5. Become a One-Man (or Woman) Marketing Firm for Homeless Pets
Help a shelter or rescue group post its pets on Did you know that pets posted on also automatically appear on many other sites, including,, and Imagine how much that kind of exposure means to a pet in a shelter, waiting for a home. If you have a computer and a camera, ask your local shelter if you can help them get their pets on the internet. Or if they're already posting their pets on, volunteer to add video to their listings! It's very easy to add pet videos: Just post the video on YouTube and copy the link into the space provided on each pet's information page (you'll need to have access to the shelter's account on first). Video is an amazing tool. Seeing a pet in action makes a potential adopter get a much better feel for the pet's personality and really increases the likelihood of adoption!

Supersize Your Efforts
Call or visit all of your local shelters and let them know how much posting their pets on can help them with adoptions!

6. Adopt a Shelter Worker or Rescuer
Shelter workers and rescuers have extraordinarily difficult jobs. They work long hours for low pay (rescuers, in fact, are often volunteers who fund their own organizations and work full-time day jobs, too). They see terrible things and do their best to help. Often the bad days outweigh the good for these wonderful people. A little appreciation and pampering go a long way toward preventing the burnout that goes along with these jobs. So adopt a shelter worker or rescuer and help him or her continue the crucial lifesaving work! There are many ways you can do this, but you can start with something as simple as stopping by and saying "thank you" (or sending a thank-you email), or even baking cookies for your shelter workers.

Supersize Your Efforts
Get really creative. If you're a hairstylist, donate a free haircut. If you're a massage therapist, offer to give an exhausted shelter worker or rescuer a rejuvenating massage. Donate a gift certificate for a local restaurant. Or have a party and ask each guest to bring a small gift certificate that can be donated to your local animal heroes!

7. Don't Be Part of the Problem
It may sound simple, but the greatest gift you can give homeless pets and those who take care of them is simply to keep your own pets for life. Think about it: If everyone did this (and spayed and neutered them), the number of pets in shelters would be drastically decreased. Be sure you're ready to adopt before you make the commitment. Deal with any behavior issues by using positive-reinforcement training techniques. Much like raising a child, having a dog or cat isn't always easy, but the rewards are too numerous to count. And, as with a child, having a pet requires you to make a commitment that needs to be honored through thick or thin. Animals are not disposable! Just being the best pet-parent you can be, standing up and saying, "I'm taking responsibility for just this one creature," means one less pet in a shelter taking up space that another pet might need, one less pet being put to sleep because of lack of space in the shelter. Even if you can't do anything else on this list, feel great about being wonderful to your own dog/s or cat/s!

8. Spay or Neuter Your Pet
Much like item #7, this is an easy one. By simply taking responsibility for spaying or neutering your own dog or cat, you are doing your part in the fight against pet overpopulation.

9. Help the Lost
If you find a lost pet, make every effort to find her owner before you take her to the shelter. Every pet who goes into a shelter or rescue, however temporarily, takes up space needed by another pet. By immediately locating the owner, you lessen the chance of another pet being euthanized because there's no more space in the shelter when you drop off your little lost buddy.

10. Spread the Word About Pet Adoption
This is the easiest item on the list. If you have a website, use it! Help others find a pet to adopt by placing a stylish link to or a pet search module right on your own site. This works, even if you don't think you have much traffic to your site.

Supersize Your Efforts
Ask everyone you know to post a link or a search box on their sites, too! Also, social PETworking saves lives. Post a link to a shelter pet on your Facebook page or TwitterACritter ( and you’ll spread the word about specific pets in shelters to hundreds or even thousands of people instantly!

Keep Reading

The truth about animal shelters and responsible breeders
Choosing the right pet for you
10 reasons pets are good for kids


Next Story