Last week we wrote about why you shouldn’t give a pet as a gift this Christmas. Pets are a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly or sprung on somebody unexpectedly Christmas morning. We wanted to further explore this topic – what can you do instead? This post will discuss alternatives to gifting pets in Connecticut while benefiting local animals in need.
Volunteer at a Shelter
Take the pet lover in your family to volunteer at a shelter. This experience is so much more than just enjoyable to a dog or cat fanatic. By volunteering your time you are bettering the lives of homeless pets, providing them with what they need and taking some of the stress of of their regular caretakers.
It is important to contact the shelter prior to showing up to volunteer. While some rescues are happy to take volunteers at any time, others require you to take a brief training course, sign up for specific shifts or require a release form. If a rescue’s website doesn’t explain their process, send them an email or give them a call. They will be happy to hear from you!
Not sure what shelter to go to? A quick Google search will bring up many options. Some of our favorites in our service area include Companion Pet Rescue (Southbury, CT), Brass City Rescue Alliance (Middlebury, CT) and Animals for Life (Naugatuck, CT).
Donate Supplies to a Shelter
Don’t have time to volunteer? Take the pet lover in your family on a special shopping trip to pick up pet supplies for a shelter in need. While they always need things like food and litter, they also collect blankets, towels, cleaning supplies and office supplies. Many rescues also have their own wish list. Review these before you head out, set a budget and make a date out of it!
There are often donation drives going on for various shelters. Check out our annual holiday pet supply drive for inspiration or a place to send your donations!
Donate Money to a Shelter or Veterinary Research
Just as shelters need food, litter and envelopes, they always need financial donations. Pets that wind up in shelters typically need routine procedures such as a spay, neuter and vaccines. Other need much more expensive treatments including that for heartworm, amputation and more.
Some Connecticut rescues will allow you to sponsor a specific animal. Sponsoring in your loved one’s name is such a meaningful, unique gift. Companion Pet Rescue’s Facebook page is an excellent way to watch for ways to sponsor an itty bitty puppy. Reach out to local rescues to see what options they have. Sometimes it allows you to even name the pet – what a fun present!
Have someone on your list that wants to be a vet or recently lost a pet? Consider donating to a veterinary college or research fund in their name. Some of our favorites include pet memorials through Ohio State University and donations to the Morris Animal Foundation.
Give the Gift of Education
Is your loved one going to be a first-time pet owner? Give them the power of education so they can be the best pet owner they can be when they are ready. Books about basic pet care, different breeds, training, getting through puppyhood and more are a great way to support the gift recipient.
If you know they have a puppy “on the way,” a gift certificate to a reputable trainer or your local professional pet sitter can help set them up with the support system they need!
Start with a Toy
This suggestion is for the young, aspiring pet owners that beg for a puppy or kitten every year (I was in their shoes for many, many years!). Something as simple a stuffed dog with encouraging words to keep practicing for the responsibility of a real puppy can mean a lot to children.
Want to make it even more exciting? Get them a real dog collar with a tag. While it might seem silly to you, it makes their stuffed puppy that much more “real.”
Of course, technology has produced many more realistic toys to give the kids a pet-like experience without the responsibility. Dogs, cats, ride-on reindeer… the possibilities are endless!
The alternatives to gifting pets in Connecticut are endless.
With so many shelters and pet resources throughout Connecticut, finding the perfect experience or gift for the pet lover on your list can be fun and exciting. While giving a pet may not be the best choice, the thoughtful suggestions above can make your loved one’s Christmas morning and give them the tail wags and kitten purrs they are longing for!
Are you interested in learning more about ways you can give back to animals in our area? Want to learn how we can help the pet lovers in your life provide care when they can’t be there? Contact us today!