Operation Santa Paws Poster / Copyright © Mark Posch.
The holiday season is fast approaching, which means shopping lists are getting longer. If you’re like me, you always make room on your list for your pets—nothing beats a shiny new toy in their eyes—but for animals that call a shelter home, gifts are a rare treat.
In the spirit of giving, consider donating to a local animal shelter this holiday season. There are many ways to contribute, but one program I came across recently is Operation Santa Paws, which is part of the Haute Dog Organization. Since 2001, founder Justin Rudd has worked to provide shelters across the country with thousands of treats and supplies. In a 2012 interview with Long Beach newspaper, Gazettes, Rudd said, “It’s a bittersweet thing when you visit a shelter.” He continued, “You try to help a pet knowing some are on their last leg.”
In the United States, roughly 8-12 million companion animals wind up in shelters every year, where an estimated 5-9 million are euthanized. Animal shelters aren’t always equipped to keep up with the high demands placed on them because of issues like pet overpopulation. Shelters rely on donations to keep animals active—mentally and physically—especially younger ones that need constant attention.
Looking to donate? See this list of drop-off locations to find the one nearest you.
The WISH LIST includes item such as:
- Durable puppy/dog toys
- Dog treats
- Dry puppy and canned kitten food
- Water bowls
- Flannel blankets for kittens
- 6’ nylon dog leashes
Operation Santa Paws collects donations nationwide throughout December (1-19), so there’s plenty of time left to help! If you can’t adopt a shelter animal, you can still make them feel a little more at home this holiday season.