How Can YOU Help?

There is much YOU can do to help!

1. Find out what is happening in your local shelter. If it is a publicly funded shelter, then you have a say in what happens there. After all, these are your tax dollars at work. Start by asking questions – how many animals do they handle each year? What are the outcomes – how many are adopted, reclaimed, transferred to rescue, or destroyed? Do they accept stray animals, owner surrenders, or dogs brought in by Animal Control or law enforcement? What is the average stay for a dog at their facility? Are they vaccinated? Spayed/neutered? tested and treated for Heartworm (and then given preventative)? Dewormed? Is there a foster program? Volunteer program? Dog enrichment program?

If you don’t like the answers to any of these questions, SAY something. Change won’t happen unless people advocate for it. Better yet, get involved. Good shelters and rescues have active volunteer programs and will welcome your help with dog enrichment, adoption events, grant-writing, marketing, social media, and fundraising, plus many other programs. There is something everyone can do to help their local shelter, no matter their skill level or talents.

2. Learn your local dog laws. Visit site to learn about the laws in your state. If you don’t agree with the current laws or believe a shelter/rescue/dog owner is violating any of them — SAY something to your local officials, your local paper, your community organizations. As Margarent Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

3. If you are looking for a new pet, choose to rescue from a shelter or rescue. If you know someone else looking for a new pet, encourage them to adopt. Share your adopted pet and its story everywhere you go and online. We need to make adoption the first option for everyone looking to add a new pet to their family.

The problem is not a pet overpopulation problem; it is a logistical and marketing problem. At any given moment, there are more people looking to add a new pet to their family than there are dogs in shelters. If just half of those people who plan to buy a dog, instead adopted one, our shelters would be emptied in a day. Imagine that.

3. If you have room in your heart and your home to foster an animal —do it! If you want to know more about fostering for a shelter or rescue, visit or contact your local shelter or rescue.

4. If you can’t volunteer, foster, or adopt, right now, you can still support your local shelters and rescues not just monetarily, but by donating supplies, making dog toys, or helping to spread the word by being active in their social media activities. There are lots of directions online for making simple dog toys that can brighten a shelter dog’s stay and keep kennel stress at bay. See what your local shelter or rescue needs, and/or donate to one of the shelters on our list.

On every shelter tour, we take along donated items like food, treats, dewormers, and flea/tick preventatives, plus bags and bags of handmade dog toys made by local families, library groups, and scout troops. You can help us by making toys or purchasing items from our Amazon wishlist and we will take them directly to the shelters on our next trip.

5. If you’d like to help some of the deserving shelters and rescues we’ve visited, check out our list. These are shelters we endorse because they are doing good things and deserve your support. Not every one of them can be labeled no-kill (yet!) but we cannot wait until a shelter has achieved that status to start helping them. They need our help now.

We’ve provided information on each of the places we have visited, including a link to the story of our visit with them. Look them up on social media, follow, comment, and support. Check out their Amazon wishlist and donate when you can (this makes a great ‘alternative’ gift for the people who have everything). If a particular organization speaks to your heart — get involved and help them any way you can. For many involved in rescue in the south, it can be a lonely and disheartening business, your support can make a difference. Adopting one of these shelters is a great project for any group, family, or dog-hearted individual. Some are willing to work with ‘virtual volunteers,’ and we’d be happy to connect you.

6. If you’d like to support the work of Who Will Let the Dogs Out, consider making a donation to our work. We are all volunteers, so every penny you donate goes towards our mission of raising awareness for homeless dogs and the heroes who fight for them. You can send donations to WHO WILL LET THE DOGS OUT c/o Cara Achterberg, 128 W High St, Woodstock, VA 22664. We hope to have an online donation button functional soon!