Even though New Years Day is *really* just another day on the calendar, the feeling of inspiration and new opportunity is evident, and we should take advantage of that internal fire we feel with the New Year. But, what if we channeled that fire into pursuing what we’re passionate about? For some, it is self-improvement, or their career, or family. For many of our supporters, and us at the SPCA Albrecht Center, it’s animal welfare.
I get asked every week, “How can I help?” It is such an amazing feeling knowing there are so many in the community that want to help us in our pursuit of animal welfare. If you want to help this New Year or even make it your resolution to be a voice for animals, here are some ideas of how you can help your local shelter in the fight to better the lives of our furry companions:
Get involved in legislation. This is the best way to ensure protection for animals today and in the future. Research all of the laws that are currently in place: www.cityofaikensc.gov/animals-pets (City of Aiken) and www.scstatehouse.gov (Quick Search: “Animals”). The ‘search’ will link you to all current and proposed animal-related legislation.
You can look up calendars on these sites for legislative meetings to attend and share your ideas. Remember: Animals can’t ask for better laws, but we can; we must be their voice!
What: South Carolina Humane Lobby Day
When: February 7, 2018 from 10am – 3:30pm
Where: SC Statehouse, Blatt Building, Room 305, Columbia, SC 29201
Why: This is an opportunity to come together with other animal advocates to speak with our state legislators about animal protection issues we would like to see addressed in 2018. If you’re new to lobbying, don’t worry – the most important thing is your presence.
Become a volunteer. Volunteers are truly the backbone of any nonprofit organization. They provide support for the animals and staff solely out of their passion for the cause. There are many ways to get involved at your local shelter as a volunteer. At the SPCA Albrecht Center you can participate in dog walking, cat socialization, off-site adoptions, fostering, humane education, the SPCA Thrift Shops and more!
For more information on how to get involved as a volunteer, you can email Jessica Gladkowski, Director of Community Relations, at Jessica@letlovelive.org or visit www.LetLoveLive.org/volunteer.
Service projects. Let’s face it, the world is a busy place to live in and maybe you have just a day or weekend to spare to do something for the animals. There are many projects you can do in a day, and even just hours, that can make a difference. Build an insulated house for feral cats during winter; make enrichment toys or host a supply drive for your local shelter; have a small food drive for pet owners in need; hold a small fundraiser in benefit of your local shelter. There are hundreds of great ideas of things you can do in your spare time to positively impact our unwanted homeless pet population.
Visit www.LetLoveLive.org/volunteer-opportunities and click “Service Hour Guide” for service project ideas, including an estimated time allotment for each project.
There are many, many other small and big ways you can help animals and animal shelters, like: educate family and friends about responsible pet ownership and animal welfare issues, ask for birthday donations, adopting, attend your local shelter’s events, and much more. No matter the capacity in which you are able to assist, every bit counts towards the bigger picture. As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Here’s to a New Year of new opportunities to better the lives of our furry friends!
Claire R. Grimes is the SPCA Albrecht Center’s Development Director. She is an Aiken native, but spent some college years in Charleston, interning with Charleston Animal Society. She is excited to now be working in animal welfare in her hometown and is proud of the community efforts to better the lives of Aiken’s animals. Her fur family includes a SPCA adopted black lab, Ozzy, a SPCA adopted Siamese mix, Luna, and Claire’s first love, Anakin, a 17-pound rescued Maine Coon mix.