Halloween is the second largest consumer holiday in the United States. Even though many nonprofit animal welfare organizations consider Christmas to be the best time to launch fundraising campaigns, Halloween is actually better. 30% more consumers entered promotion campaigns at Halloween than at during the Christmas season. Why? Your supporters aren’t feeling the financial stress of the expensive holiday season – yet.

Consider these four advantages before skipping Halloween this year.

  1. Increased donations.
    Launching your fundraising campaign months before the holiday craziness boosts your overall donations. Your animal welfare organization supporters haven’t maxed out their budget buying gifts and are more willing to donate.
  2. Less competition.
    Shhh! Halloween fundraising success is still relatively new and many nonprofit animal shelters and rescues still overlook it as a prime fundraising time. Less competition means your campaign or fundraisers are more likely to capture supporters’ attention. Often times, supporters become overwhelmed and inundated with donation requests in November and December, they ignore or politely decline all requests.
  3. More volunteer involvement.
    Volunteers keep you up and running every day. Without their commitment and time, many animal shelters and rescues are forced to close their doors. Many volunteers have out of control schedules with extra family events and holiday preparation in December. Launching a big fundraising campaign at Halloween increases their ability to help.
  4. Innovative ideas.
    Chances are your past major fundraising drives revolved around the spirit of giving in December. You probably copied the same fundraiser from year to year. Focusing on Halloween this year gives you a NEW list of fundraising ideas. Your long-term supporters will be happy for the change.

Fundraising ideas
Do you avoid Halloween fundraising because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch? Schedule a meeting with your fundraising committee to review these # ideas and pick one to start with.

  • Partner with a local pumpkin patch or fall fest. Contact local organizations and see if they are willing to host fundraising days for your animal welfare organization. Request a portion of the ticket sales be donated to you. In addition, set up a table the day of to collect donations and hand out information.
  • It’s all about the treats. Invite supporters to your location encouraging them to bring “treats” (food, toys, blankets, bowls, etc.) for your animals.
  • Sponsor a costume ball. Invite your community to a costume party. Sell tickets in advance and then offer dinner, raffles, and costume prizes the night of the event.
  • Launch a social media contest. Encourage your online followers to participate in a Halloween-themed contest. Invite participants to submit pictures of their Halloween decorations, carved pumpkins or pets in costume. Publish them online and request donations. Every five dollars = one vote. Award your winners with online recognition and prize.
  • Trick or treat for adopters. Promote adoptions in the month of October by offering a special gift to adopting families. They can pick either a ‘trick’ (training DVD or CD) or a ‘treat’ to take home with their new loved one.
  • “Mommy and me” costume contest. Host a costume contest for pets and their parents! Encourage participants to dress as famous duos or family members.

There is success in Halloween fundraising drives and events. Don’t less this time of year pass your animal welfare organization by. Brainstorm innovative fundraising ideas or use one of these to increase your donations this fall.

During the fall, pumpkins, apple picking, fallen leaves, hiking, festivals and the football season are fun for people, and can be the inspiration for great fall activities for animals in shelters, rescue centers and foster homes.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Tasty Treats to Spice up Training

Many dogs love the taste of pumpkin, and pumpkins have lots of health benefits for dogs and cats, including:

• Improved digestion.
• Improved urinary health.
• A good source of vitamin A.
• Even weight loss.

During training sessions, dog treats made with pumpkin are an excellent high value reward.

If you’re fostering a dog, take him pumpkin or apple picking with you. Pumpkin patches and orchards are great places for you and your dog to explore. Many allow dogs if they are leashed.

Leaf-Pile Fun

Put out piles of leaves in the dogs’ runs for them to run through, jump into and toss around with you.

As dogs love tracking, you can hide toys among the leaves to add to the fun.

Cats also love playing in them and chasing leaves about.

Make sure there isn’t anything, like a branch, hidden in the leaves that could hurt animals.

Football Madness

Nothing says fall like football, and most dogs will love running around playing ball. You can be the quarterback and throw a ball for your dog to retrieve. Use a soft foam ball that’s easy to catch and won’t hurt his mouth.

For the kitty version of football, have a ball on a string that she can chase after or bat around.

Alternatively, crumple paper into a ball – cats love toys that make a crinkly sound – for your cat to chase and catch. Make sure she doesn’t chew or swallow any paper.

Getting Social at Festivals

The many different sights and sounds at a fall festival make it a great opportunity for socializing your foster dog. Check the festival is pet friendly.

Take a Hike

Hiking with your dog is easier during the cooler fall days. Start with short hikes and build up to longer ones. Things to take with you include:

• Water
• A Leash
• Poop Scoop
• Snacks

Always check dogs are allowed on the trail.

Try out these activities and have lots of fall fun with the animals in your care.

So you’re getting a new pet, or maybe you’ve already brought one home, but you have no idea what to name the little guy (or girl!).  If that’s the case, there are plenty of great ways to pick that perfect name: from watching your pet in the early stages and seeing what activities he or she gets up to, to looking at his or her physical characteristics, to simply choosing a traditional name, there really is no wrong way to find the name that suits your pet.

