If you are passionate about taking care of homeless dogs, you may have thought about setting up a dog shelter. After all, what better way to help those furry friends than providing them with a warm place to sleep and good food to eat? And with good planning and support from dedicated volunteers, you should be able to start and run a shelter for homeless dogs pretty well. In this post, we look at nine tips that will help you in your quest to start a dog rescue shelter.
- Be Sure You Want To Do It
Firstly, be absolutely sure that you want to set up a shelter for dogs. The idea might sound kind of grand and noble in the beginning. In reality, the process of setting up and running a dog shelter is different from the glossy dreams you have in mind. You will have to travel back and forth to pick up stray dogs. The animals must be fed at regular intervals. Many of them might show physiological tendencies that can border on excessive aggressiveness. You will also have to deal with infected and diseased dogs. In addition, other factors like license, permits, finances, etc. will put additional pressure on you. If you are sure you can handle it and are fully dedicated to helping homeless dogs, you can definitely move ahead with your dreams.
- Visit Other Dog Shelters
You should visit other dog shelters in your locality. Talk with the owners and managers of the shelter and get a good idea of what is involved in operating one. If possible, volunteer at the shelter for a month or two to know firsthand what the daily situation at a dog shelter is, what challenges are involved in running it, what protective measures need to be taken, and so on. This will give you a more comprehensive idea of what it takes to run a dog shelter and the efforts it demands. Consequently, you will be able to plan the operations of the shelter in a better way.
- Check The Support Available
There are many people who will be interested in helping you set up a dog shelter. And help may come in any form. For instance, someone who is concerned about dogs might be an owner of an interior decoration store. They might offer you materials at cheaper rates out of their genuine desire to help you set up the shelter. Similarly, there will be accountants, lawyers, store owners, etc. who will help you in their own way if they know that a dog shelter is being set up in their area. So, look for such local support and utilize it fully.
- Determine The Population of Homeless Dogs
An important thing to look for while setting up a dog rescue home is the population of homeless dogs in the area. If only a few dogs are found roaming the streets, it is better you don’t set up any shelter in that area. Sometimes, a specific region might see a sudden spike in homeless dogs because of some reason, like a flood or natural disaster in a neighboring region. Such areas are also not suitable for setting up a shelter since their homelessness is probably a short-term problem. Look for regions which have always had a large population of homeless dogs and set up a shelter there.
- Look For Volunteers
Many people will volunteer themselves to work for free at the shelter. They can be students, professionals, retirees, and so on. Some might come in for two hours a day, some once in every two or three days, some will offer to work full time on specific days, and so on. All such people will turn out to be incredibly useful for running the shelter. Be sure to make a list of all such volunteers, decide what roles must be assigned to each of them, and the time period when they will work at the shelter. Just put up an advertisement in a local newspaper inviting volunteers for the shelter and you will start getting calls from interested people.
- Plan Out How You Will Care For Them
You should plan out how you are going to take care of the dogs at the shelter. Which rooms will be assigned to the dogs? How will the cages be divided? Will there be a playground at the back where the dogs can run around for a little while? Where will be the medical room located? All such things have to be decided before you start setting up the rescue home. You also need to think about the food that will be given to dogs. Will you be sourcing high-quality dog food like ones manufactured by BetsyFarms.com? If so, you should contact the supplier and check out the wholesale rates. Similarly, you will need to arrange for medical supplies, toys, beds, blankets, and other things to take care of the dogs properly.
- Meet With Veterinarians
Get in touch with local veterinarians and establish a good relationship with them. See if anyone is willing to spend some time to regularly check the dogs, maybe once a week or month. Getting a professional veterinarian to do a full medical inspection of the dogs will help you keep the animals in good health. You should also set up contacts with nearby pet hospitals so that you can take any dog to the center in case of medical emergencies, day or night.
- Location Of The Shelter
When searching for a location to start the shelter, make sure that the place does conform to the zoning regulations of the locality. This will avoid legal troubles in the future. The location should also be within city limits so that anyone can come and visit the shelter easily.
- Raising Funds
Setting up a dog shelter will cost you a lot of money. However, you need not empty your pockets for it. Instead, let everyone in the region, including your friends and family, know that a dog shelter is being set up and invite people to donate to the cause. A well-marketed fundraising campaign will easily end up raising enough money to set up a top-notch dog rescue shelter. You can also start internet donation campaigns and raise even bigger funds.