By Courtney Leiva
Looking for a new way to give back this holiday season? Animal shelters throughout the Bergen County area are in constant need of supplies including food, collars, and toys to help sustain their services. Help a pet in this need this December by donating to a shelter wish list below!
Wish List 101
Just like you would donate toys to Toys for Tots, shelters throughout the area are taking donations. These requests, often called wish lists, are usually found on a shelter’s website.
“Wish lists are essentially suggestions for in kind donations for those people who have extra supplies who would rather do that than donate money, or are in the position to write a check. Without these kinds of donations the shelter would have to be spending significantly more money per year, which as you can imagine in this economy, would be very difficult if not impossible,” says Steven Mark, Executive Director at the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland N.J.
Why the Need?
In the past few years, shelters have felt the pinching effects of the economy as more and more pet owners have to surrender their pets due to growing expenses.
“The economy has definitely affected shelters. Money is one of the top reasons someone will surrender their dog, whether it’s true or not. Currently it is even more common reason and we see more truly sad cases where the person is devastated to have to surrender their dog, but have no other choice. For example, we had someone recently surrender their dog, because he had lost his job and his house so he was living in his car with a large breed dog. He knew that dog would be better off in the shelter, but was physically and emotionally ill from having to do it,” says Mark at RBARI.
With pet owners surrendering their pets at a growing rate, shelters are often forced to deal with overcrowding issues. And with these rising amounts of overcrowded shelters, the amounts of euthanizations are on the rise.
“When the numbers are tallied at the end of the year, there will almost certainly be more pets given up during a bad economy, than a good one, but animal overpopulation is not a new problem. RBARI and really all shelters have been and unfortunately for the foreseeable future will always be full. The additional numbers in a bad economy will sadly mean more animals are being euthanized. Every year there are three to four million cats and dogs euthanized and that number might go up,” Mark adds.
Local Shelter Wish Lists
Do your part this holiday and give back to some of these shelters in need. As shelters become overcrowded the demand for items is constantly growing. From pet toys, check donations, and volunteering, you can give back in a variety of different ways. And if none of these shelters are close to your neighborhood, be sure to contact shelters in your own area to see available local wish lists.
Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc.
The Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland is always in need of donations. From cat food to office supplies, the refuge is constantly looking for new donations. Some desired items include:
- Vet Room Supplies: includes items such as disposable latex gloves, antibiotic ointments, and ear cleaning solution for pets
- Cat Supplies: includes adult cat food including cat toys, new cat toys, and cat carriers
- Dog Supplies: includes adult dog food, nylon slip collars, and new dog toys
- Office Supplies: includes pens, printer cartridges, and postage markers.
(Information via the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc.)
In Hasbrouck Heights, the FOCAS group is also seeking donations. According to the FOCAS official website, the shelter is seeking donations from toys to a variety of their programs. For more information see the list of needed items below:
- Toys: great for stimulation and brain development, and good health, toys are one of the top items at FOCAS.
- Check Donations: FOCAS is also taking check donations as well. Donations can be made to a variety of FOCAS’s programs including the Angel Fund which helps pets with extraordinary needs or the Memorial Donations which can be made in the name of a special person or pet. All donations are made payable to FOCAS and donations are tax deductible as allowed by the law.
(Information via the FOCAS group official website)
Second Chance at Life Rescue
Located in Maywood, the Second Chance at Life Rescue is actively collecting donations. From dog medicines to beds, donations can be purchased for the rescue’s wish list at dogsupplies.com. The Second Chance at Life Rescue is also seeking active foster parents. A fostering program is also a great way to give back as it allows pet lovers to take in needy pets into their homes for a period of time. For more on fostering opportunities, be sure to visit the Second Chance at Life Rescue official website.
(Information via the Second Chance at Life Rescue)
Bergen County Animal Shelter
If you would like to donate in a more unique way, volunteering is another possible option. The Bergen County Animal Shelter does offer volunteering opportunities, however, applicants must be 18-years-old to apply. Like the Second Chance at Life Rescue, this shelter is also looking for foster homes.
Although fostering proves to a difficult task, it is a meaningful and helpful service. However, be advised that fostering is not a ‘test-run’ of having a pet in your home. Potential foster parents should be prepared to return their foster pet back to the shelter after their commitment ends. If you would like to get involve, here are the types of animals at the Bergen County Animal Shelter that are in need of foster homes.
- Homes for kittens or puppies
- Homes for litters eating on their own but in need of medical treatment
- Homes with mothers for litters
- Homes for babies that need to be nursed
- Homes for animals with special needs
(Information via the Bergen County Animal Shelter website)
How will you give back this holiday season??