There’s nothing better than volunteering with your family, and helping animals is a great way to strengthen relationship bonds, give back to the community, and work for the betterment of our four-legged friends. Whether you have ample free time or only a few hours to spare, there are plenty of opportunities for you and your family to join forces and do something good for neighborhood pets, local fauna, and animals of all kinds.
One of the best places to start when looking for ways to help animals is within your own community. An elderly neighbor may have a hard time getting out to walk their beloved dog (especially with winter weather approaching) or just may not have the energy to play a good game of fetch. Thus, having a little help from the family down the block goes a long way toward increasing the happiness of the entire household.
Dog sitting is another great way for parents and kids to join forces to help neighborhood pets and their people. This is especially beneficial in preparing your preteen kids for the responsibility, understanding, and empathy that’s so important to their success during the high school years.
Local animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to play with their pets on a regular basis. This type of opportunity is best for families looking for ways to help animals every week. Cleaning up cages, grooming dogs, and clipping cats’ nails are additional ways that volunteers help local shelter pets. Your family can also host a fundraiser, such as a car wash or bake sale, to raise money for an animal shelter, giving your kids an opportunity to see how a little hard work goes a long way in helping animals.
Even if you don’t have a lot of free time, you can still teach your family about the importance of helping animals by making donations to shelters. Canned food, leashes, toys, and scratch posts are all popular items that will make dogs and cats’ shelter stay more enjoyable as they wait for their forever homes. Most animal shelters also appreciate general supply donations. That includes items like paper towels, trash bags, hand sanitizer, and gently used towels and blankets. Check your local shelter’s wish list to see what they need to keep doing the great work they do.
Perhaps the most overlooked way to help animals is by cleaning up the environment and helping local wildlife. Teaching young kids about the importance of recycling, snipping plastic soda packaging, and maintaining backyard bird feeders and birdbaths are all easy ways your family can help local animals from the comfort of your own home. You can also spend an afternoon planting a butterfly garden that will continue to benefit the beautiful insects—and give you a colorful view—year after year.
Another great way to help wildlife creatures is to plan a cleanup day at your local nature preserve. Work with preserve staff members to pick the perfect time and location, and invite your children’s friends and your neighbors to join you in doing something good for the local environment.
Volunteering your time feels good, and it doesn’t get much better than coming together and using your time and energy to help animals with the ones you love. What are some ways you and your family give back to pets and wildlife? Let us know @TomsofMaine!
Image source: Laurie Fanelli
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.