How to Support Animal Shelters and Rescues

Core Paws recognizes that the work of our shelter and rescue partners — and the thousands of similar organization across the U.S. — is so vital in our mission to help hard-to-place animals. These amazing shelters and rescues help untold numbers of both animals and humans, often with limited resources and with little fanfare.

If it weren’t for these shelters and rescues in our communities, millions of animals each year would go abandoned in the streets without access to food, shelter, medical attention, or the love that they so deserve, not to mention the potential impacts this would have on human public health and safety.

There are so many reasons that we should continue to appreciate and support our animal shelters and rescues, and the people who work and volunteer in them. Here are just a few to consider:


Giving a monetary gift is perhaps one of the easiest and quickest ways to support an animal shelter or rescue, but there also other ways to donate if your budget makes it difficult to contribute cash.

    • Donate your time. Volunteering is such an impactful way to get involved and help make a difference in the lives of animals and humans. Check with your local shelter or rescue about opportunities to help clean or care for animals, maintain facilities, or assist in administrative work.
    • Donate your skills. If you are looking to volunteer in a more specialized way, many shelters and rescues seek out photographers or videographers to help animals’ profiles stand out. Others seek volunteers with veterinary experience, DIY abilities (for example, to help repair shelters, or sew “Adopt Me” bandanas), social media expertise, and other skills. Check with your local organization about their specific needs.
    • Donate items and supplies. Contact your local shelter or rescue group to see if they have a wish list of items. Ask if they’ll take gently-used items, and/or volunteer to collect or buy them. Often, such items will include:
        • Water and food bowls
        • Toys
        • Leashes and collars
        • Grooming tools
        • Pet beds
        • Blankets
        • Litter
        • Cleaning supplies


If you have room for a temporary pet, fostering is such a fun and rewarding experience. Being in a shelter is stressful for many animals, who would rather be in your home while waiting for a permanent family. Fostering also helps free up space in your shelter or rescue for other animals who need to be assisted. The length of a foster is often flexible, anywhere from a couple of days up to a few months. Every organization is different, but they will usually cover the expenses of food, supplies, and medical care for your fostered animal. Contact your local shelter or rescue group about fostering opportunities, and what their process looks like.

Spread the Word

Sometimes it’s as easy as social media! Follow your local groups on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks, to find out what’s going on. Spread the word by sharing posts about animals that need homes, “like” or promote their services, and re-post stories and announcements.

Write a positive review about your experiences visiting or adopting pets with them. Be an advocate through your reviews on Facebook, Yelp, or other business review websites. Send a photo of your adopted pet, along with a testimonial, to encourage other potential adopters, as well as shelter/rescue staff and volunteers!

For a more involved approach, check with your local rescue or shelter about community outreach opportunities. They’ll often welcome help in posting flyers in approved public areas or hosting fundraiser and donation drives.

Say Thank You

Send a thank you card or a letter to your rescue or shelter. The staff and volunteers give their whole hearts to their work, and they’re often overstressed or underpaid, so seemingly little gestures can go a long way. Encourage and energize them by showing how much you appreciate their effort. Check with your local organization about their policies, and find out if their staff are allowed to accept tokens of your appreciation, such as flowers, gift baskets, or human treats like donuts or cookies.

Written by Joanna Wong, Email Marketing Manager of Core Paws


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