Simple ways to help homeless animals, even if you cannot adopt them

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“In India, around 80 million homeless dogs and cats live either in a shelter or on the streets, according to the ‘State of Pet Homelessness Index’ report by Mars Petcare India, in partnership with an advisory board of leading animal welfare experts. This number is after calculating the increase in pet ownership during the pandemic. According to the study, two-thirds of these new pet parents found a new-found appreciation towards animals during the pandemic, and 60% were willing to adopt a pet, said Anjali Gopalan, Founder, All Creatures Great and Small, Faridabad, Haryana.

However, a lack of awareness about the behaviour of stray animals in human environments has led to people moving toward buying bred pets instead of adopting them. In many other cases, due to living situations, work schedules, and financial restrictions, many people cannot bring a pet permanently into their homes.

Here are five ways to help homeless pets, even if you cannot adopt one, according to Gopalan

Donating supplies to the shelters:

Small or big, every shelter appreciates and accepts donations. If you cannot help the shelters financially, you can try to help them with food, toys, blankets, etc. Shelters use blankets to create a snugger, more comfortable space for the animals to rest and sleep. You can also reach out to them and ask for the things they might need at the given time and donate accordingly. If you have a group of people who share this love for the pets, you can also organize a donation drive with them to help the nearby shelters

Financial Support:

Financial support can be one of the best ways to ensure that the pets you cannot bring inside your home are being looked after well in the shelters. Remember, if you have financial constraints restricting you from adopting a pet, the shelter also needs financial backing of all sizes to maintain proper systems of professional care. Every rupee is used for the development of infrastructure and purchasing food and bedding. A donation could mean the accommodation of a few more dogs or cats. A life-changing choice indeed

Street dogs NGO workers play a huge role in taking care of street dogs. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

Fostering:

Fostering can be the closest you can come to having a pet home without buying or adopting one. Many shelters have more than the ideal population of animals, and they would surely appreciate such a gesture. If a few of the animals find a foster home for a certain period, it would effectively give extra space to the rest, meaning extra comfort and dedicated care to all of them. Furthermore, the animals you take home will learn how to live in a human house around humans. Eventually, when this animal finds a home, it will already be trained and know how to behave in such an environment

Share on social media:

Social media is a tool that has seen a miraculous rise in the last decade and you can use it for the betterment of homeless pets. Start sharing posts and retweeting tweets related to pet adoption or stray pets. Be proactive in spreading the word when you come across an adoption appeal. You might not be in the position to bring a pet home, but someone from your friends and followers might definitely be interested, and that would change the life of the poor homeless animal – all by sharing a post! If your local shelter has a social media handle, make sure you are vocal about what they do and help them get more and more animals from their facility adopted

Volunteer with your skill and time:

Shelters are almost always overburdened regarding the number of animals being taken care of and underpowered in manpower. They can always use a helping hand. So, if you think you have a skill that will help the shelter, make sure to use that skill to help them. For instance, if the shelter is planning to launch a website and you are a website developer, help them build a website. Similarly, you can also volunteer with your time. Attend the pet adoption drives, volunteer with the shelter in your free time, take the dogs on a walk or fill the water bowl for the cats, help in volunteering for vaccination and sterilization etc.

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