If you're interested in doing more to help animals, reaching out to your local animal sanctuary could be a great place to start. Robin Raven talks us through their top tips for getting involved and making a tangible difference to the longevity of animal sanctuaries.
Animal sanctuaries empower rescued animals to live their lives in comfort, peace, and happiness. These animals often have histories of trauma, neglect, and abuse, so they may need special care that a sanctuary provides. In addition to providing practical, immediate care for animals in need, many sanctuaries do a great deal of outreach work to educate the public about the importance of respecting animals and enjoying a vegan lifestyle. You can be a part of their kind efforts. Try these five ways of providing needed help to your local animal sanctuary to make a big difference right in your community.
1.Lend a Helping Hand
Running an animal sanctuary requires a lot of demanding labor. Chores on animal sanctuaries can include giving food and water to animal residents, cleaning the living spaces of those animals, monitoring the behaviors of animals, bathing animals, and ensuring they get adequate exercise. The volunteer work that needs to be completed varies depending on the organization you’re helping, but nearly every sanctuary is in need of helping hands.
Nikki Medwell, the founder of the Bed & Broccoli animal sanctuary (and bed and breakfast) in Victoria, Australia, weighed in on how vital volunteer work is for shelters, stating,“Physical help is always needed but not glamorous. This needs to be kept in mind because, if someone offers to help out, the chores allocated need completed with 100-percent enthusiasm. We couldn't do this without the kindness of others.”
2.Budget for Benevolence
Direct financial donations keep animal sanctuaries going. It enables the owners and operators to provide care, food, shelter, and medical attention to animals in need. “Help at shelters can vary considerably, the best way for people to offer help is by making direct contact by phone or email and asking where they can best be of assistance,” Medwell stated.
Many animal sanctuaries offer supporters the chance to sponsor a specific animal. In exchange for a certain monthly or yearly pledge, you may get photos and updates on the animal you sponsor. Others offer a variety of perks for supporters such as magazines about animal rescue and activism materials like stickers and pamphlets.
3.Use Your Creativity, Skills, and Talents
Think outside the box if you have special talents, carefully honed skills, or creative ideas that could benefit an animal sanctuary. Sometimes the unexpected help you can offer a sanctuary comes in the form of using your talents in a way that they didn’t realize they needed.
Michael Harren, a musical performer and composer based in New York City, talked to me about the unique way he helped. “Combining my love for writing music and stories turned out to be a great way to help out my favorite sanctuary, Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. I volunteered at the sanctuary as much as I could for a year, documenting my time with blog entries and YouTube videos. I then wrote a multi-media show called The Animal Show about my experience. The show generated a lot of exposure for the sanctuary, and it was a surprisingly great way to reach non-vegans.” Michael posted reports of his endeavors at MichaelHarren.com
4.Shop to Get While You Give
Animal sanctuaries often have online shops as well as on-site gift shops. When you buy merchandise from an animal sanctuary, it can help keep them going, and it can give you a chance to spread the word about their work when you wear or use the items. Available products at many sanctuaries include apparel, water bottles, greeting cards, and animal rights literature.
Animal sentience is widely agreed on as fact, as Mark Bekoff, Ph.D. reported in Psychology Today in 2013. However, non-human animals continue to be treated as commodities by the majority of people on the planet. When you sport the merchandise from a sanctuary, you help educate people about the issues facing farm animals.
5.Donate New and Gently Used Goods
Many animal sanctuaries also take direct donations. Blankets, hay, feed for the animals, medical supplies, toys for the animals, maintenance supplies, and office products are often needed at sanctuaries. Sanctuaries usually want items that are donated to be vegan. If in doubt, contact your sanctuary to ask if a donation is acceptable.
Medwell of the Bed & Broccoli shared; “We very much appreciate it when people offer to purchase food &/or bedding for the residents here. When we find our vet account in credit or a bag of specialised formula turns up by courier there is a great sense of relief. This type of help is a lifeline and vital to all our well-being.”
Finally, keep in mind that your support of animal sanctuaries can make a huge difference in the lives of their residents of many species. The best way to get started is to contact your local animal sanctuary and talk about how you would like to help out. They can let you know their needs, and will likely be very grateful for your assistance.
By Robin Raven.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.