Daily Walrus - Helping People Help Animals

Use your car to help out

May 1, 2008
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Jenny volunteers some of her time at a cat shelter named Ollie’s Place.  I would love to regularly volunteer, but my schedule keeps me from doing so (until the summer, at least).  Though I can’t be physically present, I can still help out in other ways. 

Two people had contacted Ollie’s about donating large collapsible crates but they had no way to deliver them.  So we hopped in the car and headed from Brooklyn to Manhattan to pick up the crates.  It took a little while, and driving in the city is always stressful, but now there is room for a few more animals. 

If you don’t have time to volunteer regularly, offer to lend a hand (or your driving skills) when you can, picking up supplies or transporting animals.  It feels great to help, even if it’s on an irregular basis.          


Help Out Ollie’s Place

April 8, 2008
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Ollie’s Place, the shelter where Jenny volunteers, is trying to improve their fundraising tactics.  Are there any readers out there who can suggest tactics or events that have been successful for your favorite shelters?  If you have ideas, please leave us a comment.  If you would like to help out a FANTASTIC organization that helps stray cats find a new home in NYC, head on over to their homepage and donate a few bucks via paypal (the link is on the left hand side).  Thanks for reading and GO HELP OUT OLLIES PLACE!!   

Let Your Local Shelter Know About InkBank

March 27, 2008
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Is there a local shelter that you support with time or money?  If so, let them know about InkBank, a program that gives money to organizations that collect and donate used printer ink cartridges for recycling.  InkBank pays for all supplies and shipping – all the shelter needs to do is collect and send the cartridges. 

To learn more, check out their FAQs here

Cage Comforters

February 21, 2008
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After our recent blog post on Operation Happy Sock, Joanna at Vegans of Color left a comment telling us about Cage Comforters.  NYC’s Animal Care and Control (AC&C) accept these great items that can be made from a few simple materials.  All you need is a piece of 13″ X 18″ fabric and some batting as filler.  Then sew the ends together and you have a great gift for a shelter animal.  A complete set of instructions can be found here.   

According to AC&C’s website, “The comforters not only ease the stress of our homeless animals, they also help to ease the transition when the animals are adopted, because they take their comforters with them to their new homes.”  Sounds like a great idea to us!

 The next time you are feeling crafty, don’t bother making a sweater that only Bill Cosby would wear.  Make a cage comforter, and help a shelter animal sleep a little easier while they wait to be adopted by their new best friend. 

Excuse me, do you have the time?

February 19, 2008

Do you ever find yourself flipping through the channels and complaining that nothing is on TV?  Do you then find yourself watching something you aren’t even interested in.  Do you ever surf the internet looking at things that aren’t even of interest to you?  If you answered yes to these questions, you may be a good candidate for volunteer work!

We are all very busy.  But I’m here to tell you that if I can find time to volunteer, you can too!  I recently signed up and was trained to be a cat caretaker at Ollie’s Place.  It was so easy and it’s so much fun.  Training consisted of cleaning some litter boxes while watching adorable cats interact and play with each other.  I even got to play with them when my “chores” were complete.  I know it can be very difficult to find time to volunteer with a busy schedule, but I want to tell you how easy it is.

Ollie’s Place only requires a commitment of one two-hour shift per week.  Two hours is nothing!  Conveniently, they are located two blocks away from one of my jobs, so when I get off work on Tuesdays I can head over there, do some clean-up, and play with the kitties.  Look online or in the phone book and see what shelters or organizations are near you – I guarantee that they would love your help!  Don’t have two hours a week?  How about two hours every other week?  I bet you can find the time if you look hard enough. 

Each shelter/rescue organization is different and will have different needs so I can’t tell you exactly what to expect – but they can.  Give them a call!  I can tell you, though, that if you are allergic to cats, volunteering in the cat room at the shelter may not be a good idea for you.  But, don’t worry – you can work with the dogs or even in an office doing much needed administrative work!

Tito’s stay at the shelter in the Bronx (where we adopted him) was made much more comfortable thanks to all the caring volunteers (and staff) there.  Animals like him need your help – what are you waiting for?  I promise nothing new will be added to the internet in the next 2 hours that you can’t read after your shift.  And that show with the “celebrities” and the “shocking” situations/challenges will be replayed several times before the new episode airs so don’t worry about missing it.  Now get going!     

FYI – Tito likes to dress up for his volunteer work, but you can usually just wear casual clothes.

