Last Friday,, the online footwear retailer, went above and beyond Black Friday deals. From BlackFriday to Cyber Monday, Zappos covered the cost of adopting a dog or cat from over 150 no-kill shelters across the nation as part of a campaign the company called “Home for the Pawlidayz.” In addition, for every pet adopted as part of the four-day event, Zappos donated an additional $150 to Best Friends Animal Society.

Lisa Acho Remorenko

Although it’s too late to cash in on the Zappos adoption deal, it’s not too late to make a difference with your wallet this holiday season. Here are some humane gift giving ideas for the holidays:

Give a lonely dog a toy. If you donate $12 to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), they will give a lonesome dog a dog. PETA case workers see companion dogs who are forced to sit outside all day long. With your donation, PETA will give a durable toy, which will offer some joy to these lonely dogs. For more information, visit: PETA

Give a gift of support to the International Rescue Committee, and they will help provide critical assistance to refugee families around the world, starting at $25. For example, a gift of just $25 can ensure critical supplies and assistance that will help make childbirth safer for refugee mothers. In the midst of war or the aftermath of a natural disaster, mothers all around the world are giving birth in places where hospitals have been destroyed and doctors are in short supply. The teams at the IRC make sure women can deliver babies safely despite the uncertainty and chaos around them. You can choose to give a gift that you are passionate about – anything from mosquito netting to a new classroom. You choose the gift; the IRC will print and send a beautiful card — which includes your personalized dedication and description of how that gift helps refugees — to each gift recipient. For more information, visit: IRC

Adopt an endangered animal through Defenders of Wildlife. This is one of my favorite gifts to give, especially to children. The Defenders of Wildlife have 30 endangered animals you can choose from to adopt. You can adopt a single animal or an entire family. Adoptions are a wonderful way to protect endangered wild animals and share the importance of conservation. With the adoption, you receive a cuddly plush animal, activity booklet, personalized certificate of adoption, 5×7 photo, animal fact sheet and eco-friendly reusable tote. Named “America’s Best Wildlife Charity” by Reader’s Digest, Defenders of Wildlife has been a leading innovator in developing the most effective ways to conserve imperiled wildlife and wilderness for over 65 years. Your adoption donation will immediately be put to use where it is most needed to achieve these goals. For more information on adopting an endangered animal, visit: WILDLIFE

Give to local charities in lieu of gifts. Instead of giving physical gifts this holiday season, why not donate to a local charity in honor of your recipient. Most charities will mail your gift recipient a notification upon request. You can also avoid traffic and long lines as most of these charities allow for on-line donations. Here are some local animal charities in Santa Barbara to choose from:







Santa Barbara Humane Society: SBHS

It’s okay to give animals as gifts. Yes, you read that right. Although many animal shelters still have policies that state that pets should not be adopted as gifts based on the longstanding belief that animals who weren’t specifically chosen by their new owners may be considered less valuable. However, a 2013 study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that there is no correlation between getting an animal as a gift and an owner’s love and attachment to the pet – even if that pet was a surprise gift – and there was no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as gifts.​ According to the ASPCA, “These are exciting findings that may help open new adoption options for shelters, allowing more animals to be placed in loving homes.” The ASPCA recommends the giving of pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and who have the ability to care for it responsibly. If you aren’t sure if your recipient is ready for a pet, place a stuffed animal in a box filled with needed pet supplies – food, leashes, toys, etc. Then you can suggest a trip to your local humane society to adopt a pet if your recipient is ready.

By thinking of others during this holiday shopping season, you will not only save lives, but you will also share the gift of compassion with those you care about!


Kids Craft for Shelter Pets

On December 12th, local nonprofit C.A.R.E.4Paws invites kids to its first holiday toy-making project for adoptable dogs and cats at three Santa Barbara shelters. At the event, which takes place from 10am to 12:30pm at Santa Barbara Humane Society’s Education Center (5399 Overpass Road), children age five and older will be creating different toys to help keep dog and cats busy and happy while they wait for a forever home. Kids under five who accompany their older siblings will be able to draw and paint rocks.

Once the toys are made, a small group of children will be able to join the C.A.R.E.4Paws team to hand the goodies out to animals at the Santa Barbara County shelter, Santa Barbara Humane Society and ASAP (Animal Shelter Assistance Program).

We ask kids to bring a used t-shirt, towel and a pair of hole-free socks that we will use for the projects. If kids and parents want to make a donation, we are grateful for Kong toys of any size. RSVP by December 7 or 805-968-2273.

C.A.R.E.4Paws works to reduce pet overpopulation and keep animals out of shelters in Santa Barbara County. For more information, visit CARE4PAWS


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