Our friends over at Petcentric.com have some great ideas of ways you can help animals in need over the holidays! The holiday season can be a wonderful time when we all come together with family and friends, and focus on fellowship and service to others including  abandoned animals in our communities. Many people take vacation around the holidays leaving animal shelters and rescue facilities understaffed. This is a wonderful time to volunteer your labor and skills to help animals in need. While you might not have the time the rest of the year, you can ask your local shelter if they need help with feeding, exercising or cleaning kennels — especially on the holiday days. If you have a large vehicle like an SUV or van, you might even be able to assist in the transport of animals. If the shelter is closed to the public or requires you be a trained volunteer to help on-site, you can offer to launder bedding, make fundraising calls, or organize adoption events at local businesses.

Photos & Videos. Animal shelters are often in need of a lot of professional services that they cannot afford to pay for. If you have experience photographing animals or making family videos, you can offer your one-time (or more!) service to photograph their animals for listing on adoption websites and promotional materials. Off-site adoption events are a great place to do this, as the shelter will have arranged for staff and volunteers to handle the pets, and you can focus on photographing and videoing them.

You can register on Adopt-a-Pet.com as a volunteer to be contacted by your local rescue, or search Volunteer Opportunities posted by your local shelters and rescues here:

Donate Items or Cash.  Shelters and non-profit rescues are always in need of donations, both of money and essential items. Cash is always welcome and helpful! You can see if your local shelters and rescue have included a link to their donation page or Paypal by searching for them on Adopt-a-Pet.com here: www.adoptapet.com/animal-shelters –click on the shelter name, then look on the right for their “Donate to our Shelter” or “Donate to our Rescue Group” link, or their website link.

Donations of both new and used items are also often appreciated. Ask your shelter if they have a wish list. Shelters often can use donated food and treats, used kennels or crates that you no longer need, newspapers, old blankets, sheets, towels, and washable dog beds.

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