It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, so I try to focus each year on what else the holidays are about – giving back. Since animals are a cause close to my heart, as I’m sure they are to many of you, I try to think of ways each year I can give back to the animal community during the holidays. Whether it’s your time, money or just your social networking skills, there’s something everyone can do to help.
Here are five ways to help pets this holiday season:
1. Donate to a rescue group’s wishlist
All rescue groups need donations in order to take care of the animals they take in. Most groups will list what they need on their website, but some make it even easier by setting up Amazon wish lists so you can order online exactly what they need and have it shipped right to them. Here are the APL, Cleveland Animal Control and Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter’s Amazon wish lists:
Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter: http://www.amazon.com/wishlist/15JCVK42TMWEY/ref=sr_1_1_acs_wl_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388683921&sr=8-1-acs
Cleveland Animal Control: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/KLVA6K0ZP3OG/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_v
2. Organize a dog food/supplies drive
One local group that always needs donations is My Best Friend’s Bowl in Lakewood. My Best Friend’s Bowl provides pet food to families in need so they can keep their pets during hard economic times. Organize a pet food donation at your work to keep the cupboards stocked for Cleveland-area pets in need. Find out more here: http://mybestfriendsbowllakewood.com/bowl/how-can-i-help/
Donation drives are a great idea for any rescue group. Print out a wish list from your local shelter and post it at your work or school to gather donations.
3. Attend a Fundraiser
There will be no shortage of fundraising events this holiday season. This is one of the easiest and most fun ways to show your support for homeless animals. Here are a few upcoming ones to check out:
The 7th Annual Cleveland Comedy Festival
Two shows during the Cleveland Comedy Festival this week will benefit the Cleveland APL. The shows will be held Nov. 22 at Playhouse Square’s Kennedy’s Theatre at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm and will feature local comedians, John Wellington, Rodney Bengston, Tim Cornett, Jaya Bidari and Marv Connor. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. 50% of all proceeds will go directly to the Cleveland APL. Visit www.clevelandcomedyfestival.com for more info.
Join the Cuyahoga Animal Shelter for an all-you-can-eat taco bar and margaritas at Viva Mexico Restaurant on Nov. 29. Pre-sale tickets are $20, tickets at the door are $25. For more information, visit: http://www.cuyahogadogs.com/pdf_cuyahogadogs/en-US/MuttaritaMadness.pdf
Art from the Heart
Art from the Heart is a holiday market put on by Rescue Village that featues local artists selling furniture, artwork, ceramics, photography, jewelry and more. This year’s Art from the Heart will be held Dec. 12-14 at LaPlace in Beachwood. Visit for more information.
Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, the group I foster for, is also doing a great fundraiser this holiday season through Bark Point Studio. Have a caricature made of your dog and the Studio will donate 20% of proceeds to Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue when you use the promo code COPR. Visit them at https://www.facebook.com/BarkPointStudio.
4. Volunteer Your Time
Rescue groups always need dog walkers, as well as drivers to transport dogs to vet appointments, cage cleaners, people to perform host duties at shelters and volunteers for fundraisers. Here’s a listing of Lake Humane Society’s volunteer needs: http://lakehumane.org/volunteerpositions.html. Contact your local shelter to see what their volunteer needs are.
5. Share a Homeless Pet
It’s not always easy to come up with the money or time needed to help rescue groups, especially around the holidays. One easy, free way to help rescue groups is by sharing adoptable pets. Cleveland Animal Control Volunteers need all the help they can get spreading the word to find homes for Cleveland animals. Follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ClevelandCityKennelVolunteers) to see their available pets. You never know who among your friends might be looking for a dog or cat!