Tito Volunteer

It’s Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2008
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This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to send a little love to your neighborhood animal shelter. You can always send a card with a monetary donation, but here are a few other ideas that will make you the sweetheart of both the animals and volunteers. Drop off a few boxes of dog and cat treats for the animals. Whip up a batch of cookies for the staff and volunteers and bring those along as well.

Many shelters have “wish lists” of items they are in need of on their websites. Often listed are common items like towels, cleaning supplies, leashes and kibble. Some shelters are in need of larger items like pet carriers, used laptops, or monitors. I know we have an old PC in the closet taking up space. Maybe it could be put to good use by the good folks at Ollie’s Place. I think I’ll call and find out!

If you’ve adopted a pet from a shelter, send a card and a pic of your pet with a brief update on how they’re doing (along with a donation). The volunteers will love to hear a success story, and will be encouraged by the fact that the work they’re doing is making a difference in the lives of animals.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Operation Happy Sock

February 7, 2008

Thanks to a post on lifehacker.com, the “orphaned” socks at the bottom of my dresser drawer may finally have a new home.  The post mentioned Operation Happy Sock, a project founded a few years ago by Martha Powers.  Using goodsearch.com, I did some research and learned all about this wonderful undertaking.  Powers had the great idea to make toys for shelter cats using only donated socks, a little polyester fiberfill, and some catnip.  How simple/brilliant is that?  The idea caught on and girl scout troops across the country began doing this for merit badges.  Some Happy Socks even found their way to a shelter in Kuwait

Seriously folks, what are you waiting for?  It doesn’t get much easier than this.  Dig out your old, unmatched socks, buy a couple bags of fiberfill and catnip, and start stuffing!  You can find more detailed (yet very simple) instructions here.  You could also host a toy-making party.  Invite a few friends over for some vegan snacks and drinks, pop in a movie, and stuff away!  Then just drop off the toys at a local shelter and let the catnip work its magic.       

Feel Good About Wasting Time on the Internet

January 20, 2008

The next time you need to look for something on-line, start your search with goodsearch.com.  This search engine donates 50% of ad revenues to the charities or their users’ choice.  Simply select the organization you want your searches to go towards and surf away.  Like all search engines, goodsearch makes money when people click on ads or sponsored links.  Inevitably, users will click on some of these, thus earning money for their default charity. 

You can choose from national and local charities that are already registered or add a new one to the growing list of options (all charities will be verified as registered non-profit organizations by goodsearch before any money is disbursed).  According to their homepage, users have already generated over $11,000 in donations for the ASPCA, over $6,000 for The Elephant Sanctuary, and over $4,000 for the Best Friends Animal Society.  There are several creative ways to make goodsearch work for your favorite organization(s).  You can make all of your searches go toward a certain non-profit, or choose a new one every day and spread the wealth around. Click here to see the list of non-profits currently listed in their database.

Their searches are powered by Yahoo!, so expect the same quality of results as you get from their main browser page.  You can set the search engine as your homepage or add goodsearch to your browser’s toolbar for convenience.  To learn more, check out their FAQ’s here

This is really one of the easiest ways to earn some significant cash for your favorite organization(s).  Just begin your web searches with goodsearch.com, select an animal-friendly charity, and start browsing for a good cause. 

Share your birthday loot

January 16, 2008
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After a big celebration this past weekend, my (Ryan) 30th birthday is finally here.  I’ve gotten some great gifts over the last few days, including some money from a few relatives.  Before depositing the loot in my checking account (where it will be surely spent on important things like sneakers, t-shirts and ATM fees),  I’ll be writing a check to an animal shelter. 

Since I’m turning 30 the ammount will be 30 bucks, and it will go to the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA.  This is a new, huge, no-kill shelter near my hometown.  The last time we were there we stopped by and checked it out.  It’s a really nice place, with lots of indoor and outdoor room for the dogs, indoor playrooms for the cats, and some incredibly friendly people working hard for the animals in the community. 

When your birthday rolls around, pony up some cash before you spend it.  You can match your age, or simply give what you can.  What better way to celebrate than by helping some animals in need.    

About author

Hello - we are Jenny and Ryan, a couple living in Brooklyn, New York. We are both busy with school and work but try to take time to do something every day to make the world a better place for animals. Occasionally we may link to outside websites for additional resources, but we do not necessarily endorse all policies of these organizations. Despite the title of our blog, the focus is not only on walruses. So what's with the title? We named this blog after our cat, Wally, aka The Walrus. We are the proud parents of two cats (Wally and Tito) and one dog (Luigi).