a dog and person laying on the beach together

This Friday, January 24, is Change a Pet’s Life Day and there are lots of ways to improve the lives of companion animals even if you don’t live with one yourself. Today’s post gives you some ideas you can easily implement this week and beyond to help pets all over the world.

The quickest and easiest thing to do is donate to a group that is doing good work for pets. Some of my favorites (and ones I routinely donate to) are:

Soi Dog works with street animals in Thailand to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens and alleviate suffering. They rescue, provide vaccinations and medical treatment as well as provide shelter and adoption. 

Animals Asia works to end the trade in dogs and cats for food in China and Vietnam, lobbies to improve the welfare of companion animals and works to end the bear bile trade while providing shelter to moon bears rescued from the bear bile trade.

Northeast Animal Shelter is where I adopted my beautiful dog, Jake. In addition to providing shelter and adoptions, NEAS has developed many programs such as Saving Homeless Pets Across America, Mother Animal Spay, Humane Education, Foster Care, Stray Cat Rescue and Senior Visitation.

brown and white dog

Rory, an adoptable dog at Northeast Animal Shelter

If you want a bit more interaction from your donation, you can sponsor a specific animal and get periodic updates about how they are doing.

I sponsor two dogs through Soi Dog Tana Chard and Ying. They also have cats available for sponsor.

You can sponsor an adorable moon bear rescued from the bile trade through Animals Asia as well. Sure, bears aren’t technically a pet, but I love these guys and always make sure to get holiday and special occasion gifts for the bears.

If donating money isn’t your ideal option, what about donating time? You can volunteer your time to support animal welfare and you don’t even need to have a particular expertise (although if you do that is terrific).

Volunteer walking dogs or petting cats at your local animal shelter or rescue.

Volunteer to clean out stalls or feed animals at a rescue or sanctuary. I help out with an adorable herd of rescued Nigerian Dwarf Goats at my local Audubon.

nigerian dwarf goats in snow

My goat friends at Audubon Habitat in Belmont, MA

If you don’t have enough time to volunteer weekly, volunteer to help out at events for a shelter or rescue. The more helpers the better is usually the case at adoption and education events.

Maybe your savvy with social media. If so, follow a few local rescues and share their pictures of adoptable pets with your network. Spreading the word will help pets get adopted faster.

If you’re considering adoption but aren’t quite ready, give fostering a try. Fostering a pet is where an adoptable animal lives with you at your home and you take care of him until he gets adopted. The rescue usually pays for everything (of course you can help out with that if you want). It’s a lot like adopting without the lifetime commitment and is truly a lifesaver for pets that just can’t handle the shelter environment. Check the website of your local shelter for their foster program. Here’s a link to NEAS’ to give you an idea of what it entails.

Of course, you can adopt a pet as well. Just be sure you know what you are getting into and that you have the time, money and energy to be a terrific guardian for them. You don’t have to adopt a dog or even a cat, either, there are adoptable guinea pig, rabbits, horses, goats, birds, reptiles – you name it! Figure out what creature will best fit into your life and go ahead and adopt one. Petfinder is a great resource to see animals looking for homes in your area.

If you adopt a dog, make sure to download our free ebook on getting started with training at home.

Have I missed a great idea? Please share it in the comments!