It’s that time of year again, the days are getting colder, hedgehogs and bats are hibernating and many birds have migrated to warmer climates. However for the animals that remain, the festive period can be remarkably difficult. Shelter is hard to find, food is scarce and the recent floods in parts of the country have made things problematic for many species.
Both wild and domestic animals alike need extra care over Christmas. No matter if you have a few minutes or several days to spare, your efforts can make a huge difference.
Here’s how you can help:
Share some food (and water)
Food and resources can be hard to find at this time of year, particularly when the frost and snow roll in.
Bird feeders are ideal for birds that have stayed for winter. Whilst fat balls can provide key sources of nutrients – they’re also really fun to make and the perfect project for children (Click here for a easy how to guide!)
Animal shelters also feel the pinch at this time of year and rely on food donations to get through. Many shelters have wish lists so you know exactly what they need, however tinned food and treats are always useful.
Open your home
Many rescues are inundated this time of year with full kennels and countless calls for help. Fostering an animal, even for a short time, can really help in times of need and free up much needed space.
Homes planning a quiet christmas are ideal for giving senior dogs and cats a comfy break. Whilst fostering young or sick animals that require extra care can really ease the strain on staff. The benefits animals receive from foster homes are huge, such as increased care leading to shorter rehabilitation and adoption times as well as increased confidence and improved mental health. Rescues are in need of foster carers year round, but even more so during the holiday period.
Spring clean early
Don’t wait until spring, clear those cupboards now!
Those ratty, unused towels; old curtains that are sat in the back of the cupboard; the bedding you bought 2 months ago that the kids no longer like….
All of those things that are just waiting to be thrown out and taking up space could keep an animal warm over christmas and provide some much needed comfort.
Take up a hobby
Ever fancied learning to knit, maybe you just never knew where to start or what to make. What better time than now?
Old and thin skinned animals feel the cold more than most so blankets, hats and jumpers mean the world of difference this time of year. Many rescues even have ready to use knitting patterns for the items they need. It really couldn’t be any easier!
As mentioned, many charities have wish list for items they need, some also run specific events at Christmas. Keep an the on your local rescues and any current appeals to see what you can do to help.
My local dog rescue runs a shoebox appeal, where you fill a box with toys and treats for animals to open christmas day. this is a lovely idea as many domestic animals spend Christmas in shelters (I usually take a box of biscuits for the staff too as whilst we’re at home enjoying the time off they spend the day at work because animals don’t have bank holidays)
And of course there are the traditional routes. Volunteer your spare days to walk and play with animals, clean kennels, prepare feeds or….
Donate money/buy gift packs for animal loving relatives and friends. You can adopt zoo animals, shelter dogs and cats and even sponsor wild dolphins and animals (both native and exotic) with different organisations.
Any help you can give at this time of year can really help and a few minutes of your time could make the world of difference to another.
So, why not give a little back this christmas and please don’t forget those working tirelessly throughout the holiday period to look after injured, poorly or abandoned animals and give them a warm place to rest this Holiday season!!
This will be my last post now until the new year where I’ll highlight some interesting event coming up in 2016.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!