Whole Dog Journal's Blog November 15, 2011

How do you decide which animal-related charities to support?

Posted at 08:47AM - Comments: (34)

At this time of year, we are all besieged with pleas for charitable contributions of every kind. Chances are, if you have ever given money to even one animal-related charity, the following year, you found yourself receiving solicitations from dozens of them. Then you have to choose which organizations deserve – or can do the most – with your donations.

There are so many to choose from. There are national organizations that focus on legal issues affecting pets and pet owners, groups that work for improving conditions for animals that are used for food production, and of course an endless array of shelters and “rescue” groups. All of them accomplish something; all of them have animal lovers at the helm. And I’ll bet most of us do donate some amount of money to at least one of them.

How do you decide which organization to donate money (or time or goods) to? I invite you to either share your method or reason for your choice, or to make a “pitch” to WDJ readers for the animal-related charity of your choice.

I’ll go first:

For the past few years, all of my charitable donations have gone to the Northwest SPCA, the animal shelter that is closest to my home, and that serves the town where I live as well as all of the unincorporated areas in this county. I do this so that my donations can directly affect the quality of life and services available to the animals in my community. I know, trust, and admire the shelter director, and can directly observe that the animals in the shelter are well taken care of. Oh! And they don’t share their mailing list with any other animal-related charities  ;)

What about you?

Comments (33)

As a volunteer for Patriot PAWS I donate my time & money to help in the raising & training of service dogs for our wounded veterans' mobility disabilities. We just placed 3 service dogs with veterans this month and all three were rescue dogs! It is absolutely amazing how these service dogs give new hope & courage to our soldiers that have sacrified so much for our country. I find it very rewarding to contribute both time & money, & be able to see the results in such a powerful way. One of the vets called his new service dog "an angel with four paws!".

Posted by: Unknown | November 14, 2012 3:14 PM    Report this comment

For me, it is Schipperke Rescue Net, Lancaster PA which helps rescue, get medical care and long term foster of schips that are older or are turned into their organization. My other main donation is Batworld Sanctuary in Texas as they care for retired zoo fruit bats and insecteating bats who cannot be released into the wild. As I am able, I also support flying fox rescue in Australia with monetary or needed supplies. I will also send donations to certain breed rescue groups (Westie, Cairn, Wire fox terrier) as family has had these breeds, so it is done in memory or honor of the pet.

Posted by: Sharon W | November 8, 2012 9:15 PM    Report this comment

1. Refuge for Saving the Wildlife www.rescuethebirds.org/ a not-for-profit, no-kill parrot rescue, rehabilitation, education and adoption shelter
2. Best Friends Animal Society bestfriends.org mission is to bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets (also assisting in the Sandy relief efforts)
3. Service Dog organizations.

Posted by: lsabatini | November 7, 2012 10:26 AM    Report this comment

I would never support HSUS. I contacted them about heart sticking euthanasia and was told that as long as it is done properly it was acceptable. Since heart sticking is not regulated it is rarely done properly and it is quite cruel. I give to MFA (Mercy for Animals) and IDA (In Defense of Animals)because they not only save animals from cruelty but they try to get laws enacted that protect animals. All types of animals are saved not just cats and dogs. IDA also helps in emergency situations such as Katrina or Sandy. I love both groups.

Posted by: Patricia P | November 7, 2012 9:22 AM    Report this comment

We donate to the charities that are closest to our hearts. At the moment that is the greyhound rescue that all my adopted hounds have come from and the Ohio State Greyhound Health and Wellness Program in honor of my heart dog Girly Girl who lost her battle to osteosarcoma. Would love to be able to donate to others but the budget only goes so far.

Posted by: YIKMDLF | November 6, 2012 2:26 PM    Report this comment

I urge everyone who wants to help animals to donate to their local rescues. They are the ones who save and rehome animals. They are volunteering their time and service - not drawing six-figure salaries like the HSUS executives. AND most importantly, they do not support kill shelters or animal abusers like Michael Vick. The HSUS gives less than 1% of the millions of dollars it raises to shelters and they support kill shelters. Please learn more about them before you donate.

