Are you interested in helping animals in need, but don’t know where to begin? Keep reading to learn about some of the paw-esome organizations we supported in 2019 and other Bay Area groups who are making a big difference. We’d love to mention every single rescue and shelter on this list, but that would be one long list. Just because you don’t see them here, doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome. We encourage you to look up your local rescues and shelters to find out how you can get involved.
What Is The Difference Between Shelters and Rescues?
City and county animal shelters are open admission shelters, meaning no animal will get turned away even if they don’t have enough space. Animal shelters begin the important work of getting animals socialized so they can be adopted, often running on very limited resources and funding from the local government. Some shelters may need to euthanize animals that are too sick, aggressive, or otherwise un-adoptable, which some people call a “kill shelter”. Many city and county shelters have worked hard with the assistance of volunteers and rescues to improve live release rates and greatly reduce euthanasia rates.
Rescue organizations can select which animals they take in, the majority of which come from local city and county shelters. Rescues help get animals adopted, but do not receive any government funding; they run on the generosity of donations and volunteer efforts.
Both rescues and shelters are in need of community support from funding to supplies to volunteers. Make sure to look up your local rescue or shelter to see how you can help cats and dogs find loving homes and spread the word!
SFACC is San Francisco’s only open admission shelter, taking in over 10,000 animals every year. Despite the extremely high volume of animals coming in, SFACC has an impressive live release rate. This is largely in part of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and dozens of partnering organizations.
Cat Town focuses on older, scared, stressed, sick, or injured cats that are deemed hard-to-adopt and at-risk for euthnasia. Sinceits start in 2011, Cat Town has found permanent homes for more than 1,800 cats and helped reduce the euthanasia rate at the local municipal shelter, Oakland Animal Services, by more than 70%. You can enjoy the company of some of these adoptable cats and a cup of coffee at Cat Town’s RAWR cat cafe or you can take a yoga class in the Cat Zone. Cat Town is looking for local volunteers and foster care providers to help vulnerable shelter cats; you can make a donation to support these programs as well.
The East Bay SPCA helps thousands of animals find homes and is very involved in the local community. They offer many great programs, such as the Seniors 4 Seniors program where adoption fees are waived for anyone over the age of 62 who adopts an animal that is older than 7 years old.
Hopalong Animal Rescue is unique in that they are 100% foster based, often connecting a shelter animal to a home in less than a day. Hopalong plays a big role in emergency relief by providing temporary homes for animals from families and rescues during natural disaster evacuations. In fact, they will have a brand new emergency relief annex starting January 1 as part of an expansion. You can help Hopalong out by joining their community of foster providers, making a tax-deductible donation, or volunteering your time.
ICR is known for their trap-neuter-return projects, which has spayed or neutered tens of thousands of “community” cats (ie stray or unowned). ICR is small but mighty force in the local community with very limited resources and run completely by volunteers. They host regular adoption events in Alameda and are big of community education. There are many ways you can support ICR, including making a tax-deductible donation (why not give to the Adoption Cage Sponsorship Program?), donating supplies, or volunteering your time.
BH has been helping animals for over 90 years, and supports the wellbeing of local animals with low-cost veterinary care services and dog training programs. They also host really fun fundraising events!
MF has an adoption center in Point Richmond and a 283 acre Sanctuary in Medicino County. This allows MF to take in far more than cats in dogs; they have an amazing Milo Horse Rescue Program and have the capacity to look after all types of farm animals. Of the 1,400 animals MF finds homes for every year, one of them was Darwin, now the beloved pup of AnimalBiome Founder, Holly Ganz, Ph.D. There are many ways you can support MF including giving a tax-deductible donation, volunteering your time, or fostering an animal.
HRS has rescued tens of thousands of rabbits, which often end up in shelters because their care is not as easy as some people thought it would be. HRS is also big on bunny activism and education about this very common and adorable pet.
That’s OK! All rescues and shelters are in need of funding, supplies, and volunteers. Look up your local rescue or shelter to see how you can help out. Try using Volunteer Match to find a place close by where you can volunteer your time.
Is there a non profit in mind that you would like to support but you don’t have the means? Just use GoodSearch and GoodShop with your regular online activities and shopping. It won’t cost you anything, you give back, and you may even get a discount!
*AnimalBiome will donate one dog or cat Gut Restoration System (or a combination of products of similar value depending on the needs of the shelter) for every Gut Restoration System purchased during the month of December.
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