Ten Holiday Gifts to Help Homeless Pets

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Young adult woman playing with dogs in animal shelter. She wants to adopt one dog.

It’s that time again to buy holiday presents, send cards, and plan holiday outings. What are the gift possibilities offered by the animal shelters and rescues in your community? Larger shelters may have an in-house store. Many will have online shopping. Consider buying their products for your gifts and stocking stuffers. You’re buying gifts anyway! What an easy way to help pets at the same time. Here are some ways you can help homeless pets this holiday season.

Buy your holiday greeting cards from your community’s animal shelters or rescues

Buy your shelter’s calendars and appointment books for 2010. Many shelters sell calendars using photos from pet photo contests. You can buy these as stocking stuffers and for yourself.

Purchase items from animal shelter online stores, such as pet toys, t-shirts, etc. for yourself or your kids. Help your kids buy from the animal shelter for their gift-giving as well.

Donate directly to a shelter or rescue for your own end-of-year gift to nonprofits in your community.

Donate to your shelter or rescue “in memory of” or “in honor of.” Some ideas for this include:

Animal lovers always appreciate a donation in memory of a beloved pet at any time. It doesn’t have to be only the year the pet died.

For your out-of-town family and friends, donate to a shelter they support or in honor of their pets. Many pet lovers will appreciate a donation to a cause they love in their communities.

Was your grandmother a real animal lover? What about sending a donation in memory of your grandmother with the acknowledgment going to your Mom? Mom will appreciate your remembering her mom’s love of pets.

Sponsor a pet for a child’s gift or sign up for a monthly recurring donation in that child’s name. Many family members have no idea what to give kids in the family. A donation for an animal lover helps teach kids that there are meaningful gifts outside their own environment.

Buy gifts from companies that donate to animal rescues or shelters.

For example, Gertie Gear states on their website:

$1.00 from the sale of each air bed set (and replacement covers priced $25 or more) will be donated to Animal Rescue New Orleans in support of this all-volunteer, non-profit organization’s continued efforts to help area animals and pet owners still in crisis years after Katrina.

Buy holiday ornaments and dog toys from PetSmart. Read how PetSmart Charities will help homeless pets when you do:

Luv-A-Pet™ holiday ornaments and Chance, the collectible dog toy, are now available at PetSmart® stores (link opens an external Web site) or online at PetSmart.com, while supplies last. Ten percent of the purchase price of Chance and 25 percent of the sales prices of each ornament will go to PetSmart Charities® to help save the lives of homeless pets.

Buy gifts from national rescue groups, such as the ASPCA, if you can’t find gifts locally. ASPCA’s Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas are shown here.

Does your family draw names for Christmas? For your own name, indicate that your gift should go to your local shelter with suggestions of cash, pet food, or an item from their wish list. Suggest that other family members do this as well.

Does your family have holiday traditions that include a visit to a festival of trees, a home tour, etc? What about planning a Christmas family outing to your local animal shelter to walk the dogs, play with the cats, or volunteer in some way? Also, drop off some items for the shelter’s wish list while you’re there. Establishing a tradition with your kids to help homeless pets can be one of their best memories and most meaningful.

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