Whether you are planting a garden, cleaning out your basement, planning a summer vacation or adopting a new dog, spring is the perfect time for a fresh start.
The longer light-filled days, early tulips and other spring flowers remind us of the importance of living a healthy, happy, and compassionate life. For dog lovers, this means spending more time with dogs - both our own as well as others in the community who need some spring cheer.
Here are 9 simple ways to celebrate spring, spend time with your dog while also helping other dogs in need.
Have Fun, Help Dogs – Here’s How
1. Spring Cleaning
If you are like me you have way more pet supplies than you can possibly use. Why not donate unopened bags of treats, new or gently used toys and beds to your local shelter. Have some extra towels, blankets or pillows that are in good shape - they might make a perfect bed or safe place for a frightened shelter dog. Of course, make sure all donated items are clean, new (or gently used), and machine washable.
2. Spring Cookout
Host a dog-friendly spring cookout and ask guests to bring a donation for a shelter or rescue. You can even include a shelter’s wish list with your party invitation or make it a potluck but instead of bringing food, ask guests to bring something off the shelter’s wish list.
3. Spring Shape Up
Get in shape by participating in dog walks for local shelters and rescues. Many rescues host walks in the spring and summer - you and your dog can sign up for several, maybe even one per weekend. Ask friends to pledge based on number of steps, miles, or walks completed.
4. Spring Photo Shoot
Volunteer to take spring-themed photographs of adoptable dogs in shelters and rescues and then share widely.
5. Spring Check-In
Check in with seniors or other homebound individuals with dogs in your neighborhood. If they are willing and able, take them out for a picnic or nice walk along the beach. If they are truly homebound, volunteer to give their dog a few extra walks per week.
6. Spring Foster
Fostering a dog from a rescue or shelter is a great thing to do any time of the year. Why not make it a new spring tradition!
7. Spring Lessons
Warmer temperatures bring the children outside. Why not use it as an opportunity to teach neighborhood kids how to interact safely with dogs.
8. Spring Sale
Take spring-cleaning to the next level by organizing a neighborhood garage sale and donating the profits to a shelter or rescue.
9. Spring Dining
Have a regular dog-friendly bar or restaurant that you frequent? How about asking if they would donate a portion of sales for one night to a shelter or rescue, or create a monthly drink or food special that benefits dogs? Offer to help promote the event and then make sure all your friends and family members participate!
Have other suggestions for ways to celebrate spring and help dogs? Please share in the comments!
Kristin Avery is a writer and photographer with an extensive background in philanthropy and a life-long passion for animal welfare. Her blog, The Daily Pip, is an award-winning, lifestyle pet blog providing resources, support, and humor for rescue families. She was recently honored with two BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Social Media Awards this year: Best Cause Blog and Best Written Blog Post. Kristin received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied creative writing as well as installation and visual arts. After graduation, she was a founding member of Red Door Animal Shelter, a no-kill shelter for cats, dogs, and rabbits in Chicago. She enjoys working with local Chicago shelters and also recently spent several days at Best Friends Animal Society volunteering at Quincy House with cats with severe special needs including paralysis. Through her blog and volunteer work, she encourages and advocates for rescue and adoption, especially for those animals considered less adoptable. She currently shares her home with one dog, one rabbit, two cats, a husband and 10-year-old daughter.