Manila, Philippines – The Lenten season is all about repentance and renewing our faith. We are expected to fast and abstain on certain days. But we can do so much more than that – something that can impact the lives of others.
If you’re an animal lover, there are many good deeds you can do to help strays, and support local shelters. Here are some:
1. Feed stray cats and dogs
We often see stray cats and dogs on our way to office or school. You would find them alone or in packs under the Magallanes flyover or at Greenbelt.
Starting this Ash Wednesday, carry small packs of dry dog and cat food in your bag so when you see a stray, you would know that their stomachs won’t be empty for the day.
2. Sponsor a rescue for a month
If you’re too busy to do the legwork, one easy way to help is to sponsor a rescue dog or cat in animal shelters. Independent shelters like Save All Animals of Love and Light offers a convenient way to show your love for a rescue.
You can be an Angel Sponsor by committing to donate P500-P1,000 every month for a certain number of months. Your donation will be used to provide for your chosen rescue’s daily needs. To sponsor a rescue, visit here: Save Animals of Love and Light – SAVE ALL
3. Donate to a local shelter every Friday
Many animal welfare organizations in the Philippines operate solely on grants and donations. Organizations like CARA Welfare Philippines and PAWS have offices that house the rescued animals and staff to feed them daily, give them baths, clean their cages. They need funds to pay the bills and keep the operations going.
Every peso goes a long way. So, this Lenten season, abstain from your Venti Chocolate Cream Chip every Friday and donate the P150.00 to your chosen local animal shelter.
4. Visit a local animal shelter with your friends
The Lenten season also means days off from work and school. If you’re scheduling a reunion with your friends, why not do it for a cause? Go to a local shelter like (look for other shelters) to play with the dogs and cats, give them many pats.
Each of you can bring a can or pack of pet food or other things shelters need like old newspapers, toiletries, and cleaning materials. Seeing the rescued dogs and cats and knowing their stories will touch your hearts and open your eyes.
5. Volunteer for a local animal welfare organization
Donating money and material things is not the only way to help. You can make use of your skills as well. Become a volunteer photographer, writer, graphic designer, marketing officer, or events planner for CARA, PART or PAWS. You not only get to work with fellow animal lovers, you also get to work with celebrity dogs like Ginger, Kimchi, T-Bone, and Mimi the talking cat from the movie, Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes.
It’s easy to volunteer. You just need to submit an application, attend an orientation, and start helping animals in need. Life may be busy at times but there are little things that you can do from wherever you are.
6. Foster a rescue
There are many abused and abandoned dogs and cats that need rescuing every day. As much as they want to keep them all, local shelters don’t have enough space for every one of them. This is where you can help.
If you have an unused space at home, you can set up a mini shelter to foster rescues while they recuperate. You can ask for help in funding their food and medication. And when they’re ready, they can go to their forever homes.
7. Give a rescue a forever home
This may just be one of the biggest decisions any animal lover will do in their lifetime. Adopting a rescued dog or cat is a big commitment that requires patience and determination. Shelters follow certain procedures to ensure that rescues will be in good hands. That includes regular visits to spend time with the dog or cat you’re adopting, and a house visit by the animal organization to see if you’re capable of taking care of a pet. The shelter will also be regularly in touch with you to check on your pet.
But don’t get overwhelmed! These measures are needed to make sure that you and your adoptee are a good fit. Remember, these animals have a painful past. No one wants that to happen again.
So, if you’re still thinking of how you’ll observe the Lenten season, consider these. This could be the life-changing experience you’re looking for.
If there are other local shelters and organizations you know, please share it with us in the comments section.
All photos by Ian Handog