Phoebe has reached the age she asks at least once a week, when we get a dog. And considering I grew up with the most faithful Golden Retriever ever to live on the planet (RIP Duchess), there's a part of me that's trying to instantly adopt one. But I know in my heart that this current season of our lives, when we're rarely home on weekdays (and often on weekends), is not the time to create the home environment a dog just needs.
Even so, my children's passion for animals has sparked my own desire to get involved and find ways to help the millions of dogs, cats, rabbits (and more cute pets) that need a home anywhere in the US … and how I have learned that there are many ways to change things and that my children connect with animals.
For this post, we join forces with our friends at Frost Bank Decide for optimism Program. The initiative is about showing through our actions over time that and Money that we can all afford to make a difference in our communities and in the lives of others.
I am particularly pleased to be part of this campaign because I am convinced of the power of optimism. Although many people associate the word with naive luck or blind positive thinking, the true meaning of optimism is the belief that a positive solution is possible with the right approach. Good things are expected to happen, even if we have difficulties along the way. And research shows that when these bumps on the road do Optimists treat them better and recover faster. It is a rethink that each of us can choose at any time.
Here are some great ways you can change the life of an animal today:
Adopt a pet.
The first step is to consider your lifestyle and home décor and how much time you have to devote to your pet on a daily basis. In general, cats are usually a little easier to care for than dogs. When you're at work all day, you do not have to run or leave it outside to use the bathroom. That means each animal will need fresh water, food, cleansing, and love every day, so make sure you can provide a supportive and loving home for your pet.
There are so many links between animals and our general wellbeing. Frost's research (read about the study here) shows that steps towards joy and optimism can positively impact our lives in an incredible way. Beyond finances, optimism can be a catalyst for better physical and emotional health and encourage us to transform challenges into opportunities. It can change the perspectives and the way we view and interact with the world.
Avoid the pet shop and instead visit a local shelter to find cats, dogs, birds, gerbils, and more, waiting to be adopted by their new families. Some convincing facts from the Shelter Pet Project:
- Every year, 6-8 million animals end up in shelters, half of which are unlikely to be adopted.
- 25 percent of pets in shelters are purebred. Breed-specific rescue groups always have purebred dogs and puppies looking for a new home.
- Most pets are homeless through no fault of their own – "move" and "landlord problems" are the main reasons people give their pets, which means that shelters and rescue teams are full of wonderful, family-friendly pets.
- Pets taken in shelters and rescue groups usually cost less than purchased or even purchased pets. If you add up the cost of vaccinations, spay / neuter surgeries, microchips, wormers, and other "extras" included in your adoption fee, you'll probably be surprised what a bargain an adopted pet really is!
If you are not ready for a long-term relationship, consider the promotion! It's a great way to experience the joy of owning pets and helping a pet that needs it most, even if you're not ready to engage for years.
Volunteers in a shelter.
In addition to caressing and walking the animals, most local animal shelters require volunteers for office work, adoption events, cleaning dishes and food bowls, special events (such as adoption programs), caring for animals and much more. This is one of the most entertaining ways to volunteer with children and teach empathy and friendliness as they see first-hand how important it is to show love to someone who really needs them. According to Frost's survey, most Americans want more optimism in their lives, and by taking steps towards the generosity of time and money, we can actually bring more positivity and joy into our lives and into the lives of others.
Many shelters require children to be a little older before they can officially volunteer, but mine love to visit our neighborhood shelter and just pet the animals. Here are the basics of volunteering:
- Find your local shelter or a humane society. Find out if it's an emergency shelter and other details that may be important to you. A few in Central Texas that I love are PAWS Shelters, Safe in Austin, and Austin Pets Alive.
- On the website you will find volunteer opportunities or the contact details of the volunteer coordinator.
- See if you can get it up and running with your schedule. Most volunteer offers take place during the opening hours of an animal shelter, but there are also some ways to look after animals and perform maintenance outside of opening hours.
- Take part in a training and find the right role for you. I've found that volunteers are unlikely to be glamorous at every opportunity and not always enjoyable, but the work should use your skills and passions to motivate them to stick to it.
I also have to tell you about some of the volunteer work that I have in the books for next month: I will be a guest judge at the annual Barkitecture event where 21 architects from Austin build kennels, 3 of which benefit charities (Safe in Austin, Lone Star Doberman Rescue and Austin Pets Alive.) It's Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Fair Market. If you are in Austin, you will come by between 12:00 and 16:00.
Donate for the cause.
Every charity needs time donations and Money to continue their work – they depend on the generosity of donors who take care of the matter to keep their doors open. If you can not afford to volunteer in an animal shelter, you can help with donations and animal care items. Ask at your local shelter for a list of needed items (many of them accept used items!). Think of toys, blankets and towels, food and treats, toiletries and more.
Volunteering with our children (or our friends or other family members!) Is so important, and I am convinced that in terms of joy and fulfillment in life, we get back more than we give. I would like to hear you volunteering and spreading a spirit of generosity in your own communities. Have you encountered obstacles in your efforts? What were some charities where you have had good volunteer experience?
This post is a partnership with Frost Bank and its Opt for Optimism program. Read more from the latest research on the fascinating relationship between optimism and financial health and find out about the opportunities for volunteers in your city.
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