For many of us, the holiday season is more than just a time to receive – it’s a time to give and a celebration of charity and goodwill. With all of the forthcoming holiday festivities, shopping, and getting into the spirit of giving, it is easy to forget about all of our furry friends in need. With that in mind, we asked Sarah Brasky, Founder and Executive Director of Foster Dogs NYC, about the best ways to give back and help our furry, four-legged community:
FOSTER A DOG: Fostering is one incredible way to show a shelter dog kindness. “What is fostering” you may ask? Fostering a dog means providing a temporary loving home to a homeless pup until he or she can find an adopter. The duration is subjective, and what is most important is that you – the foster volunteer – are clear and honest about what you are comfortable handling and for how long you can potentially house the dog. Some dogs get adopted within a few days, though others might take weeks before they are fully ready (physically or mentally) to get adopted. Fostering over the holidays is a fabulous way to have a cozy companion during those cold winter nights (and someone to dress up in ridiculous Christmas or Hanukkah sweaters for your Instagram feed. You know you want to!) Visit: http://www.fosterdogsnyc.com
WALK A SHELTER DOG: There are several shelters around NYC who need volunteers, particularly dog-walkers. Shelters like BARC and Sean Casey Animal Rescue, both in Brooklyn, welcome new dog-walkers who simply need to fill out a form and sign up on-site (no orientation required). For kennel work, training, and other forms of in-depth volunteering, most shelters will require an orientation so that you familiarize yourself with practices and remain safe at their facility. Walking and socializing shelter dogs helps them alleviate stress, get much-needed exercise and attention, and keep up their potty training skills!
DONATIONS: Donations don’t always have to be in the form of money. Do you have extra leashes, collars, even (clean) towels? These are all items that shelters need! Visit your local shelter to drop off your donated items! If you have the ability to make a monetary donation, this is always appreciated! Nonprofit rescue groups and shelters spend many thousands of dollars annually (sometimes monthly!) on veterinary care and surgeries for their rescued animals. If you donate to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, your donation is tax-deductible; a win-win!