Ah, Thanksgiving. A time to gather round your family, enjoy good friends, and give thanks for all the blessings in your life. Less than 12 hours after floating in a tryptophan-induced state of gratefulness, Black Friday hits. Forget peace, tranquility and generosity of spirit – it’s time to shop!
What if you skipped the lines and chaos this year and opted to do something to benefit those adorable creatures who can’t help themselves? You’ll be doing something great for your local shelter — or wherever you decide to volunteer — and you’ll haven’t spent a penny by the end of the day. Bonus!
Here are five ways you can help animals on Black Friday:
1) Collect Items for Needy Pets
Local shelters, rescues and even veterinary office always need towels and blankets to make their residents more comfortable (these can be used as long as they’re clean). They also need food, treats, and toys. Often they will post their needs online, or you can call and ask what is most needed at that time.
2) Volunteer to Take Pictures
Bring some holiday props to make the pics more festive and attractive to adopters. Post pics on your social channels to remind people that adopted pets make wonderful holiday additions to those households who are looking to add a pet to their family.
3) Volunteer to Walk/Play With/Socialize Pets
The holidays can be an especially dismal time for shelter pets as regular staff and volunteers go on vacation, leaving less people on hand to interact with pets. If you are staying home for the holidays, go to your local shelter and help out. If you are going out of town for the holidays, go to that local shelter and help out!
4) Donate Pet Food and Treats
Most food banks and non-profits focused on hunger will gladly take food for pets, so pick up an extra bag or two the next time you’re at the store. Alternatively, start a pet food drive and reach out to neighbors, co-workers and friends for donations. Make little gift cards to put on your donated pet food to give a cheery, personal touch. You can always make a cash donation, too!
5) Make Care Packages for Military Dogs
There are hundreds of dogs representing their country along with their human counterparts overseas. Check online for organizations that handle care packages specifically for military dogs. Include a letter or holiday greeting to the dog’s handler, and don’t forget to thank them for their service.