The Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP) is encouraging potential donors to help in any way they can.
"Holidays can be a particularly difficult time for pet shelters and rescues. The economic and social stress of the holidays often leads to an increase in abandoned and surrendered animals. This kind of increase is a burden for everyone who works in the shelter and for the community, but mostly has an impact on the animals themselves," said HSSP Director Diana Culp. "Caring for all these homeless pets requires a significant amount of both time and money -- things that are often in short supply, especially around the holidays."
If you want to help pets this holiday season HSSP offers the following suggestions:
- If you are struggling to find a gift for your family's pet lover consider donating to your local shelter in their name. While big, national organizations grab the headlines and inundate the airwaves this time of year with pleas for support, the truth is that you'll get far more bang for your charitable buck by giving locally. National organizations like the Humane Society of the United States aren't affiliated with local pet shelters, and very little of their money goes to help homeless pets, or the local groups that care for them.National groups can also spend a sleigh-load of donor money on overhead costs. The American Institute of Philanthropy calculates that the Humane Society of the United States spends up to 50 percent of its budget on overhead, while the ASPCA spends as little as 57 percent of its budget on programs.
- If you can't spare a donation, bringing a wayward dog or cat home for the holidays -- either by adopting or providing a temporary foster home -- is a wonderful way to spread the holiday spirit.
- Volunteering is another great way to give back. Most shelters are happy to train volunteers to do everything from walking dogs and visiting with cats to answering phones, giving tours, selling licenses, and a host of other duties. Volunteering can also help you take care of that impending New Year's resolution to get in shape by providing an endless supply of energetic pups just begging to get out for a walk, hike, or jog.