Here are some of the best ways to volunteer and give back with your pets:
Become a foster parent to help adoptable pet’s socialize with your dog!
It can be hard to adjust to ‘normal’ family life for dogs from rough backgrounds. Rescue and shelter dogs often need to be socialized before they are adopted into families. There are rescues as well, that actually rely on foster homes to help them bring pets from bad situations into good ones. To foster, spend some time researching the shelter or rescue that’s right for you and your family and then apply!
Use that walk or run for a cause!
Usually, most charity walks and runs allow dogs to join in. It’s another opportunity for you and your canine buddy to get in shape together while also doing good. In Grand Marais, Minn., there’s even Mush for a Cure, where sled-dog teams race to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Always make sure, before going, that dogs are allowed and that your pet is up for the jaunt.
Did you know that animals need blood transfusions too? There are veterinary blood banks across the country that store blood for pets in need due to sickness or injury. Most dogs are eligible to donate blood if they are fully grown and in good health, although they will have to pass a physical before they can get started. According the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), “Donating your pet’s blood is a fairly painless procedure that takes no more than 20 minutes but can mean everything to another pet and her owner”. Some hospitals might even have incentives for you and your dog as a gift for contributing to the cause. As always, talk to your veterinarian to discuss if your dog is a good blood donor candidate.
Sit and stay a while!
Visits to schools, nursing homes, or hospitals can great impact those you treat with a furry friend. As the Human Animal Institute study shows, people are happier and healthier in the presence of animals. Scientifically-documented benefits of the human-animal bond include decreased blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and enhanced feelings of well-being. Studies have also found that children who read to dogs have better comprehension skills and that exposure to pets during a time of illness can boost morale and aid in the recovery process. Any dog can work as a therapy dog as long as they are well-groomed, well-behaved, and love people. You can even go the extra step and earn the AKC Canine Good Citizen Title!
No matter how you volunteer with your pet, or for animals, it seems studies show that there are more benefits to number! Your health, wellbeing, and those of others will be pawsitively impacted the moment you start!