Posted by: ltrunell | November 6, 2012 2:05 PM    Report this comment

I volunteer in rescue, so I always go with donations to my local rescue. I ask others to donate to my rescue in lieu of gifts. I also ask what rescues they want to support, as a gift for them (animal loving friends, only of course). Small rescues are all volunteer run and need all the help they can get. Though someone offering to foster vs a cash donation would be an even better gift!

I've also had a dog touched by lymphoma, so I support The Magic Bullet Fund and Paws for a Cure. They both help those that cannot afford cancer treatment for their dogs.

The big orgs will always have people to donate. It's too bad charitynavigator leaves off all the little guys, so it makes research hard. Definitely requires homework for those unfamiliar with local rescues / charity.

Note you can also ask friends and family, and you can do this yourself, to see if your favorite charity is signed up with igive. If you visit your favorite online stores through igive, a portion of your spend goes to that charity, at NO COST to you. :)

Posted by: bkdice | November 6, 2012 12:03 PM    Report this comment

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours online researching this very issue--I wanted to help the animals made homeless by Hurricane Sandy. I ended up sending money to the Humane Society of the US. They are helping, although I would have preferred to fund shelters more directly affected. I didn't find any info about them--probably because their volunteers are too busy for PR. I also make a monthly contribution to the ASPCA, but I told them up front that if they wasted my money mailing further solicitations I would discontinue doing so. Some groups honor that request, but not the ASPCA, so I'm going to stop and work on finding a deserving local group.

Posted by: Deborah B | November 6, 2012 11:55 AM    Report this comment


Posted by: Kristi N | November 6, 2012 11:14 AM    Report this comment

I live in Canada, used to support Local SPCA until I found out that they attempt to save animals from all kinds of situations but still in some areas they have shelters that put animals down for reasons other than age and medical issues. I now support when I can the SPCA International and WSPA which both help animals of all kinds worldwide for ALL REASONS. I do however support locally the Canadian Wildlife Federation which does wonderful work.

Posted by: Unknown | November 6, 2012 11:04 AM    Report this comment

I do not agree with the management practices at our local shelter, how the donations are spent (which is kept very secret and closed), or how volunteers are treated, so I don't give them any financial support. I do, however, volunteer my time directly with the animals and pay for any of the enrichment materials or treats out of my own pocket. If a dog needs grooming, I pay for it myself, because its about the animals!!

Posted by: Monica R | October 19, 2012 4:39 PM    Report this comment

Easy for me. I donate to my rescue, not only with my time but with $. All 3 of my huskies are from ASHRA, Arizona Siberian Husky Rescue & Adoption. Once I adopted my first dog from them I just had to get involved.

Posted by: Lindsey S | October 19, 2012 1:53 PM    Report this comment

I donate to Best Friends in Utah and a local shelter where I've found 6 of the 8 pets I've adopted in the past 20 years, though the driving force behind this shelter passed away a few years back and I've heard not great things about the people that run it now. I also volunteer with my national breed rescue group.
I will not donate to any charity that bombards me with hideous address stickers and cards and I will keep that nickel glued to the card.

Posted by: Amy M | October 19, 2012 1:47 PM    Report this comment

I donate to Animal Care Society in Louisville KY-- It's the no-kill adoption center where & got my two "boys" -- I look carefully at the way organizations "use" the money -often little goes to the actual care of animals - In addition, we participate in fund raising events in our area -- there are 2 major events - one in the spring - humane Society & and in the fall - Animal Care -- there is a third just getting off the ground -- these "festivals" & walks also have vendor booths & rescue groups rasing money as well.

Posted by: Rebecca W | November 17, 2011 7:14 PM    Report this comment

Senior dogs get my support through The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs in Cleveland, OH. For over a decade, this organization has been doing amazing work with and for the seniors through many successful programs--adoptions, therapy dog visitations, spay/neutering, outreach/education, etc.--and they have inspired the formation of more senior rescue groups across the US.

