If you’re an animal lover and you’re looking for valuable ways to spend your summer months, here are easy things you can do to help your local animal shelter.

Donate your time. If you have time off this summer, volunteering for an animal shelter is the best way to get involved. Animal shelters mostly need help with cleaning cages and caring for animals. If you’re looking to shed some extra weight, a lot of shelters need help walking dogs. This is great exercise for both you and the dogs. Not a dog person? Cats need exercise and socialization, too. You can brush cats, play with them, or just get them out of their cages and have some lap time.

Donate your skills. If you have a hobby or special talent, an animal shelter could use your services. Taking photos or videos of animals to help them get adopted on websites like Craigslist or Petfinder or highlighting one on your Facebook or Twitter page can really benefit the animals. Maybe you’re great at fundraising. Use your skills to help an animal shelter in need.

Foster a pet. If you have time and space in your home to temporarily foster a shelter animal, it can be a big help to an animal shelter, especially in the summer months. Some animals need fostering due to illness or injuries, while others are simply too young to get adopted and need some time in a home before they can return to the shelter. This time of year, foster parents are especially needed for mom cats and their kittens. Longing for the days of your newborn baby? Foster baby kitties who need to be bottle fed every few hours, and it will take you right back. To read more about becoming a foster parent for kittens at Animal Shelter Assistance Program in Santa Barbara, visit http://www.asapcats.org/volunteer/fostering.html

Donate part of your wedding registry. Instead of registering for dishware and fancy china, you can have a page set up so guests can donate to a shelter instead of purchasing a wedding gift.

Make a donation instead of giving party favors. Another alternative is to forgo the wedding gifts for guests in place of donations. For my wedding 10 years ago, my husband and I opted to donate to an area spay/neuter clinic in lieu of sending wedding guests home with favors. You can also do this for children’s parties. Sending home goody bags with toys that get broken almost instantly is a waste. Instead, send home a picture of a cat, dog, rabbit, or guinea pig that you helped save by giving a donation.

Donate your pets’ old items. Animal shelters can always use pet supplies. Usually, pet beds and blankets are one of the top items that shelters need. They can also make use of gently used toys, leashes, collars, food and water bowls, and grooming tools. Check out your area animal shelter’s webpage, as most have a wishlist.

Donate household items. Animal shelters can also use supplies other than pet supplies. Newspapers, paper towels, old towels, blankets, and hand sanitizer can always come in handy for a shelter full of pets.


On Saturday, June 29, CARE4Paws hosts another free vaccine event for dogs and cats in Lompoc at Miller Landscaping (1321 E. Ocean Ave.), from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Owners will have a chance to sign their pets up for a free spay or neuter and to learn about CARE4Paws’ many other services. Flea medication will be available for a donation. For more information, please visit: care4paws.org

Adoptable Pets of the Week

Bella & Lucy

Bella & Lucy are young girls under a year old who are both sweet and easy to handle. They are devoted to each other and love to run laps together around an exercise pen. They are very expressive to each other, Lucy being the small, shy one and Bella usually the boss. Give these two girls plenty of room to roam and explore and they will provide hours of entertainment.

Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (BUNS) is a volunteer organization that cares for abandoned rabbits. BUNS works to find bunnies permanent homes, and educates the public on caring for a companion rabbit. BUNS is located at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road. Call the County Shelter at (805) 681-5285 or call BUNS at (805) 683-0521 and leave a message for someone to call you back. For more information, visit www.bunssb.org


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