Becoming a dog mom can very easily change how you look at not just your own four-legged friend, but all the pooches out there. The plight of dogs who don’t have a loving home can hit you hard and you might want to do something about it.
You might not be able to change the world and instantly rehome every dog, but there is something that we can all do. Here are some of the ways you can help and support the dogs that need it most.
Think about adopting
If you have room for a dog in your life or you’re already looking for another one, then you shouldn’t immediately think about buying them. There are plenty of reasons to adopt as shown here in an article from the Humane Society.
In particular, because 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year for the simple reason that a home can’t be found for them. In comparison, dogs for sale from kennels and pet stores almost always find a new home.
Let’s not forget the fact that you’re spending a lot less to welcome a new furry friend to your home. There’s a lot more love needed for mutts, in particular, who often aren’t as popular because many people tend to have a breed or a few breeds that they prefer.
Having pets in the home is even beneficial to your children.
Fostering works, too
If you don’t want a new permanent member of the family but you want to help dogs find a comfortable place to sleep, eat, and be taken care of, then there are other options. Dog fostering is just as it sounds.
You can welcome a dog to the home temporarily, taking care of it when the local shelters are overcrowded. It’s a way of taking care of some of the costs that shelters have to deal with regularly, and it could be the only thing between the dogs you take in and being euthanized. When the pet shelter has room for them once again, you give them back and give them another chance of finding a forever home.
If fostering has ever been on your mind, I highly encourage you to pick up the book Another Good Dog by Cara Sue Achterberg. This book is Cara’s memoirs of how she started in the fostering system and her first 50 foster dogs.
If you do buy, then be careful about where you do it
If you prefer to buy a dog, then you have every right to do so. Just do your research. There are many good and responsible breeders out there. However, you should be aware of where you’re buying it from. Puppy mills, also known as puppy farms, are a huge concern.
These are places that prioritize breeding and selling as many puppies as possible without any concern for the wellbeing or living conditions of the dogs under their care. Sites like Rover can help you spot these harmful businesses and make sure that you stay well away from them.
Unfortunately, puppy mills are not strictly illegal in many states, so you might not be able to report them, but you can least ensure you don’t support them. Remember, puppy mills are a bigger problem than the health of an individual dog.
Even if you have bought or know someone who bought a perfectly healthy and happy dog from the mill, by supporting them, you support the living conditions that mean that many of the other dogs there won’t have a chance at a similar life.
Spend time at the shelter
Besides lacking the money and resources that they need; many dog shelters also lack the human help that they need, too. You can help by walking dogs, feeding them, or otherwise taking care of them. You can also volunteer in other ways, such as by designing a website or running their social media page if you have the right skills.
Support companies that do good for dogs
The huge market of dog owners is full of people who want to do what they can to help pooches in need. As a result, there are several companies selling products for dogs and owners that run campaigns designed to contribute to the problem.
Check out companies like K9 Sportsack, who donate to dog shelters for every purchase of their doggy backpacks.
Also, my favorite brand ever, Dog is Good. They give back in some many ways. They help homeless veterans, service animals, and much more.
Whether it’s food, toys, new leads, or something else, you are likely to find companies that support shelters providing what you need. Start switching to brands that genuinely do good for dogs. That’s one way to play a smaller role in a much bigger effort that could achieve more than you might be able to, personally.
Sharing is caring
The digital world is making big waves in the efforts of dog shelters and non-profits, too. Social media, in particular, is helping more dogs get adopted than ever before. This is simply because it’s much easier to spread the word on those platforms than in person.
You may very well know friends and family members looking for a dog, unaware of how easy and beneficial it is to adopt. By following your local shelters and their social media accounts, you could end up sharing the post that helps a dog find a home.
Word-of-mouth is just as good in the real world, too. Be an ambassador for all puppers to help dogs who need it most by recommending that your friends and family adopt rather than buy.
Every little bit helps
If there is any way that you can help your local shelter, then it’s worth doing it. Shelters take direct donations, but if you don’t have the cash to spare, don’t worry about it. Your local shelter likely has a wish list of all kind of items they’re in need of, including food and water bowls, toys, leashes, collars, grooming tools, and pet beds.
They also need household items like cleaning supplies, old newspapers, towels, and blankets. Whatever you have to spare, it’s worth asking if they will take it off your hands. Just make sure that they are in relatively good condition or lightly used. No-one needs a leash that’s broken, after all.
Don’t feel guilty if there’s anything in the list above that you’re not comfortable with doing or able to do. There’s a variety of ways to help and whatever you can contribute counts. If your actions help even one dog live a safe and comfortable life, then it’s totally worth it.