One of the most rewarding things in life is a selfless act. In today’s greed-soaked culture, volunteering may seem like an anachronism, but volunteers are needed now more than ever. When you give a little  extra time (and a lot of heart), you will be rewarded tenfold. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!

Love animals? Want to make a difference? How about helping out at your local animal shelter. If you don’t have extra time to spend, you could always make a donation. Trust me, it won’t go to waste. Approximately 8-12 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year, and an astonishing 60% of dogs and 70% of cats are euthanized each year. With numbers as depressing as these, these defenseless animals can use all the help they can get.

So, how can you help these animals? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Consider adopting a dog or cat instead of a puppy or kitten. Older animals are more likely to be housetrained and socialized, but less likely to be adopted, just because they’ve passed the “cute” stage.
  • Break the cycle of unwanted pets by having your pets spayed and neutered, and encouraging your family and friends to do the same.
  • If you don’t know where your local animal shelter is, browse on over to and plug in your information. It’s as easy as that!
  • Now that you know where your local shelter is, visit it at your earliest possible convenience and ask how you can help out.
  • If you aren’t able to adopt, consider volunteering your time. Shelters are always in need of people to clean cages and socialize with the animals. Think about it: an animal is much more likely to be adopted if it knows a few tricks, or is friendly, at the very least. Think of it as saving a life!
  • If you have lots of extra time, and a little room in your home, consider volunteering to be a pet foster parent. The pet will stay with you, in a real home in stead of a dreary cage, and you get their love and affection until a forever home is found.
  • Volunteer to bottle feed baby cats and dogs. In most cases, when animals that need to be bottlefed arrive at a shelter, they are immediately euthanized, if no one can be found to care for them. This is a huge commitment, but it also has huge rewards.

We adopted our dog, Sammie, from the local shelter three years ago. She’s a Border Collie/Dalmatian mix, and the sweetest dog I have ever met. She’s also very smart, and a wonderful addition to our family. Here she is, our Super Sammie: