What Can I Do to Help A Rescue If I Cannot Foster?

Kermit, an

Kermit, an “Older Than Dirt” Sheltie I did a short term foster with.

It is hard to go on social media and read calls for foster homes needed for unwanted pets. Yet for many of us, fostering is just not an option. Allergies, rental property not allowing animals, time factor and other legitimate reasons keep many people from being able to foster animals. However, there are still ways you can provide needed things for rescues even if you cannot foster. Here are a few ideas.

Do you run a webhosting company? Can you design sites? Can you donate some space and create a small webpage with contact information and a link to a pet list on a national search page (like PetFinder)?   A single page with critical information can help a group gain visibility.

Are you a trainer? Can you donate space in a class for a foster animal? Can you donate time to help a foster home work through problems and help determine a viable placement type for the pet?

Are you a groomer? Can you every so often help groom? Well-groomed pets stand a better chance of getting adopted.

Do you work for a magazine or newspaper? Can you run a quarterly list of regional rescues?

Are you a photographer or do you enjoy photography? Can you take pictures for a rescue’s website?

Are you a veterinarian? Can you host vaccine and microchip clinics in support of a local rescue? Are you and other veterinarians able to host periodic spay/neuter clinics for local rescues?

Do you run a pet supply store? Are you able to set up donation bins for various supplies local groups need?

Can you get your school, church or other groups to do a fundraiser? If you are worried where the money will go, do a supplies drive. Food, bedding, gift cards to pet supply stores, put money on their account if they use a local veterinarian.

Get creative; I am sure you can come up with more ideas!

A word of caution: not all people or groups posing as rescues are true rescues, do your homework before donating services. If you try to write off time and such on your taxes and the rescue is not recognized as a nonprofit or tax exempt, etc., you will not be able to take the deduction. I remember a rescuer doing just this. The group got thousands of dollars in money and services from people – all with the promise of a tax ID number by the end of the year. No donor got that tax ID number at tax time. The rescue had none. The group had to either meet the requirements for rescues in the state or become a pet trade business. The group was illegally soliciting donations of money and services. The director refused to file the paperwork to become a nonprofit. After years of trying to get the group to comply with the laws, they were finally closed down for a host of reasons. At one point the IRS had a warning posted on their site regarding the rescue. The director was living off retailing animals under the guise of a rescue.

This blog (that mentions rescue in Virginia) gives you things to check into before you begin donating to an animal rescue group. https://petlawblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/how-do-i-find-a-good-rescue .

Lastly, rescues please do not abuse the kindness of others. I love helping and assisting groups with what I can. However, abuses are also the fastest way to get these people to stop helping you out.

Karen Peak owns West Wind Dog Training and The Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project in Prince William County.

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