Friday Fleatles: How can I help ?

Today's title is based on one of the Text From Dog jokes. Here it is -

Thank God it's the Fleatles!

Anyway, let's ignore my poor sense of humor for the better of all mankind, and get to talking about today's topic: What are the different ways to help the cause of Rescue ? What can I do ?

The first and most obvious thing is - adopt! But I won't go into detail about this because there are lots avenues where you can get this information. The local animal shelter, rescues in your area, your local radio station are just a few.

The second thing that you probably already know of,  is to foster. I have a lot of acquaintances who do foster and who write about their experiences too. Fostering is great and really means you're saving lives, making space at the shelter, rejuvenating a dog's life (and yours). It is a very selfless deed. Another advantage to fostering, specially for novice pet parents like myself is that it actually allows you to experience the joy of having an animal, and also the responsibility associated with it, without actually making a lifelong commitment. Before some heckles are raised let me make my statement crystal clear - I am not saying fostering is not a commitment. It is a means to allow yourself to actually find out if you are a good pet parent, and if this is what is really good for you and the dog; without there being a case of owner surrender, and all the negative implications it has. In the event that you do actually figure out, that it's not for you, the responsible and adult thing to do is dedicate yourself to finding that forever home (a great one) or a better foster home, and accept gracefully that the time is not right for you.

So now what ? You still want to help the cause, your heart is in the right place - what do you do ? Lots ! Here goes -

Take your time... and give it to them.
Visit your local animal shelter's website and fill out their volunteer application. There is a need for all types of people with all kinds of callings. If you are not really experienced with animals, but are a people's person, you can be a 'greeter'. Are you a great event organizer ? You're needed at adoption events. There is a plethora of options on the website. Usually, the shelter interviews you and takes you through an orientation process. If you factor  even a few hours each week into your routine, you are helping the cause. You're helping the animals find homes.  Time is essential and the clock is ticking, specially for shelter animals. Donating your time, is helping save lives.

Sit Happens
Are you experienced with animals ? Did you do a behavioral training class with your own pup? Can you teach basics like "Sit", "Down", Stay, "Heel" ? Use that knowledge to train a shelter dog. Knowing basic commands will help the dog become more adoptable and find it's home. Show off the dog's skills at adoption events you take it to.You might just be able to find that forever home!

Love that Lens?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It is not unheard of, that a great picture has resulted in an adoption. My inspiration behind writing this is Betsy Sasnett. Betsy is a talented photographer who donates huge amounts of time and effort to the cause. She goes out to shelters in the area to photograph adoptable animals and showcases them on her website. You will see Betsy at adoption events, tirelessly taking pictures of people and their pups and donating her proceeds to rescues in need. You can do the same. Check with your local shelter if they need their animals photographed. With today's World Wide Wildfire and the power of the FB Share, you may just save a life!

Do you dabble ?
In web programming? Know a little http ? You can help maintain your shelter's website.

Is your pen mightier than your sword ?
Do you have a way with words? Help write up descriptions of the dogs you help train or simply  those that catch your eye at the shelter. Did they do anything particularly cute?(they always do!) .. write it up with a couple of catchy sentences and unleash it on Facebook.

"Girls I'm going to Harvard!"
"You mean like on vacay ?? Let's all go..ROADTRIP!!"
[I originally just wanted to title this "Roadtrip", but it's my third coffee of the day and a scene from one of my favorite movies "Legally Blonde" popped into my head.. so you had to bear the brunt of the combination. Also, I ain't going to Harvard just yet. *sigh*]
I'm talking about transport. Today, geographical separation is no deterrent (The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman). Rescues can pull urgent dogs from across the country and adoptions can cross state boundaries. You can help get pups from shelter to safety. It's easy! Each trip is divided into multiple legs and each leg is on an average 80 miles long each way. Take a couple of friends (depending on how much four legged cuteness you need to transport).. make a day of it! You get to meet some really nice people.
One place to start is the Compassionate Animal Rescue Team.
Here is some of my precious cargo from some of my trips with my bestie Nandita who shares my craze for canines!

Money for something, and your tax for free
I should stop with the bad titles and the coffee. But hey - donate! All shelters will give you a receipt for that time of year. Itemize it under tax free donations. Most rescues and shelters have wishlists on Amazon or on their website. Put a smile on someone's face and make a few tails wag by shipping a bag of dog food or flea and tick meds. Spring time is puppy time - so keep this in mind. Many shelters will be having some sort of "stuff the crib" type donation now. Contribute!

Confessions of a Shopaholic
Shop to help! Can it get any better than this ? Look for websites that donate part of their proceeds to animal rescue. One such website is the Animal Rescue Website. They have stuff from all over the world. Trust me, if I had a dollar for the number of times something "Made in India" turned up at my doorstep and I laughed (because hey.. i'm Indian.. I don't just laugh at a whole country.), some rescue would be getting a few bags of food today!
Order checks and address labels from the ASPCA. Looking for a Car ? Get a Subaru! They donate part of their proceeds to the ASPCA. All the dogs on their advertisements are adoptables/rescues.

And last but probably the most important
Are you resourceful? Can you network? Can you recognize that someone's need is someone else's superpower? Connect the people. Your strongest resource is the people you know, their strengths and their abilities - you never know when someone can help your cause. Talk to people at events, network, tell them about rescues you've touched upon, share contacts, introduce people to people. Never rule out a person or a possibility. The grapevine is more powerful than you know.

Let me zip it now, but not before I bring to your notice a business, with wonderful people who have several times  helped the cause:

Out U Go
Need a professional and trust worthy pet sitting service ? Reach out to the Elizabeths at Out u Go!  Yes there are two of them, and I'd trust Kahlua's life with them.

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