So why is April a good month for animals? It’s National Volunteer Month and it’s National Animal Abuse Prevention Month! For those of us who love animals, April is the perfect time show how much we care before the busyness of summer arrives. This is the time when far too many unsterilized stray animals are busy creating offspring; it is the time that shelters begin to fill up and foster homes are filled with pregnant moms and newborn babies; and it is the time that shelter staff and volunteers begin to stress about what are we going to do with all of these pets?
There are some simple things that you can do to help lessen the stress at shelters, to help abused animals get to safety, and to help more pets find loving homes.
- Volunteer your time! Ask your local animal shelter or animal rescue organization how you can help. They may need help directly in caring for the animals (feeding, cleaning, walking, brushing, socializing); or they may need help off-site, such as with website design, answering emails, blogging/social media updates, fundraising, marketing, transporting, and any other creative endeavor you can come up with to benefit abused, neglected and homeless animals. Everyone has a talent and you can find a way to use that talent to benefit animals.
- Open your home and heart to house an abused, neglected or shelter pet that needs a little extra care and attention. While many people feel like they would get too emotionally attached to their foster pets and would end up keeping them (and that does happen), it is also so wonderfully sweet when you can help an animal trust people again, start eating after being neglected or ill, or to have a safe environment to give birth and nurse babies. I have fostered almost 150 cats over the past 12 years (and never kept one) and while it is bittersweet watching them go to their new home, I love getting emails, photos and letters from my foster cats showing how much they are loved. There is no better reward than knowing that you saved a life!
- Offer to sponsor a shelter animal for the month by donating money for their care.
- Offer to donate items to your local animal shelter or rescue organization. Spring is a time to clean your house and closets. So donate old and clean linens, towels, blankets, or anything soft that a pet can lay on; round up paper towel or toilet paper cardboard rings and donate them as toys; take old socks and fill them with catnip; donate old tennis balls; purchase a little extra pet food when you’re shopping for your pet, or some laundry detergent.
- Be proactive! If you see a pet who is being abused or neglected, call the authorities in your community who can help. Be a good neighbor and watch out for pets who may be in jeopardy or who have been abandoned.
Are you willing to pledge doing just one thing to help an abused, neglected or homeless animal this month? If so, please post a comment on my website, Facebook or Twitter pages stating what you will do to help by Saturday, April 7th. I will then randomly draw out one person from those who post and send you a free autographed copy of Defending the Defenseless!
For a more extensive listing of how you can help, grab a copy of my book Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets (available on my website, Amazon or Barnes & Noble). It is chock full of ideas in each chapter on how you can help, from small tasks to more involved efforts.
If everyone who loves animals simply does one thing this month, it will have a ripple effect and greatly benefit animals. Happy April!