It’s Be Kind to Animals Week. There are many ways to help animals, but why should you? Here are a few reasons:
Get a tax deduction next year. If you make a monetary donation to your local Animal Control Shelter (dog pound) or a local 501(c)3 non-profit, no-kill rescue group, you get a tax deduction at the same time. Or, sign up as a volunteer to help walk the dogs, cuddle the cats or sweep up the kennels. Your time and mileage are tax-deductible.
Teach your children compassion. Bring the little darlings along when you volunteer at the pound or at a shelter. Give some time at an adoption event or fund-raiser, and get the kids to help you help the shelter. If the youngsters don’t want to help, make them. Within an hour, we bet the charm of the animals will overcome your children’s resistance. Even if all you do is have the kids hold a puppy or baby rabbit for the public to meet, you will help your children learn to handle animals gently. They may even enjoy the role of protector, making sure that visitors to the adoption booth do not mishandle the pets.
If you can neither volunteer nor donate money, you can still get a tax deduction – and still have a chance to teach your children something – by shopping for items on your local shelter or pound’s wish list. They all have them. Get your children to help you choose items at the store, then ask them to help you take the items to the shelter.
Do you have a special skill? If you can sew, paint, build or have a knack for marketing, your skills may come in useful at your local shelter. Yes, your efforts are tax deductible.
No skills? Don’t want to volunteer because it is too hard on your heart to know how many perfectly healthy dogs, cats and other pets are killed in shelters each year? Try transporting. Often, a pet rescued from Animal Control, or in foster care at a rescue agency, finds the perfect home – out of town. When that happens, rescues line up transports to get the pet from their shelter to the pet’s new or “forever” home. Transports can be as short as an hour or two to transfer from one side of the county to another, or as long as several days, crossing the entire country.
Transports are broken into “legs” of about an hour or so. The volunteer meets whoever has the prior leg and takes the pet and the pet’s paperwork and other accoutrements (some transporters like to add a toy or other gift to the pet’s travel bag on every transport). The transporter drives to the next rendezvous to pass the pet to the next driver, and so on. In most cases, transporters buy their own gas. Guess what? These trips are tax deductible, too!
Believe it or not, spaying or neutering your pet is a true act of kindness. Your pet will live longer, and you will never feel the guilt of adding more unwanted puppies or kittens to the millions slaughtered every year in shelters that are brimming over with unwanted pets. Most cities have a low-cost spay/neuter program somewhere. Call one of your local rescue groups or Animal Control to find out where.
And last but certainly not least, never turn away from animal abuse. Report it. Speak up. Speak out. Do something. Make Be Kind to Animals Week a year-long effort.