Keeping kennels clean and hygienic is one of the easiest ways to help keep pets healthy and adoptable.
  9. Train local shelter pets. Been through puppy kindergarten and aced your final exam? Take your skills to your local animal shelter and give shelter dogs a crash course to get some skills to show off to potential adopters.
  10. Walk Dogs. Shelter pets spend most if not all day inside just waiting for some special attention. Give local shelter pets some one-on-one time with a walk outside in the fresh air.
  11. Work an adoption event. Weekend mornings everywhere are synonymous with adoption events in the rescue community. Donate a Saturday or Sunday morning each month to representing your favorite local group by introducing adoptable pets to potential new parents. If you’ve adopted, it is a great way to let people know how life-changing it is.
  12. Crafty with your hands? Donate your carpentry skills to a local shelter or rescue to build catios, climbing posts, dog houses, and more.
  13. Share an adoptable pet on Facebook.  Search on Adopt-a-Pet.com for a pet in your area. On Facebook, post that pet’s photo and a link to his or her profile page and encourage friends to check it out. Help that pet find a forever home!
  14. Twitter a Critter. Conduct an Adopt-a-Pet.com pet search. Click the Tweet button on any pet profile and click send to automatically send out an alert to your followers about that pet along with the #TwitterACritter hash tag. Also, follow us on Twitter!
  15. Bathe and groom shelter pets. When pets come in to shelters, they’re often dirty from wandering out there in the world all alone. Call your local shelter and offer to help the staff bathe intake pets so potential adopters can see their true beauty.
  16. Pet cats and dogs at your shelter. Homeless pets often find it challenging to be in good spirits when they don’t understand where they are or what tomorrow brings. You can soothe the worries these pets understandably feel by giving them some gentle love and affection.
  17. Tell your local rescue or shelter about Adopt-a-Pet.com. Believe it or not, there are some awesome groups out there that still don’t know about our free service. Write, call, email, or print and hand deliver one of our flyers to them to let know how listing on Adopt-a-Pet.com is an easy and free way to help the pets in their care find forever homes.
  18. Amateur (or professional!) photographer? One of the top reasons pets are skipped over by potential adopters is bad photography. Volunteer to visit your local shelter to take flattering photos of available pets.
  19. Donate. Ask any animal rescuer and they will tell you – every dollar counts. Consider skipping your next latte and, instead, donating $5 or $10 to your local animal shelter or rescue group.
  20. Teach your child. Caring for animals and responsible pet ownership starts early. Visit your child’s class and make a presentation to them about pet adoption.
  21. Paint the shelter. A coat of paint can give your local shelter a fresh look and brighten the moods of the animals and the shelter staff. Consider calling your local shelter and donating an afternoon and a few cans of paint for a good cause.
  22. Admin for an afternoon. Animal shelters are often short staffed. Volunteer to answer phones or help with paperwork so shelters can stay organized and help more homeless pets find homes.
  23. Long-Distance Transport. Sometimes the only barrier between a homeless pet and love is distance. You can help by volunteering to transport a shelter pet for one leg of a long-distance journey to an adopter.
  24. Short-Distance Transport. Lend a hand to your favorite rescue group by providing transportation for newly rescued pets to the vet or to adoption events.
  25. Share Adopt-a-Pet.com Facebook posts. With 850 million people using the social network, Facebook is one of the top ways people receive and share information. “Like” us on Facebook and help us spread the word about pet adoption by sharing some of our posts.
  26. Spay or neuter your pet. Solving the problem of pet overpopulation begins at home. Be sure your pets are spayed or neutered to ensure you are not contributing to the issue.
  27. Educate others. The first step to making a change is understanding what we can do and why we should do it. Take a few minutes to educate others about the importance of spaying and neutering and help them locate resources on the topic if needed.
  28. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) feral cats. One of the biggest obstacles in controlling pet overpopulation is the birth of litters of kittens who roam free without a home. By trapping, neutering, and then returning feral cats to their native environment you are helping ensure additional cats aren’t born into homelessness.
