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3 Ways to Help Rescue Dogs

Andrew has a passion for helping rescue dogs in any way he can.

Foster, transport, or donate to help rescue dogs in your area.

Foster, transport, or donate to help rescue dogs in your area.

Options to Help Dogs Besides Adoption

If you have a big heart and love dogs like I do, but don't have the means to adopt (or maybe, like me, you're not quite ready to adopt just yet), you may want to pitch in and make a difference in a dog's life. The reward in knowing a dog has been saved is more than worth the investment of time, and two of these three tips cost nothing to do.

I'm going to use a few personal examples from my point of view, so you'll hear about Dachshunds quite a bit, but there are rescue organizations for every breed under the sun, and it's pretty easy to look them up. Get involved today with one of the following ways, and make a difference while feeling great!

Coco, our current foster.

Coco, our current foster.

Option 1: Foster a Dog

Fostering is a simple but dramatically direct, impactful way to help out one dog and see the result directly. I wasn't ready to adopt a dog at all after the death of my dog, Tiamat, several years ago, and we just recently experienced another heart-wrenching death in our family as our dog Hallie passed away. Knowing all this, we aren't especially interested in adopting a new dog just now, and there have been other various circumstances that might have kept you from being able to adopt as well.

Enter the concept of fostering. The idea is simple: you provide a home for a dog while the rescue organization is looking for a "forever home" for said dog. This has been a popular course of action for us over the last year and a half, and your fostering could be as short as a few days or as long as a few months, if you're nursing a dog back to health after surgery (as we did in the case of Coco, pictured above).

Generally, the rescue org will pay for any necessary surgery if you're the foster, but check with whatever organization you're planning to work with first. The Dachshund Rescue of North America has a good network of home checkers and fosters that you can become a part of right now, or if another breed of dog tugs on your heartstrings, just let your fingers do the walking and do a little research. The Internet is such a great tool for saving dogs' lives!

Perrin, our current foster, has a unique and loveable personality.

Perrin, our current foster, has a unique and loveable personality.

Bailey, one of our first fosters.

Bailey, one of our first fosters.

Option 2: Help Transport Rescue Dogs

Do you have a car? If so, another simple but really effective option is to become part of a "doggie caravan" (my words; don't use this around serious rescue folks). The transport is a crucial step in the adoption process, as the networking power of the web finds homes for dogs in other cities and states frequently. This means that there is a lot of driving between places that has to be done.

Transporting dogs is like speed dating in many ways. You quickly get to know a new dog (or two, or three) during your drive, and you get to spend a lot of intimate "quality time" in the car with the dogs in question. Many times, the rescue dogs will just sleep through most of the drive, but either way, you'll have a potty and water break and you'll get to meet these fortunate little guys (and maybe play and/or cuddle just a little).

Our Foster, Twopert

Option 3: Donate to a Rescue

Sometimes time is at a premium, but you can spare a few bucks. I've certainly been there at various stages of my life. A great option in this case is to simply donate directly to the organization of your choice. In this case, it pays to do a little research to make sure the organization is reputable (most are), and you'll obviously want your funds to go to an organization where your donation will have some impact on dogs you love. Again, we've worked with the DRNA in the past, having an affinity for Dachshunds, but there are literally hundreds of other organizations out there if Dobermans or Chihuahuas are your thing.

Donate even just a few bucks today, and your doggie karma back will immediately go up a few points. You'll feel rewarded, and you'll know that your donation will be used wisely, where it's needed the most, by the organization. Helping to save lives is its own reward!

Me with Hallie and Perrin. Hallie (RIP) and Perrin, two dogs who benefited tremendously from rescue organizations.

Me with Hallie and Perrin. Hallie (RIP) and Perrin, two dogs who benefited tremendously from rescue organizations.

The Reward

If you're not certain you want to own a dog for years, but really love dogs, and you're willing to put in the time to give these dogs a great home, fostering has amazing rewards.

Fostering is an amazing experience every single time, getting to know a dog's unique personality, and then knowing they're finding a great home. Transporting gives a much briefer, but still intimate look into a dog's life. Every single dog we've helped transport has been really sweet, and some have stayed the night at our house, waiting for the next leg of the run. Donating is less personal, but still provides knowledge that lives are being saved. Start filling your doggie karma bank today!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2014 Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith (author) from Richmond, VA on September 03, 2014:

Thanks, Mel! It's all about the big picture, and it isn't ever easy.

Melody Lassalle from California on September 03, 2014:

I have so much respect for people who foster. I'm such a softie that I am attached emotionally before the first 5 minutes are up. It is wonderful that you do this.

Andrew Smith (author) from Richmond, VA on August 23, 2014:

Thanks, guys. It has been so rewarding.

Angela F from Seattle, WA on August 23, 2014:

Love the idea of volunteering as a doggie caravan. There's a special place in heaven for those that dedicate themselves to helping animals.

Shasta Matova from USA on August 23, 2014:

These are great ways to help dogs when you aren't ready to get your own dog. Helping out a friend or neighbor with their dogs is another way - you can give them walks or take care of them while the neighbor is out.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on August 21, 2014:

Nice hub. Would love to foster dogs but sad to say dogs are not on my husbands list.

Andrew Smith (author) from Richmond, VA on August 21, 2014:

Thanks, Rhonda and Hentaiclone! Couldn't agree more. It's a very rewarding experience all around.

Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on August 21, 2014:

It's so sad to think of how many abandoned animals need homes. Fostering is a wonderful way to help out and you gain a friend for life. What could be better? Love the pictures here, very cute.

Hentaiclone on August 21, 2014:

Fostering is extremely rewarding and without fosters, rescue groups simply can't help animals! Please consider fostering!