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Volunteering can make a huge difference in the life of a shelter dog

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Even if you can’t adopt a shelter dog, you can still make a huge difference in her quality of life — and perhaps play a role in helping her to find a “forever family.”

According to Jennifer Viegas, managing editor of The Dog Daily, there are many ways you can help. Adoption is preferred of course, but if being a permanent pet parent isn’t feasible, consider fostering puppies or sick dogs temporarily until they are healthy and/or old enough to be adoptable.

Consider donating your professional services to a local shelter. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, and a professional photographer can help pets who are waiting for adoption to “present at their best.” With more and more shelters turning to websites to show prospective pet parents their available pets, quality photos are a great asset.

If you’re skilled in dog grooming, consider donating some time each week to help bathe and groom the shelter dogs — they’ll consider it their “spa” day, and they’ll consider you their BFF.

Many shelters also need services such as electrical work, plumbing, and general handyman skills. Consider donating a few hours each week or each month to help keep the facilities up to par and the pets comfortable.

Playtime is great for both kids and dogs. If you have dog-friendly toys that your kids or grandkids no longer use, consider donating them to a local pet shelter. Ditto for old blankets and towels. Even dog crates used for traveling can be re-cycled and used by a pet shelter.

For dog lovers who perhaps don’t live in “pet friendly” apartments, here’s a great idea. Become a shelter volunteer and spend an hour or so each day walking or playing with the dogs. You’ll brighten the dog’s day, and as a bonus, you’ll be on the receiving end of that wonderous thing called puppy love.

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