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Pets: 5 Ways to Donate to Animal Shelters

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Muddy feet, slobbery kisses, squeaky toys, unconditional love ... you might think that I'm talking about kids and everything that they add to life. What if I told you that before I had a child, my life was filled with all of these wonderful things? How? Thanks to our furbabies, our two rescue dogs, our home is always filled with so much love and happiness. When PEDIGREE reached out and asked for my #DogTales story in support of rescue dogs, I couldn't wait to share it.

girl with dog

The moment when my husband and I started living together, we knew that one of the first things that we were going to bring into our home was going to be a dog. We were both raised in homes with dogs and wanted to bring a furry companion into our life as we started this new chapter of our lives.

Did you know that more than four million dogs enter shelters each year? Knowing that so many dogs were awaiting their forever home, I jumped onto PetFinder.com to research the dogs in our area that were available for adoption. After attending an adoption event at a local tractor supply store, we soon found ourselves at home with an eight-week-old furbaby of our own named Caster. After a year of playing fetch, going for walks, handing out treats, and teaching tricks, we knew that we brought home something very special. We couldn't have imagined our lives without Caster ... and I couldn't imagine my life without a second dog in our home.

My husband, knowing that I was such a big dog lover, wanted to support my need for another dog but also knew that bringing a second dog into our home was going to be a huge responsibility. To help stall the decision a little bit longer, he put me up to a challenge, "We can adopt another dog when you find one that looks exactly like Caster."

After spending a few hours on PetFinder.com, I came across Tugboat's photo. He was a six-month-old version of Caster. I emailed the animal shelter and inquired about Tugboat and quickly learned that he was going to be at an adoption event during the upcoming weekend. My husband couldn't believe how quickly I found Tugboat. I couldn't believe that we were going to adopt a second dog.

That weekend, we found ourselves sitting on a bench during the adoption event, chatting with about all of the cute dogs that we saw while walking into the store, when all of a sudden Tugboat rounded the corner. I took one look at my husband and asked, "Can we take him home with us?" His jaw just about hit the floor when he replied, "Is that even a question?" We knew that we found our second dog and his name was Tugboat.

Tugboat looked sad. Tugboat looked like he had seen better days. Tugboat looked ... broken. Usually, when dogs greet people, their tails are wagging, their tongues are full of kisses, and their backs are waiting to be scratched. As for Tugboat, he showed no signs of emotion. We had a feeling that this dog had quite a story to tell.

The shelter volunteer explained to us that Tugboat spent two months in the shelter and then was adopted by a family. After two months of staying with that family, he soon found himself back at the shelter. We met him two months later. Supposedly, the family couldn't live with him because he was "too afraid of strangers." My husband and I had a feeling that there was more to the story but never heard all of the details. We knew that he was ours to keep. We knew that he would find comfort in our home. We knew that we would show this dog how to love and trust again.

It is now six years later and Tugboat is a completely different dog. Instead of fearing strangers, he greets them at our door with a wagging tail. Instead of running to hide in the corner when we have something in our hands, he stays put. Instead of not having trust in people, he gives us loving kisses and protects our child.

Caster and Tugboat are two of the best decisions that my husband and I have made. We cannot imagine our lives without them. If you're in search of a true companion, please know that "unconditional love is as close as your nearest shelter."

Caster and Tugboat FINAL

5 Ways to Donate to Animal Shelters

If you're unable to adopt an animal or simply want to know how to help animals who are in need, here are simple ways to offer your love and support.

1. Drop Off Extra Supplies

Animal shelters are always in need of extra supplies. From blankets to toys, towels to wash cloths, plastic bags to cleaning supplies, look around your home and see if you have any new, gently-used, or even old supplies that you can donate to your local shelter. It's always best to contact your local shelter to see what items are on their wish list.

2. Send Money

An easy way to donate to an animal shelter is to send money, even if it's just a few dollars. Many animal shelters have a wish list of items that they need for their facility and the animals within the facility. Even though it's great to drop off supplies, the monetary donation will help pay for shots and other items that might not be on the wish list. You can make monetary donations in-person, by check, or online (where applicable).

3. Volunteer at a Local Shelter

Many animal shelters need help from volunteers when it comes to caring for the animals and cleaning the facility. There are plenty of ways that you and your family members can help a shelter. Be sure to contact your local shelter to learn more about ways to help.

4. Offer Your Skills

Are you a skilled photographer? Do you love to make videos? There are many sites that showcase pets that are available for adoption. A great photo on a pet’s profile will make the animal more likely to catch an adopter’s eye and bring the person into the shelter. Contact your local shelter to see how you can offer your skills to help an animal get adopted.

5. Share your #DogTale Story

PEDIGREE® is proud to launch its new See what good food can do.™ campaign that showcases the impact we can all make in dogs’ lives, especially shelter dogs, with some extra attention, good food, and loving care. Every time dog lovers tell their tale of what their dog means to them, using #DogTales on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, PEDIGREE® will donate a bowl of food to a shelter in need. Good food can change the lives of shelter dogs. With America’s help, we can all make a difference and can fuel more dogs’ journeys home. Together, we can see the impact that good food can make in the life of a shelter dog. For more information, please visit Pedigree.com or Facebook.com/Pedigree.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by PEDIGREE. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photo Credit: The top photo is courtesy of Flickr

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Jen Tilley

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