Over the Christmas period, real life becomes suspended for a lot of people with time off, family visits and of course, the presents, food and celebrations of the season.
However, people who work for and volunteer with dog rehoming centres and shelters can’t take a day off like everyone else – the dogs still need to be fed, walked and cared for, just as they do on every other day of the year!
Additionally, many rehoming centres will not allow dogs to go to new homes during December, in order to avoid supporting the giving of pets as presents, and the potential January remorse-as well as of course, avoiding the added stress of rehoming a dog at what is often a time of upheaval in many homes. If you own a dog or even if you don’t but care about our four legged pals, there are a lot of different ways in which you can support rehoming centres over the Christmas period, which is often one of their most hectic and thinly stretched times of the year.
Why do charities need extra support at Christmas?
Dog charities and rehoming centres are always in need of support, both financial and practical throughout the year-but in December and into the start of the New Year, their jobs are generally harder than normal. This is for a range of reasons-the first being that most shelters won’t rehome dogs during December, for all of the reasons mentioned above. This of course means that while no dogs will be going out of the centre over Christmas, dogs will still be coming in-putting pressure on already stretched resources such as space, time and money. Additionally, whilst many shelter staff and volunteers will have to work over Christmas to meet the needs of the dogs in their care, some will have holidays and time off, which means that the staff that are covering the festive period will often be busier than normal.
Ways to help
There are lots of different ways to support dog rehoming charities and shelters, even if you are not in the market for a new dog. If you have a little time or money to spare, your support can make a big difference to such charities, and the dogs that they look after.
There are a lot of ways that you can indirectly support shelters simply when doing your regular shopping, by making choices that help to support charities and shelters. The most obvious of these is to buy your Christmas cards from a charity that donates the proceeds of the cards to the charity itself. If you check out the websites of some charities too you may find that they have shopping links to websites like Amazon, and if you visit the shopping site via the charity’s link, they will get a small credit from the company itself.
Make a cash donation
Giving cash in the form of a one-off donation or an on-going standing order is a great way to support pet charities at Christmas, as there are always expenses that need covering, and even more so when there are a lot of dogs being cared for.
Get the shelter a gift
As well as cash donations, many shelters keep wish lists with online retailers or have collection bins at local veterinary clinics and pet stores, which allow you to buy something from a set list that the charity needs (or of your own choosing) to donate directly to the charity.
Offer to volunteer over Christmas
Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s Day are often the times when shelters have the most difficulty getting volunteers in, and so it you can spare a couple of hours on one of these days and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, your local shelter will likely be delighted to hear from you!
Do some dog walking
As well as the feeding, cleaning out and interaction that all dogs need on a daily basis, they also need walks, and most shelters are always in need of dog walkers, who can spend just half an hour to an hour walking one or more dogs and interacting with them while allowing them to stretch their legs.
Provide other practical help
If you have some time to spare but not over the main holiday days off themselves, there are still lots of things you can do! Many shelters are associated with charity shops or pop-up stands that always need people to man them and help out, which is a great way to spend a free morning or afternoon. There are also all manner of other roles too, such as performing home visits to assess potential new owners, and lots of other things-talk to your local shelter and find out what help they need, and if you could step up!
(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)