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10 Ways to Be a Shelter Hero If You Can't Adopt

We've all got used to hearing "adopt, don't shop." There are many people out there who foster dogs, giving them homes when they need them the most. But sometimes, for whatever reason, adopting or fostering a dog just isn't an option. Maybe you work weird hours. Maybe your apartment is the size of a shoebox. Maybe you already have a dog that doesn't like to share his couch. Whatever it is, the good news is, you don't have to adopt or foster to be a shelter hero!

Here are ten easy ways you can help dog shelters to keep doing the amazing work they do:

  1. Have a dog food drive. At your kid's school. Their hockey team. Your office. Church. Wherever. Shelters always need good quality dog food, so the more you can collect for them, the easier you make things for them. Try to collect reasonably high quality dry and canned foods. Avoid anything that needs to be refrigerated or frozen though.
  2. Or a vet collection. Shelters always have big vet bills, and it can be tough to stay on top of them. Find out which veterinarian your chosen shelter uses, then collect cash and pay towards their bill, or buy them some credit. They're never NOT going to need money for the vet!
  3. Volunteer your time. Not all shelters are looking for volunteers, but if any are, a few hours of your time can make all the difference. Whether it's cuddles for puppies or bathing dogs, anything you can do to help takes some of the work away from the people who run the shelter.
  4. Collect blankets. Even a pile of gently used blankets can be a big deal to a dog shelter. Dogs tend to be hard on blankets, since they scratch and tear them. But when you're calling a kennel home, every little bit of comfort matters, and your blanket will be appreciated by the dogs and the people that care for them.
  5. Donate a service. Are you great at social media or web design? Do you own a landscaping company? Offer to do their digital marketing or mow the lawn in the summer time. Anything the shelter doesn't have to pay to get done or do themselves is time and money in their "pockets."
  6. Host a charity event. Whether it's a fancy dinner at your home or a puppy party at the dog park, sell tickets to raise funds, and then donate the money to the shelter.
  7. Share their posts. Many shelters are very active on social media, but if their posts don't get exposure, they don't get results. Something as simple as sharing their posts to your network could mean someone else adopts or fosters the dog you can't.
  8. Donate doggy gear. Whether it's leashes or dishes, dogs need a lot of stuff, and shelters are no different. Eventually, things wear out, and donating dog supplies helps take some of the financial burden off the shelter.
  9. Offer to help with repairs. Even mesh and concrete get roughed up when they're facing bouncing doggos every day! If you're handy with a hammer, pliers or a paintbrush, offer to help make some repairs. Even better if you have some materials to donate to the effort!
  10. Say thank you. People who start and run dog shelters often work full time jobs, and then come home to another full time job, keeping these special dogs safe until they can find their furever family. If you can't do anything else, take the time to say thank you. At the end of a very long day, when things are feeling a bit much, it can make all the difference.

Hopefully, one day, we'll get to a point where shelters are no longer necessary. But until that happens, we should all be eternally grateful that these wonderful people and organizations exist, and make a little effort to help them out. It doesn't take much to be a shelter hero. How can you help?


We offer ALL Canadian dog shelters and charities furever free listings on our directory, with all the bells and whistles, and a group on the community. If you're running a shelter, THANK YOU, and please claim your page!


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