Give a Little
How to help dogs without owning them.
“Giving does not and should not always have to mean getting something back in return.”
I mentioned in my post about the Secret Lives of Streeties how humans often think we are the only ones who can provide dogs with happy, fulfilled, lives. In some cases that is true; many dogs will live much more comfortable lives in the comfort of our homes, our sofas, and our beds, but then there are some dogs who are quite content with their lives on the street – they have independence, they have the comfort and security of their social groups (comprised of other street dogs), and given the choice many of them might actually rather stay on the street than enter our homes.
In order to help dogs, we do not always need to bring them into our homes. We do not have to own and control the living beings whose welfare we care and provide for. Also, let’s be realistic here, with approximately 200 million street dogs in the world, which constitutes the vast majority (approx. 80%) of the global dog population, it’s also highly unlikely that we’d ever be able give all the dogs of the world a home. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t or can’t still care and provide for their wellbeing. Giving does not and should not always have to mean getting something back in return.
“When you find something that tugs at your heartstrings, find a way to help and contribute.”
There are so many ways to help and show love and affection to animals, and the best way is always the way which suits you and your lifestyle the best. For example, bringing a dog into your life and home will not do much good if you are rarely home and unable to spend time with the dog. If you want to help animals, the needs of the animals should always come first. Here are some options:
Donating is perhaps one of the easiest ways to help any cause. You choose an amount and frequency to donate that suits your situation and that’s it, you need not do any more than that. Donating is also good because you can donate far and wide. Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can research different shelters, charities, and causes from around the world from the comfort of your own home and choose the one closest to your heart and set up a payment plan for donations. I personally started donating when I discovered Takis Shelter in Crete – I came across the story of the shelter online, and it stole my heart in an instant and I felt compelled to help as soon as a I could, and the quickest way I could do that was to set up a small monthly donation. When you find something that tugs at your heartstrings, find a way to help and contribute.
Volunteering is such a lovely and rewarding way to contribute to any cause. It will require more effort from you than donating for example, but at the same time it will also give more back to you while you are giving back to others. Volunteering is great also because there are so many different ways to volunteer to suit your needs. It could be just walking the dogs at a nearby shelter on the weekends or feeding the strays in your city, or it could be a longer term commitment of living and working at an animal sanctuary somewhere near or far. There is something in human nature that will thrive and grow from experiences of truly selflessly helping others. Volunteering doesn’t sound glamorous, and most of the time it is also far from glamorous in practice, but it is what I would call “type 2 fun”. As described in this post, type 2 fun is “not life-threatening, but it certainly takes you out of your comfort zone. It builds character and the further in the past the memory becomes, the more fondly you’ll recount it”. Type 2 fun will have a lasting impact on you and may even change your priorities, principles, or outlook on life. We all need a little bit more type 2 fun in our lives, and what better way to get it than by helping others in the process!
Fostering has many benefits:
1. You take an animal away from the shelter environment, helping it to gain new skills, become better socialised, and hopefully to eventually become a better family pet for its future family.
2. You free up space in the shelter for other animals. Abandoned and mistreated animals are found and taken in on a daily basis, and there never seems to be enough space, so every little bit of space available for the next animals in need is always welcome.
3. You get to share your life with an animal without the long-term commitment. If your lifestyle does not suit committing to a pet for the forseeable future, perhaps short-term fosters would be your thing, and what’s more you’ll probably enjoy your foster animals company as much as he/she enjoys yours! And if you are looking for a pet for life, foster anyway; it is the best way to trial living with a pet and to find a pet that will really suit you and your lifestyle the best before you make the lifetime commitment. Fostering is a real win-win!
“There’s no time like the present to make a difference.”
There’s no time like the present to make a difference. Whatever your chosen method of making a difference is there will certainly be more than enough grateful recipients to choose from near or far from where you live. Let the animals (and humans) of this world know that you love and care for them by reaching out a helping hand.
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