Feature: Readers to the Rescue

rescue

If there’s one thing we know “fur sure” about fetch! readers, it’s that you’ll do anything to make life better for pets. From feeding top-of-the-line foods to keeping up with vet appointments, pet parents like you go the extra mile to give it all to your furry friends. But what about cats and dogs who don’t have a family?

Believe it or not, you can come to their rescue, too! Saving pets is not always a job best left to the professionals – in fact, it takes no special training to aid animals in need. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make an impact on pets simply by going about your business. Think that’s impossible? Read on!

rescue mission: buy to save lives
tools you’ll need: computer, clicker finger, credit card
degree of difficulty: 2 paws
Did you know you can send money to shelters and rescues just by buying things you already need? Whether you’re stocking up on Snausages or cruising for shoes, there are a number of websites that will pool moolah for furry friends at no additional cost to you. Point your paws to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) and you can designate a charity to receive a donation every time you make a purchase. There are hundreds of animal organizations to choose from, including ones in your own backyard. It’s an easy way to make your dollars work for dogs and cats who need help. Other sites to try include iGive.com and Goodsearch.com – use your dollars to make a difference!

rescue mission: graze to raise (money!)
tools you’ll need: fork and knife, your appetite
degree of difficulty: 1 paw
Eat, drink and be merry – and help save animals’ lives! Good news for epicures and oenophiles: there is a cornucopia of foodie fundraisers that benefit local shelters and rescue groups. Follow your favorite causes on Facebook for updates about their events, and keep your eyes peeled for everything from bake sales and Yappy Hours to wine tastings and chef’s dinners. If you’re not game to spend major money on a gala, something as simple as a “dine out” night at a local restaurant can raise some big revenue. Many eateries partner with local charities and donate a portion of your check to support their services. Want a heads up on the web? GoodDining.com has 10,000+ restaurants across the country that donate 3.5% to 6% of your bill, including tax and tip, back to the charity of your choice. GoodDining’s list of organizations includes large national groups and local causes, like neighborhood rescues and shelters.

rescue mission: sweat for pets
tools you’ll need: sneakers, a leash, a furry friend
degree of difficulty: 3 paws
You already strut with your mutt every day – why not raise some cash while you dash? Charity walks, runs and obstacle events often include options for pet registration, and who’s a better buddy to help you go for gold than your four-legged friend? Mutt Struts, Rescue Runs, Dog Jogs and Wag’n’Walks are held in almost every town; find one near you and lace up for the race. Get your coworkers involved for an even bigger impact – corporate teams can raise major funds. Case in point: Petplan recently raised more than $18,000 for Philadelphia’s MuckFest MS (read more on Petplanthropy News page 12)!

rescue mission: share skills to cut bills
tools you’ll need: time, business or technical know-how, generous spirit
degree of difficulty: 4 paws
One wonderful way to make a difference is to roll up your sleeves and get to work. You may not be able to write a five figure check to an animal organization you love, but you can increase their manpower by donating your time. Are you an accountant? Volunteer to help with the books. An event planner? Lend a paw to plan a fundraiser. Shelters can benefit from the skills of just about everyone – from contractors and call center representatives to social media experts and photographers. There’s never a shortage of work to be done, and not having to pay someone to do it can save your favorite organization a bundle! Remember: the less a shelter has to pay for professional services, the more money they can dedicate directly to lifesaving.

Being a hero to pets in need is easier than you think – you don’t even need tights and a cape. Simply by switching up your regular routine to include charitable choices, you can make a world of difference to furry friends.

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shop ‘til you drop
Ever wonder where your dollar goes when you donate at places like Petco and PetSmart? We did the homework.

The Petco Foundation

  • funds national animal welfare programs and disaster relief efforts
  • offered grants to 8,000+ local animal welfare organizations to support operations and special programs
  • donated more than $14 million to benefit companion animals in 2012
  • 91 cents of every dollar raised went to help pets and the people who love them

PetSmart Charities

  • funds adoption events, pet rescue programs and spay/neuter efforts
  • granted $34 million to 2,800 animal welfare groups in 2013
  • provided $1.6 million in emergency relief grant support
  • saves more than 400,000 pets per year

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Put the fun in fundraising!
It’s never easy to ask for money, but raising revenue is the goal of charity runs and races. When you sign up with your pup to go the distance, try these tips for making the dough rise.

  • Ask early and often! Cast a wide net, and be persistent.
  • Make it personal. Speak from the heart when telling friends why you feel passionate about the cause.
  • Set a goal. Naming a number can motivate people to push you closer to your target, one gift at a time.
  • Always say thank you! Whether a private acknowledgment or a public salute, saying thanks is a major must-do.

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lobby hobby
National organizations campaign to enact laws for protecting companion animals (and their cousins on farms and in the wild). In 2013, organizations like the ASPCA and HSUS won the following victories for furry friends:

  • Passage of The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, prohibiting attendance at organized animal fights across the United States.
  • Banning of gas chambers to euthanize animals in Texas.
  • Increase in criminal penalties for the intentional killing of police dogs and horses in New York state.
  • Increase in penalties for extreme animal neglect in New Jersey.
  • Training for law enforcement in Colorado on canine behavior and alternative methods to lethal force in order to reduce accidental dog shootings.

For information about what’s being done in your state, visit HumaneSociety.org and ASPCA.org.

— published in fetch! magazine, the “Rescue Me” issue