In the rush of the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the bustle of parties, shopping for gifts, and travelling – the general places to go, things to do and people to see. But giving is definitely better than receiving, and the spirit of the season reaches beyond the commercialism that we can all sometimes get swept up in.
There are several gift guides you can consult for the people in your life based on their interests, but I’d like to present a different type of gift guide: a giving guide for animals in need. I’d encourage you to consider opening your generosity to an animal in need this holiday season. Below are Dallas-based and national animal welfare organizations that could greatly benefit from your support.
Dallas Area Organizations
Dallas Pets Alive!
Dallas Pets Alive! is an all-volunteer rescue group located in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. They focus on helping the healthy and treatable pets who are at risk of euthanasia at the Dallas Animal Services, by rescuing the pets at greatest risk and helping owners who are having problems so great that they need to surrender their pet(s) to a shelter. If you are local to DFW, below are ways you can get involved with DPA:
- Can’t commit to fostering long term? That’s okay! DPA always needs temporary fosters, who help take care of animals in foster care when their foster family goes out of town. This is a great way to help take care of an animal in need with a set start and end date – and get some extra dog cuddles for the holidays! Fill out an application to learn more about the current temporary foster needs.
- Buy items from their Amazon wishlist, which includes collars, leashes, flea treatment and more.
- Pick a bone from their holiday crate to give to a dog in need! Visit the trees located at the Starbucks at Preston and Forest, Lync Cycling, Underdog Kennels, and Canterbury Episcopal School of DeSoto.
- Become a volunteer and help at special events near the holidays or year-round.
SPCA of Texas
The SPCA of Texas has two shelters and three spay/neuter clinics in Dallas and McKinney. The SPCA of Texas operates two managed intake shelters, animal welfare clinics, Animal Cruelty Investigations, educational and social outreach and offsite adoptions that ultimately help in finding homes and keeping animals in homes. It addition to dogs and cats, the SPCA of Texas has horses, pigs, sheep, birds, donkeys, ponies, cows, goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits, ferrets, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs and mice available for adoption. Ways you can support the SPCA of Texas include:
- Home for the Holidays at Northpark Center is one of my favorite holiday traditions! Buy a raffle ticket to win one of eighteen custom dog houses through
their Bark + Build competition. I love going to the mall to look at all the amazing dog houses and pick my favorites. And between November 27 and December 23, the Adoption Plaza near Macy’s has adoptable cats and dogs every day between 12 pm and 6 pm!
- Give a monetary gift to the Holiday Fund Drive
- Donate a Kuranda bed and give the gift of comfort while dogs are waiting for their forever homes. Purchase a bed through Kuranda’s website, and they’ll ship the bed directly to the shelter.
- Purchase an “Animal Friendly” license plate through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle. More than 70 percent of the specialty plate fee is dedicated toward organizational activities, programs or services.
- Sign up for a grocery program through Tom Thumb, Albertson’s, or Kroger. Just swipe your card or fob at checkout, and donation of your purchase will automatically be donated to the SPCA of Texas.
Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends is a nonprofit organization that operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals in Kanab, Utah and provides adoption, spay/neuter and educational programs throughout the United States. There are adoption centers in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Best Friends Animal Society’s No More Homeless Pets® Network includes more than 1,000 rescue organizations and municipal shelters throughout the country. You can support the work of Best Friends Animal Society by:
- Donate online
- Buy items from Amazon wishlists such as food, treats, toys, brooms, flashlights, and carriers.
- Sponsor an animal
- Visit and volunteer at the sanctuary in Kanab (this is on my must-do list!)
The United States War Dogs Association, Inc.
The United States War Dogs Association, Inc. supports US military working dogs accepts donations year round for the dogs and their human handlers.
Some of the canine items needed are:
- K9 Boots, Medium & Large
- K9 Doggles
- Collapsible Nylon Dog Bowls
- Kong 3” Rubber Balls
- K9 Grooming Tools-Combs, Brushes, etc.
- K9 Nail Clippers
- K9 Beds or Sleeping Mats
- K9 Blankets (Winter Months)
- Large Rope Chews
- Towels to wipe paws
Some of the human items needed are:
- Personal hygiene items such as razors, deodorant, dental floss, soap, shampoo and conditioner, nail clippers, q-tips and cotton balls
- Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa
- Powdered Gatorade
- Kraft Easy Mac
- Power Bars
- Dried Fruit
- Microwave popcorn
- Writing materials
- AAA, AA, C and D batteries
For more information on needed items and where to send donations, visit http://www.uswardogs.org/needed-items/.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world. The ASPCA focuses on national animal rescue, placement and protection. In addition to getting pets out of shelters and into loving homes, the ASPCA works to increase the protection of animals under existing laws and works to change laws for increased animal welfare. You can get involved with the ASPCA through:
- Make a financial donation
- Send a holiday honor gift, which includes a paper or e-greeting card
- Join Team ASPCA for a designated marathon, half marathon, bike tour or triathlon across the country and train while raising funds. Participating with Team ASPCA is even on my race bucket list!
- Create a personal Holiday Campaign page and share it with your family and friends to let them know that in lieu of gifts, you would like them to donate to the ASPCA.
This is in no way an exhaustive list of ways to get involved this holiday season. What are your favorite organizations and ways to support animals in need during the holiday season?