Animals and pets serve as essential parts of our lives. They are our friends, they protect us, and they help many people with physical and mental limitations. But, most importantly, they provide unconditional love. Operation Santa Paws reminds us that we need to return that love and remember them at this most special time of year! In today’s blog post, we’re shining a spotlight on Operation Santa Paws and sharing some of the best ways to help shelter animals this holiday season. So, let’s get started!
The History of Operation Santa Paws
Every year, many animals, through abuse and neglect, wind up abandoned in shelters and animal rescues everywhere. These animals are often given as birthday or Christmas gifts and then cast aside as their shine wears off with age. According to the ASPCA, 3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats will enter animal shelters in the United States annually. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough resources to support them, but this is where Operation Santa Paws comes in.
Organized by Justin Rudd in 2001, Operation Santa Paws was initially created in Long Beach, California, to help support their local shelters and rescue animals. As part of the Haute Dogs Organization (pronounced “Hot Dogs”), the idea was to encourage the public to participate by donating thing such as new toys, treats, food, or money to their local shelters. These donations support the animals, rescue workers, and countless volunteers.
Since then, Justin and Haute Dogs have spread the word of Operation Santa Paws by getting stores and individuals all around the US to participate in this humanitarian effort. Many organizations and businesses will hold fundraising events where people can volunteer or attend meet & greet events with adoptable pets from a shelter or rescue center.
Ways to Help an Animal Shelter
Despite the eye-watering statistics, there are many ways to help shelter animals and the workers who look after them.
Shelters across the US will hold annual toys, food, and blanket drives. Going to your local big box store and buying some dry/canned dog or cat food will go a long way. Have some blankets that have wear and tear? Donate them to a local shelter and give much-needed comfort to a dog or cat in need. Are you a pet owner? Does your dog or cat have toys they no longer play with? Give them to a shelter to create joy for the animals in need. Contact your local shelter to find out what supplies they need most this time of year.
During the holiday season, animal shelters sadly become full. Volunteering at a shelter can be as valuable as offering toys, pet food, or treats. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know the animals better and make a difference to them, not during the holidays but all year round. Check with your local shelters to see how you can volunteer.
Thank a Shelter Worker
Without the support of those individuals who dedicate themselves to these animals’ welfare, there’d be nowhere for them to go. So when you stop by with a donation of supplies for the furry residents of your local shelter, don’t forget to bring down some tokens of thanks for these hard-working people. From candy to handwritten letters of gratitude, a little appreciation will mean the world to them.
Adopt A Shelter Pet
This step is not for everyone, but those who feel they would make good animal parents might take this time of year to consider adopting a pet that needs a home. Pet ownership can undoubtedly be rewarding, but it comes with many added responsibilities. Consider these questions when thinking about adopting a pet.
How Much Time Do I Have for a Pet?
People who work 60-70 hours a week or are gone for 12-hour shifts at a time may not have the time to give to a pet. But families with members with lots of time to devote to walking, playing with, and training a cat or dog should consider it.
Can I Afford a Pet?
Even though they’re small, some pets require a significant financial commitment. From food and vet bills to obedience school and kenneling while on vacation, pets can cost several hundred dollars yearly, or sometimes more. Check out our blogs, The Cost of Dog Ownership and The Cost of Cat Ownership, for some tips that may be helpful in your decision-making.
What Pet Is Best for My Lifestyle?
Generally, dogs need more attention and affection than cats. They need to be walked and cleaned up after, while cats can use a litter box and don’t need the same exercise. Knowing your lifestyle, for instance, as a homebody or a traveler, helps to make a better match with a pet.
The Rescue Dogs of Cash Factory USA
Did you know our office is dog friendly? Every Friday, employees can bring their best friend to work. Many of the pups that come into our office are rescue dogs themselves.
Gnasher: Rescued from a park in East Los Angeles, CA, when he was one year old. He’s now 12 and spoiled rotten. His favorite treat is scrambled eggs with a little bit of cheese.
Nip-Her: Abandoned at a veterinary clinic in Tacoma, WA, at 6 months old. As the queen of her household, she is now 10. Her favorite treat is sausage.
Scrappy: Rescued from a kill shelter in Las Vegas, NV, after being neglected and abused. He was nursed back to health and just turned 6 this October. He now lives with a loving family, and his favorite treat is chicken.
Contact your local shelter to ask for ways to help shelter animals in need this holiday season.
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