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Seven ways to help animals this Christmas

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As we all know, there is nothing more fulfilling or rewarding than giving hope, encouragement and love to those in need, and Christmas season especially is the time of the year to truly make a difference in an animal's life. Animals are innocent and deserving of a chance to live a full happy life, but sadly, each year in the United States and throughout the world, millions of these precious lives are euthanized due to homelessness, lack of medical care, low adoption rates and lack of space in animal shelters that are already filled to capacity. If you truly want to make a long lasting positive impact for an animal, there are seven significant ways you can do so.

  1. Save a life by rescuing a pet from the local animal shelter in your community. In a big city such as Chicago there are hundreds of homeless pets roaming the streets and alleys some of which whom have not been spayed or neutered which leads to more homeless animals on the streets. Animal shelters provide medical care for spaying/neutering, vaccinations, food, shelter and other important resources which costs a lot of money but adopting an animal from a shelter helps keep the shelter running in many ways and ultimately helps reduce the homeless pet epidemic. For more information about pet adoption and animal rescue in the Chicagoland area, please contact PAWS Chicago, Furry Friends Foundation, Red Door Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare League, Chicago Area Shelter Alliance, the Anti-Cruelty Society and Treehouse Humane Society. If you live outside of the Chicagoland area, please contact the ASPCA, a humane organization helping animals throughout the United States.
  2. Organize a pet food bank. In this struggling economy some pet parents are finding it difficult to buy food for their pet companions but you can greatly help by organizing a pet food bank, setting up pet food drives throughout your neighborhood including local grocery stores, schools and shopping centers. This is very simple to do and will benefit the animals and people in the community immensely.
  3. Commit to being a volunteer at an animal shelter. Most animal shelters are non-profit and in dire need of volunteers so if you love animals and want to be a blessing in their lives, show them how much you care by becoming a volunteer.
  4. Donate pet supplies to animal rescue organizations and shelters. Animal shelters and rescue organizations thrive on donations from the generosity of animal lovers and are always in need of pet supplies including food, litter, toys, bedding and blankets.
  5. Become a pet foster parent. Being a foster parent to pets is very gratifying because you are temporarily providing a safe and loving home for animals until they are placed in a forever home. For more information about becoming a pet foster parent please contact Chicago Pet Rescue, a non-profit foster home volunteer-based rescue team.
  6. Report animal cruelty. Animals depend on kind hearted people to speak up for them, but sadly, the number of animals being abused has significantly increased over the past decade. The good news is that reporting animal cruelty is simple to do and only takes a couple of minutes. For information and tips about reporting animal cruelty please contact the local police or animal shelters in your community or visit the ASPCA website.
  7. Don't buy animals from pet stores. Animals sold in pet stores unfortunately are part of a cruel money making business including kitten and puppy mills, illegal breeding, the exotic pet trade and the illegal international trade in wildlife. The horrific living conditions at these animal mills is heartbreaking and each time an animal is sold from a pet store the cruel cycle continues.

Even though this article only discussed seven way to make a difference for animals, there are hundreds of other ways to help a furry friend this Christmas season as well as any other time of the year, and all it takes is a compassionate heart and the determination to keep on pressing on and believing you can make a difference in this world.

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