Posted by: GilsMum | November 16, 2011 2:56 AM    Report this comment

I volunteer and donate to Greyhound Pets of America - Wisconsin. We adopted our first retired racing greyhound in 1996 when there were still tracks in Wisconsin. Now since the last track closed in our state, our volunteer organization is able to reach out and help ease the burden of finding adoptive homes for greyhounds from those areas where greyhound racing is still abundant. I have volunteered and donated to wonderful local animal shelters but, I find that breed specific rescues do have the ability to educate and support adopters with the specific needs and issues of the breed. I am grateful to be a part of GPA-WI and volunteer my time and talents to this supportive, greyhound community.

Posted by: Kathleen F | November 15, 2011 10:22 PM    Report this comment

I donate to the local open-door shelter where I also volunteer. They take in the most animals of all the area shelters and they need the money.

Posted by: Amy L | November 15, 2011 7:56 PM    Report this comment

I prefer, and I prefer everyone else, to donate localy, as well as their favorite breed of choice....

Posted by: Winnie | November 15, 2011 5:15 PM    Report this comment

I donate $$ to my Capital Area Humane Soceity, Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue that I also volunteer my time and energy to design their newsletters, posters, etc., and Texas Siamese Rescue -- all where I found some of my dearest furred friends in the past 20+ years.

I also donate money to Carolina Tiger Rescue which I first read about years ago in Cats Magazine when they were Carnivore Preservation Trust and actively working with zoos and other international organizations to bring back wild cat species from the brink of extinction. With the loss of their leader a few years ago due to cancer, they have reverted to a wild cat refuge which still does valuable work caring for wild cats who were former pets or roadside entertainment.

Posted by: ANN S | November 15, 2011 2:35 PM    Report this comment

As a Cavalier Rescue USA volunteer for fostering, transport and home visits in Virginia, I donate to Cavalier Rescue. All donations go to the national treasurer to be used for Cavaliers who come into rescue needing medical procedures, many of them expensive surgeries, spay/neutering, dental work, etc. It is also an all volunteer organization. We adopted two of our three Cavaliers through Cavalier Rescue and we have made donations in the name of the sweet boy we lost last year.

Posted by: CTeague | November 15, 2011 1:57 PM    Report this comment

I donate to the Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies (GRRR) in Golden, Co. This year they will place over 300 Goldens.

I give my time, as a transport guy, to the New New Mexico Golden Retriever Rescue in Albuquerque. Although a much smaller organization, NMGRR does a fantastic job of find forever homes for these wonderful Goldens from all over New Mexico.

John R

Posted by: GoldenRescue | November 15, 2011 1:27 PM    Report this comment

My opinion:
Accidental litters cause immense suffering and kill untold numbers of pets.
Don't donate anywhere if you have a non-fixed pet, if a relative/neighbor/friend has a non-fixed pet. Instead, use your funds to have that "accident waiting to happen" prevented.
After all known pets in your circle are spayed/neutered, donate to local spay/neuter, especially all volunteer s/n. That way your money will do the most good.

Re: No Kill. It sounds good, but in my state, no kill=let them suffer and die somewhere else. The euthanasia stats might be down, but that's because the groups are simply turning the pets away. Then that litter of kittens or that dumped dog is starving under an abandoned trailer home.

Pets can breed faster than shelters built, or fosters/adopters found. But if all caring people would work to stop births in those animals in their circle, we can prevent more suffering and unnecessary death.

If the organization is not stressing "Fix your Pets" as the #1 solution, perhaps it doesn't care about the ones that are being turned away or killed elsewhere.

Posted by: Linda C | November 15, 2011 12:51 PM    Report this comment

I donate to local rescue groups throughout the year. I have a network of friends who rescue animals or volunteer for animal welfare groups so I donate to support their efforts. I see a lot of problems with homeless pets in my city, and one way to help is to volunteer (yes, even in the high-kill shelters - they are terribly understaffed!). Another is to support local rescue groups who are doing what they can to save animals AND lend the shelters a hand. The more the community gets involved in the shelters, the better for the animals and for the system as a whole.

