I recently came back from a press trip with Rachael Ray Nutrish for Pets. This year, we traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to tour the city and to help by donating some time at the Western PA Humane Society.
My afternoon spent there really opened my eyes to helping out in times of need — and I discovered 5 things that I am not doing now that I plan on doing from here on out that will help my local animal shelter.
We arrived that day and I honestly had no idea what I was going to run into once we walked through the doors. You see the pictures on television of the malnourished and unhappy dogs and cats that are brought in every day. But what I saw just literally blessed my heart beyond measure.
None of the dogs or cats looked sad at all. They were up smiling and wagging tales. The kittens and cats were purring or playing with toys — and they all seemed at peace.
We went into a room where they gave us the history of the Western PA Humane Society and told us all about the kind of animals that get taken in. You will be amazed to know that not only do they take in cats and dogs, but they also take in bunnies and exotic animals like snakes, alligators, lizards — and others.
We began walking through the facility for our tour and it was during this tour that I discovered 5 ways that I can help my local animal shelter. I really paid attention to everything they were talking about and it honestly blessed my heart beyond measure to learn these things.
5 Ways I Plan on Helping Out My Local Animal Shelter
1. Volunteer My Time
Volunteering at a local animal shelter can be done in a variety of different ways. One of the best ways is by being a petting volunteer. What that means, is that each day you come in and spend time rubbing and talking to the animals. I actually chatted for a bit with one of the volunteers there and she said she had been doing this for about a year.
I asked her how it made her feel and she said it was the best therapy she could ever give herself. She told me, “You can walk in here having a bad day and within minutes of petting the cats and dogs, all the crap from that day that might have happened to you will instantly wash away. Being a volunteer that comes in here and spends time loving on the fur babies is everything to me.”
Can you also imagine how much it would mean to a cat or a dog who comes in scared?
Other ways to volunteer your time might be cleaning the facility, walking the animals, or even transporting them to certain areas in the city. The options are endless. Call your local shelter or rescue group to find out how you can best help out.
While in Pittsburgh, my friends from Nutrish and I spent a morning taking some of the dogs, from the Western PA Humane Society, out for a walk.
I was paired up with Tigger who was FULL of energy and ready for a morning stroll. He was honestly the cutest and most loveable guy I had ever seen.
If you want to go and spend some time volunteering and you have kids, be sure and check first because your local shelter may not allow younger kids to volunteer because of insurance purposes. So, be sure to call ahead to check on age requirements first.
2. Become a Foster Home
Many of the Humane Societies are over run with animals– especially cats. In fact, the Western PA Humane Society told us that at one time they had over 200 cats in their facility. That is a lot of felines! So they rely on people to foster animals in their home until they can be adopted.
Being in a shelter can be extremely stressful for some animals. Providing a foster home to these pets can help ease a lot of stress.
3. Donations are SUPER Important
Animal shelters and rescues are often in need of supplies like pet food, litter, blankets, newspapers and many other things. Items like leashes and collars are also needed so be sure and call your local rescue or shelter and find out what they need the most.
We have SO many bags of Nutrish for Pets food laying around that Kayla and I are boxing up some supplies this weekend and will be delivering them to our local humane society.
If you want to do something really fun, why not host a Puppy party at your house? Invite your friends over for a playdate and maybe make some treats to sell and then you and your kids can donate the money to the shelter.
Donations of all kinds are always needed!
4. Spread the Word Online
I have the coolest story ever to share with you about the importance of sharing online. I follow two different Humane societies online — one from my old hometown and the town I live in now.
Recently they posted a photo of a 3 year old basset hound who had been surrendered because the family was moving to a home where pets were not allowed. Honestly, my heart broke into a billion pieces. I am not going to lie. In my mind I was thinking — how can I go and get this dog and make Stephen be okay with it?
I decided to share the photo as well as a couple of other people I know and ask anyone who was needing a dog to please consider taking Elvis in. I did my part by sharing and the rest was left up to the Internet.
A couple of days later, a lady that I grew up with and went to school with posted a photo online online and the caption made me leap for joy!
Welcome to our newest member of the family — Elvis!
I was over the moon excited to see that Elvis had been adopted by a sweet and loving family. I don't know if my sharing made any difference or not, but spreading the word about a dog or cat that needs love definitely improves the chance of them being adopted.
5. Adopt from a Shelter and NEVER Buy From a Breeder
Instead of buying animals from pet stores and breeders, be sure to always adopt animals from local shelters.
Many thanks to Rachael Ray Nutrish for hosting me in Pittsburgh, and for supporting my little place in the world. Tucker, Mittens and our family are huge Nutrish pet food supporters, and will always help spread the word about the amazing work being done for animals in need through Rachael’s Rescue®.
A portion of Nutrish proceeds go to Rachael’s Rescue®, which was created to help animals in need. To date, over $14MM has been donated. This money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these unfortunate animals.
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