Woman holding puppy

Donations to Animal Shelters

How to help your four-legged friends this holiday season.

December 2016

The holidays can be a tough time for animals. Puppies may look darling with a glittering red bow climbing out of a gift-wrapped box, but gifting animals doesn’t always end well. Recipients may surrender unwanted cats and dogs to shelters. So to celebrate the holiday season, consider making a donation to an animal shelter or volunteer with an animal rescue organization that benefits our furry friends. Here are three nonprofit organizations to consider.

Humane Society of the United States

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was created in 1954 with the mission of combating animal cruelty. The organization leads a valiant fight against factory farming, puppy mills, fur trade, animal fighting and more. It operates five care centers across the country, providing hands-on services to more than 100,000 animals a year, and advocates for pro-animal reform through public policy and anti-cruelty campaigns. You can support HSUS with a monetary donation, by volunteering at a care center or by joining their animal-rescue teams.

Best Friends Animal Society

Located in Utah’s red-rock region, Best Friends Animal Society is the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. The 20,000-acre site is home to hundreds of cats and dogs, as well as dozens of horses, burros, birds, rabbits, goats, pigs and more. Best Friends helps place pets in homes, but animals that are not suitable for adoption are welcome to spend the rest of their lives in safe, comfortable sanctuary. Best Friends has a team of full-time employees and veterinarians, but it relies on donations and volunteers to achieve its mission. They annually welcome 30,000 visitors, vacationers and volunteers. On-site volunteer opportunities include cleaning, grooming and feeding, and many guests travel from across the nation to stay for a full week. Some animals are eligible for outings or on-site “slumber parties” with guests. You can support Best Friends by scheduling a volunteer vacation, making a donation or subscribing to Best Friends Magazine, a publication that focuses on uplifting animal stories and news.

Friends of Animals

What began as a grassroots initiative to spay and neuter cats and dogs has grown over 50 years into an animal advocacy powerhouse with far-reaching global influence. Staying true to its roots, this New York City-based organization’s breeding-control efforts have spayed and neutered more than 2.5 million animals. Friends of Animals’ other programming initiatives include protecting wildlife, marine and zoo animals from exploitation and abuse; defending global wildlife habitats; and offering safe refuge for primates. You can support Friends of Animals with recurring donations, one-time gifts or family memberships.