Posted by: dogsmom | November 15, 2011 12:41 PM    Report this comment

Initially I adopted a Schnauzer- mix from Special Pals (Houston) in 1978 and supported Special Pals with dry dog food donations every two weeks for a few years. A few months ago a Min. Schnauzer from E-Rescue of Houston. Recently I've volunteered at PoodleRescueofHouston to assist in walking some of the mainly Poodle & Poodle- mixes at their facility. I've recently adopted one of the Toy Poodle-mix I worked with in their grooming classes. Love the organization as it definitely has a good mission/work in progress. Has definitely benefitted each of us.

Posted by: James S | November 15, 2011 12:36 PM    Report this comment

I donate to Best Friends, they don't bombard me with horrible pictures of diseased animals. I also donate to a local no-kill shelter from whom I've adopted 2 dogs and 3 cats. I volunteer with ARPH after having adopted an Aussie from them and I also volunteer at a local obedience club. I just wish some these charities would stop sending me calendars, hideous note pads and address labels and use that money for their stated causes instead.

Posted by: Amy M | November 15, 2011 12:24 PM    Report this comment

THANK YOU for bringing up this topic. I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and I'm sure most like to go with the big organizations, like the ones on Charity Navigator, but I feel this is not the best way to spend the donation. I personally volunteer with a local rescue group that pulls animals from high kill shelters. It is 100% volunteer run. We don't sell your name to other groups. We don't spend our donations dollars to make you t-shirts, address labels, and sending unsolicited mail. We spend donations on the animals in need.

I always urge people to support local rescues and shelters. I also encourage people to learn more about the rescue group / shelter they want to support, as different rescues might have some different motivations / messages. Donating supplies is also great, and many rescues groups / shelters have a wish list. :)

Posted by: bkdice | November 15, 2011 12:16 PM    Report this comment

Besides a payroll deduction to the local shelter, I contribute items on their holiday wishlist. When friends lose their pets, a donation in their names goes to either Best Friends or Morris Animal Foundation.

Posted by: hil p | November 15, 2011 11:48 AM    Report this comment

We donate to our local no kill shelter. They take animals from the local city pounds so that they have a lot of time to find families. We donate money and supplies. We do not donate to national organizations because we do not always agree with their policies.

Posted by: Jasper | November 15, 2011 11:47 AM    Report this comment

I give to my local no kill humane society but not to the big national groups as I do not always agree with them. I also advocate for pit bull types:)

Posted by: WENDY H | November 15, 2011 11:39 AM    Report this comment

We donate to the local no kill shelter. It takes animals from the area city pounds so that they have lots of time to find families. We give money and supplies. When we had to put our last dog down we made a donation in his honor. We do not always agree with the politics of the national organization.

Posted by: Jasper | November 15, 2011 11:22 AM    Report this comment

I donate to my local SPCA, corgiaid a group that provides funding to help rescues (both kinds of corgis and corgi mixes) with medical issues and the rabies challenge fund. One group that will never get a dime from me is the HSUS, their ads imply they raise funds primarily to help shelter dogs which is not true if you look at their 990

Posted by: KATHY HALL | November 15, 2011 11:00 AM    Report this comment

Local SPCA, plus national groups that score high (three or four stars) on Charity Navigator, a non-profit that scores other non-profits. Animal Legal Defense Fund and In Defense of Animals are two.

Posted by: Sunni B | November 15, 2011 10:53 AM    Report this comment

I donate to multiple organizations.

First, I donate to my Breed's National Rescue group. I volunteered with them for many years and know they are a stand up organization. Additionally, there have been some spin off groups and I support them, to a lesser degree.

I have a side business where I do Tellington TTouch, Massage & Essential Oil Therapy for pets. I donate my time working with stressed animals at my local shelter and give them monetary donations when special needs for events come up.

From time to time a National case for a specific animal comes to my attention and I make a one time donation to their cause.

Many of my friends are involved in various rescue groups and I will donate gift certificates for my services for them to raffle off.

Finally, this year we Adopted a Turkey through Farm Sanctuary. I'm vegan and this donation was an apology to the Turkeys for all humans subject them to just so they can eat them in celebration. This will be a new holiday tradition for my family.

Posted by: Linda T | November 15, 2011 10:38 AM    Report this comment

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