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Why cash donations to a rescue are more effective than giving actual stuff

We all understand how much rescues do for homeless animals.  We know how many thousands of hours of work they put in, how deeply they care, and how many of the people involved are volunteers.  When we donate to them, we often want to send things that are “thoughtful”.  “Oh, the animals only get the essentials, wouldn’t it be nice for them to have this toy as a special treat”, or “I’d like them to have some really high quality food, so I’ll send this bag instead of a money donation”.

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photo credit: babble

Rescues need money way more than they need toys and food and blankies.  This isn’t because the rescues are greedy!  Running a rescue is a big complicated job, and there are a lot of factors we don’t think about.

Animals don’t usually respond very well to diet changes. 

There are sometimes many volunteers involved in getting everyone fed.  Simplifying helps make sure that nobody’s tummy gets upset from changes in diet, and also prevents mixing up which animal gets what food.

Rescues often get huge discounts from stores and manufacturers for food and sometimes even for other supplies. 

For what it costs us to buy 10 toys and mail them, the rescue can most likely buy 25 toys or more.  Same for food – if the rescue can afford a vehicle and the gas, they can go around to stores they work with and pick up scratch and dent, torn bags, returned items, and all sorts of goodies.  For the $100 they may spend on gas that month, they can get $1000 worth of supplies in the door (or more).

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There are so many items rescues need! Rolls and rolls of paper towels, bags of litter, litter scoops, food bowls, leashes, collars, trash bags, carriers, brushes, nail clippers…well, you get the idea.  It is the little things we forget.  We remember food and toys, but we may forget that Neosporin and cleaning materials and a million other things are also necessary.

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We also have to remember that many of the animals in rescues can’t be supervised all day every day.  This means the toys and blankies have to be limited, so no accidents happen and result in choking or blockages.  While at the rescue, the priority has to be on keeping everyone healthy and safe, so the animals can make it in to a forever home.

Typically, the veterinary bill is the biggest expense a rescue has. 

Most rescues find a generous vet to work with, and keep a running balance going on the books.  But emergencies happen, or sometimes a rescue has to take in a lot of animals at once (and of course the vet has to check them all out).  Funds in the bank make veterinary care possible. 

We know you care.  The rescues know you are trying to be helpful and kind.  Rescues so badly need our support, and giving our time, our expertise, or our money all helps dedicated people save lives.  However you choose to support your local rescue, we thank you!


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