  29. Donate gently used collars and leashes. Many of us have old collars and leashes laying around that our pets have outgrown. Gathering these gently used items and donating them to a local shelter or rescue helps the group save funds that can be allocated toward helping the pets in other ways.
  30. Donate cat toys. Shelter cats need more than just food in their bellies and a roof over their heads. They need activity and play to stay happy and healthy. Consider picking up some toys to deliver to your local shelter.
  31. Throw a DIY scratching post party. Invite your feline loving friends over for a fun night of making scratching posts for cats. Encourage everyone to make one for themselves and one for a local shelter. Throw in some snacks and cocktails and make an evening of it!
  32. Support pet-friendly businesses. Whether it is the café down the street that invites guests and their dogs to enjoy their outdoor patio or the apartment management company that opens the door for responsible pet owners, patronize businesses that align with your values. It is one easy way to encourage pet-friendly policies.
  33. Lead by example. Be a model for responsible pet ownership by training your own pet to be a good canine or feline citizen and show those who are apprehensive how great pet ownership is.
  34. Hold a tag sale.  With spring cleaning right around the corner, organize a yard sale and donate the proceeds to your local animal shelter or rescue.
  35. Build fences and dog houses.  It breaks our hearts to see dogs chained up and living their lives in a back yard. Help brighten these dogs’ lives and help them avoid the shelter by lending a hand to build fences and dog houses for them.
  36. Join the Adopt-a-Pet.com volunteer database. Sign up on Adopt-a-Pet.com as a volunteer and you’ll automatically be matched with shelters and rescues near you that need your help.
  37. Fundraise with a bake sale. Work with your neighborhood school or your child’s PTO to organize a bake sale to benefit homeless pets in your community. This is a great way to educate children on the topic, create community buzz around available pets, and help provide funding to the animal organizations that need it most.
  38. Have a website or blog? Visit our search tools section and add an Adopt-a-Pet.com search banner to your site to give your audience the chance to connect with adoptable pets near them.  If your website is a business site, this also shows your customers you care about a cause they may care about, too.
  39. Reach out to your favorite blogs and websites ask them to post a pet search widget in the sidebar of their sites. Adopt-a-Pet.com search widgets are customizable so webmasters can easily create a search box that works perfectly with their site. Search tools can be found here.
  40. Talk to your employer about setting up a collection jar for a local animal shelter or rescue and ask them to consider matching employee donations. This is also a great way to foster team spirit and give employees a good feeling about the company they work for!
  41. Create a wish list scavenger hunt. Contact your local shelter or rescue and ask for a wish list of items they currently need. Organize your family or friends into small teams to see who can collect all of the items first.
  42. Contact your local grocer or pet supply store and ask if they would be willing to donate ripped bags of pet food which you can then collect monthly to deliver to shelters in the area.
  43. Ask your local retirement community or church group if they would be willing to sew pet beds out of donated blankets and towels to donate to shelters.
  44. Call your local shelter and ask if you can bake dog cookies and deliver them.
  45. Find a low-cost spay neuter program near you and distribute their flyers in low-income neighborhoods. Often, folks simply aren’t aware of programs that can help them.
  46. Call local radio stations and ask if they can mention area adoption events on-air to help publicize them to potential adopters. Or contact your local news affiliate and inquire about starting a weekly segment featuring an adoptable pet.
  47. Foster. Help shelters and rescues make room for new pets by inviting a homeless cat or dog to stay with you for a few days or weeks and help them get adopted.
  48. Give the gift of adoption. When giving gifts to those considering acquiring a pet, help them choose adoption by purchasing an adoption gift certificate to your local shelter. When they are ready to make the leap, they can pick whichever pet they most connect to.
  49. Sponsor a local youth sports team in the name of your favorite animal rescue. This will help draw attention to the idea of adoption to families that may be considering bringing a pet into their home.
  50. Host a fundraiser. Partner with a local restaurant to plan and host a fundraiser for a local animal non-profit.