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Helping Dog Rescue Shelters Without Adopting

dog rescue shelters
Have you ever wondered how you can help a dog rescue shelter without adopting a dog? Helping dog rescue shelters can be very rewarding for you and the dogs, and there are many ways you can help.

Many people for various reasons are not able to adopt a dog as they might live in an apartment that doesn’t allow dogs or they travel often. Below you will find ways that you can help without adopting!


You can find many ways to help dog rescue shelters. Cash donations are always needed, especially for veterinarian fees as all of the dogs at the shelter will see a veterinarian to make sure they are healthy and they have had all of their shots.

Some dogs that come to the shelter have injuries and some are sick. It takes money for treatments and medicines to nurse the dogs back to health.

Below are more ways you can help a shelter without adopting a dog, and no, you don’t have to have money to help. Some ways do require money, but many just require your time.


Donations of water and food bowls, toys, leashes, collars, grooming tools, and beds are needed. Other needs include food for the puppies and the dogs, treats, paper towels, office supplies, laundry detergent, trash bags, old towels, blankets, and sheets.


dog transport Transporters are needed to take dogs to visit the veterinarian for their health care and sometimes dogs are moved from one shelter to another shelter.

Some shelters have long distance adoptions, where there will be many transporters that coordinate together to travel long distances. Each transporter will drive around 50 to 100 miles to meet the next transporter.

Social Media Sharing

Social media sharing is another way to help. Connect with dog rescue shelters on social media and share their posts with your friends and family, and encourage them to share the post also.

Take Photos

Take photos of the dogs that are available for adoption and try to capture unique and interesting photos to draw attention to them to help find their forever home. Shelters will also need someone to write interesting details about each dog to post with their pictures.

Computer Work

Are you good with a computer? You can create posts on social media to look for prospective adopters and also perform data entry. Talk to the shelter staff to see what their current needs are and how you can help.

Dog Walker

Become a dog walker at a dog rescue shelter. All dogs need walking each day and you could free up some time for the shelter workers to be doing other things. You will both benefit from the exercise.

Play and Teach

dog - playingDogs need to play, especially younger dogs and puppies. Spend some time playing with the dogs and puppies to help them release their energy and teach them some basic commands to help them to be more adoptable.

Dog Washing or Grooming

Give a dog a bath or be a dog groomer. Dogs need brushing to remove loose hair and some dogs will need to have their hair trimmed periodically. All of the dogs need to look their best for those wanting to adopt a dog.

Foster Homes

Quite often the shelters are full and temporary foster homes are needed. Providing a foster home  means you will bring a dog into your home temporarily while they are waiting for their forever home, for a few days or months. Talk to the shelter staff about your availability.

Some shelters will allow for weekend foster homes for people who are very busy during the week, but have free time on the weekends. The dogs will get time away from the shelter and will be able to live inside a home. It will also be a chance to work on socialization skills. The one on one attention is excellent for the dogs.

Professional Skills

Offer your professional skills whether you are a lawyer, an accountant, or a carpenter. Shelters need people with a wide variety of skills to help the shelter run smoothly and find good homes for the dogs.

So, what are you waiting for? Give a call to a shelter near you and find out how you can help and what they need. As you can see, there are many ways to help dog rescue shelters without adopting and helping the dogs is very rewarding. It will make you feel fantastic!

Feel free to leave a comment below. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

Shop Clothing To Save Animals at The Animal Rescue Site! Every Purchase Funds At Least 14 Bowls Of Food For Shelter Animals In Need! Another way to help shelter animals without adopting!



  1. This is both an informative and useful post. Useful as it tells you all the different ways that you can help out with a dog shelter. I didn’t know that there were so many ways to help. One friend of mine does advertise a dog shelter on social media. I am not able to look after a dog, so it is good to read that I can do something. Thank you for explaining all the different ways.

    • Alice

      August 26, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Many people are not able to care for a dog, but there are so many other ways they can help. That’s great that your friend helps through social media. Shelters are always in need and there are many ways to help.

  2. Great ideas for pet lovers. I volunteered at Best Friends Animal Shelter–a no kill shelter. I had one dog and decided to “foster” another. I purposely did not want to pick out the dog. I just asked for a small dog that needed extra care. She had a luxating petella and it was being decided if she would need surgery. Well, she was a “foster failure”! I couldn’t give her up!

    • Alice

      August 26, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I love hearing stories about “foster failures”! It is so easy to get attached and I am sure she was very grateful to you. You are a special person for helping a dog that needs extra care!

  3. This is such a great article. I would never have thought of sharing photos on social media or volunteering to walk the dogs in the shelter. Dogs are social animals and they benefit greatly from interaction and affection. Thanks for the tips on how to help.

    • Alice

      August 27, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad your liked the article and you discovered ways that you can help a shelter. Shelters are very busy and they can use all of the help they can get.

  4. Lots of good information here. I live in Thailand and the country from top to bottom has a serious issue with stray dogs being out on the street (soi dogs). More often than not the dogs are harmless, however there can be times when they group together in packs and become threatening.

    There are dog shelters to help contain the problem and some of these suggestion here are ideal to prevent the situation getting out of hand.

    • Alice

      September 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Many countries have issues with stray dogs like describe Thailand. I am glad to hear that there are shelters to help these dogs although most shelters need lots of help. I wrote this post because so many people don’t realize there are many ways to help shelters without adopting.

  5. These are great ideas! And I never knew you could foster just on weekends. Or they might want someone to write and share social media posts for their pets … or a couple other things that I’m like HEY, I can do that! I have long wanted to be of help to my local shelters, but haven’t committed because of one thing or another in life. This fall I think things will be lined up for me to FINALLY be able to do it! And I’m excited. Reading this article has got be pumped up to do it and eager to do even more than I thought I could!

    • Alice

      August 21, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      I’m really glad my article helped you discover new ways to help animal shelters! I love the idea of weekend fosters because it is open to more people that could not commit to fostering every day. Dogs that get to spend time in foster homes have an easier adjustment period when they are adopted making them more likely to remain in the home. Best wishes!

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