The holiday season is here, and what better time to help animals in need? Whether you’re making a personal donation to a charitable organization or giving money on behalf of loved one on your holiday shopping list, here are 10 canine causes to support on Giving Tuesday and during the holiday season.
Named after a Siberian Husky who fought his own battle with cancer, the Magic Bullet Fund works with the families of canine cancer patients, raising money to pay for the dog’s treatments when families can’t do it all on their own. Each Magic Bullet dog has their own campaign (which lasts 30 days), so donations can be made either directly to a particular dog or to the fund in general. Imagine what a donation for chemotherapy could mean to a dog and his family this holiday season.
Funding to treat cancer in individual pets is obviously important, but so is funding for pet cancer research. PAWSitively Curing Cancer was established by two young brothers after they lost their first dog to the disease. Donations help support cancer research at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.
Many of us have been brought to tears of joy by videos of military members reuniting with their dogs — but what happens when there is no one to take care of the dog during their human’s tour of duty? The PACT for Animals military foster program helps service members who would otherwise have to hand their dogs over to a shelter before a deployment. A donation to PACT this holiday season will ensure more joyful reunions, and there’s no greater gift than keeping a family together.
If you’d rather hit the Web than the mall in your quest for gifts this holiday season, adoptashelter.com is the best place to start. This website lets you earn money for a shelter or rescue of your choice every time you shop online at one of the retailers listed. A purchase from Amazon, for example, gets your rescue a 0.5 to 1.5 percent donation, while buying something from Petco would get your shelter a donation of 4 to 5.5 percent. Walmart, PetSmart, and Macy’s are just a few of the other merchants you can shop at through the website. If you’re going to do your holiday shopping online anyway, why not do it through adoptashelter.com and give some shelters a gift at the same time?
The ResQwalk app is another example of how we can use technology to donate to shelters. The donations come from a monthly pool supported by corporate sponsors. App users just pick the shelter they want to walk for, start the app, and get to stepping. The donations are then paid out to shelters proportionally, based on the total distance each organization’s supporters walked (or ran or biked — basically any activity that can be tracked by GPS and has you moving 14 mph or less). ResQwalk recently launched a new version of its app, which now offers photo sharing and increased visibility for adoptable animals.
It’s not a topic anyone wants to be thinking about during a season devoted to happiness and good cheer, but there’s no denying that the dog meat trade received a lot of attention in 2015. Thankfully, all that attention is helping organizations like Humane Society International (HSI) create change and save dogs. This year alone, HSI closed down three dog meat farms in South Korea, helping the farmers move to more humane yet economically viable forms of farming. Thanks to HSI, many dogs who would have died for meat are now living as pets in the United States. A donation to HSI will help the organization fight against the dog meat trade and support its other work, like vaccinating street dogs against rabies.
Part of the Angels for Animals Foundation, the Guardian Angels K9 Fund launched in March of this year, raising money for the medical care of police dogs, both active and retired. K9 Aron, a heroic retired police dog from Gloucester County, New Jersey, was the first dog to benefit from the fund. Just before his official retirement party, the 13-year-old German Shepherd was diagnosed with extensive medical issues that required thousands of dollars worth of treatments. Thanks to the fund, Aron’s handler and his family didn’t have to shoulder the costs of Aron’s care alone, and got to focus on him until his death in October. A donation to the Guardian Angels K9 Fund this holiday season ensures brave dogs like Aron will get the medical help they need, no matter what the cost.
A service dog can be an amazing gift for a human who needs a little extra help, and the Animal Farm Foundation is giving that gift to people while saving the lives of Pit Bulls. The AFF assistance dog program takes rescued Pits from shelters and trains them to become much-needed service dogs. The program is changing perceptions and lives by training these much-maligned dogs for a job most often given to purpose-bred, purebred canines. If you’ve got a Pit Bull lover in your life, a donation to the AFF is a great way to say that you support a persecution-free future for these lovable dogs.
At this time of year, many of us are busy searching for the perfect gift for our pups, but we can’t forget that there are some folks out there who are just searching for shelter and food for themselves and their dogs. From smaller, local efforts like Taking It To The Streets with Lori and Shira in California, to veterinary-focused organizations like Community Veterinary Outreach in Ontario, groups that help homeless people help their pets are a great place to put your money this holiday season. Pets of the Homeless is another great organization providing food and basic medical care.
Shelters and rescues are always looking for cash to keep their charges fed and cared for, and we encourage giving those gifts as well, but they’re also often looking for volunteers. Consider giving a bit of yourself to your local shelter this holiday season. Volunteer manpower can be a priceless gift, especially to dogs who need a walk buddy!
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About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.