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Comfort a canine: 10 ways to help dogs in need

At the end of the day, a dog is a dog! But unfortunately, not everyone has a home of their own. Wendy Diamond, a pet lifestyle expert and author of “It's a Dog's World: The Savvy Guide to Four-Legged Living,” offers tips on how current pet owners can help local animals in need. Here's an excerpt:
/ Source: TODAY books

At the end of the day, everyone wants someone to come home to, even dogs. But unfortunately, not every canine has that option. Wendy Diamond, a pet lifestyle expert and author of “It's a Dog's World: The Savvy Guide to Four-Legged Living,” shares tips on how pet owners can help local animals in need. Here's an excerpt.

Every Dog Has Its Day
At the end of the day, a dog is a dog! And as much as we want to indulge our canine counterparts with the finer treats life has to offer, pure joy to a dog is socializing and playing at the local park or dog run, drinking plenty of water, consuming healthy meals, joining parents on a daily walk, and a cozy home where a sleeping dog can lie.

My hope and dream is that this book will help motivate every pet-friendly reader and animal enthusiast to get involved with animal rescue, find needy animals homes, and work to make every shelter a no-kill shelter. There are many ways to help in your own neighborhoods. Many communities have local SPCA’s (the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a generic term for any group that wants to help animals), local Humane societies (Humane Society of America is a national group doing amazing things, but your local humane society does not have the budget or PR, and needs your support), and small shelters that are in desperate need of volunteers and donations. The easiest way to find your local animal aid organizations is to search for them on the Internet or ask your local veterinarian. Many of the shelters have lists of important items they need but can’t afford. Any donations of time, supplies, or money are greatly appreciated.

The most important action on the donor’s part is to do research before making a gift! Make sure you know where you are donating before pledging. Call the organization and ask as many questions as you need. It is your money and you have the right to know where it is going. Look for organizations that pledge to help the animals in your own community! By targeting each community one at a time, eventually the rescue outreach will create a huge wave from coast to coast. You can do your part by making informed decisions to save lives of innocent animals.

Here are some ways you can help local animals in need:

  1. Consider being a foster parent to pet in transition. There are many local organizations that specialize in placing animals in loving, temporary homes.
  2. Do you know how to sew, knit, or crochet? You could make and donate sweaters, blankets or even toys to help keep the animals cozy and entertained while awaiting adoption.
  3. Throw a party! You can introduce your friends to your local Humane Society or SPCA and then ask for donations. You’d be surprised how generous people can be after a few glasses of wine ...
  4. Use the power of your vote! Let your local and state representatives know that caring for animals is a priority for you. Write an email that clearly states your views and forward it to your friends and acquaintances to pass on.

  5. Volunteer to use your special skills to support your local shelter. Can you design a flyer, write an article, or analyze a legal brief? These (and many other) skills can be invaluable to an underfunded and understaffed non-profit.

  6. Be vigilant! Pay attention when you see signs of animal abuse and report suspicions to an animal protection agency.

  7. Be generous! Monetary donations to the general operating funds of local organizations keep the shelters alive. The holidays are a great time to make a gift.

  8. Consider adoption and check out your local shelter. Many of these animals have suffered terribly and desperately need your love.

  9. Join up! Become a member of an SPCA, Humane Society or another local shelter in your community. Many offer newsletters and invitations to events where you can meet other animal lovers in your area.

  10. Persuade your friends and co-workers to join you!

Lucky has truly entertained me this past decade and has definitely rescued me in many more ways than I’ve rescued her. With your help and the help of others, every dog in America can be lucky enough to find a safe and loving home. Dog Bless!

Excerpted with permission from “It's a Dog's World: The Savvy Guide to Four-Legged Living”  by Wendy Diamond (Ballantine Books, 2010).