Here are a few tips on finding that perfect name:

Traditional Names

Many people like to name their dog or cat a traditional pet name, like Rover, Whiskers, Fluffy, or Max. They don’t care for trendy names, and would prefer to stick to convention.  If that’s you, maybe Spot or Buddy might be for you.

Physical Characteristics

Or, if you prefer to name your pet based on his or her physical characteristics, it’s an easy way to go, and one that lots of people choose.  You can go with a name based upon his or her color like Snowball or Midnight; or name him for his size and call him Hercules or even Tiny.  ‘Spot’ could fall into this category, too!

Activities and Personality

When you first bring your pet home, look at what activities he likes to do. What is her personality? Does she get into trouble a lot? Call her trouble! Is she sweet? Maybe ‘Sweetie’ or ‘Honey’?  Or is he always getting into trouble but then giving you puppy dog eyes and wiggling right out? Call him Wiggles!

Favorite Things

Finally, you may simply consider naming your new pet after your favorite thing: a favorite character in a book or television show; maybe after your favorite snack (Hershey is he’s a chocolate Lab?). Whatever matters to you is always a great name, after all, your pet is going to matter a great deal to you.

Remember, when it comes to naming your pet:

  • You don’t have to do it right away. It’s a name you’ll both have to get used to, and it’s a name he’ll have for years to come.
  • It should not be more than two syllables, as a pet will have trouble remembering it.
  • Choose a name that can’t be confused with other commands you will be teaching your dog or cat (like off, down, sit, etc).

We all need to get away sometimes.  Seeing new things and experiencing great new adventures can renew the spirit and give you a refreshed outlook on life.  When you are traveling with animals, however, road trips and flights can be stressful, particularly when they are not planned properly.

Before you head out for your next expedition, keep these animal activities and comforts in mind if you are taking your four-legged friend with you:

  • Snuggly Soft.  Your pet can easily feel anxious when they are outside of their normal comfort zone.  The same sights and sounds that you find exhilarating can create the ultimate stress for your furry family members.  Pack your pet’s bed, or, at a minimum, his favorite blanket. The familiar feel and smell will help ease discomfort that can happen in otherwise unfamiliar environments.
  • Tasty Treats.  You may use treats to reward good behavior or simply show your appreciation for your pet when you are at home, but these tasty treats can go a long way when you are in strange new places.  Pack enough of your pet’s favorite treats to last the duration of the trip.  Introducing unfamiliar foods can actually upset their stomach, leading to even more unwanted ramifications than a little homesickness.
  • Soul Food.  Speaking of avoiding belly issues, treats are not the only things your furry friend will be ingesting.  While you will want to make sure you have favorite treats on hand to let them know what a good animal they are, they will also need a substantial diet of normal food.  Be sure to pack enough of their normal food so you do not experience stomach upsets along the way.  If your pet is on a special diet, map out potential places to refill their food, should you run out unexpectedly.
  • Trick or Treat.  Plenty of pet toys these days are made to occupy the animals’ minds.  To prevent boredom, which can lead to disruptive behavior, pack a few toys in your suitcase that are created to entertain them, too.  Animal activities that incorporate treats and puzzles can be the perfect way to eliminate unwanted behaviors that can easily escalate when your pet is feeling restless.

Forming a good animal connection is essential for health and happiness for both the animal owner and the animal.  So how do you do that?

The easiest way is to think about the way people connect with their babies and even with other people.

Bonding with an animal is natural for any animal lover.  Most people love cats or dogs or both.  Some ideas to help the animal connection develop deeper and faster are:

1 – Spend time.   There is no substitute for time in a relationship.  This goes for people but also for animals.  Animals are often nervous at first but over time, they warm up and bond with their new owner.  Dogs and cats tend to “grow” on people over time.

2 – Play with them.  Both people and animals love to play.  Play is enjoyment.  For a cat, chasing a laser pointer or a ball of yarn works great.  For dogs, nothing beats a good game of fetch.  For most people, one of the reasons they get the pet is for play.  Animals are cute when they play or as some people (who like puns) say “they are more fetching”.  Animals appreciate and bond to the person who they see as their play/fun mate.

3 – Groom them.  People bond with animals if they groom them.  This can be simple petting through to brushing them.  And who does not want a better groomed pet.  Animals and people both respond to touch.

4 – Walk them.  This mostly applies to dogs.  Dogs love to go for walks and hikes.  And it is healthy for them and their owners.  Pet owners live longer according to Dr. Oz.  Pet owners have less stress, lower cholesterol, and higher immunity.  Likely a good part of this is the added exercise pet owners get.

Animal connection is natural.  Follow your instincts and you will bond easily. After all, dogs and cats are people too.  OK – so they are not really but they will seem like it after there is a good bond formed.

Winters aren’t just tough on humans they’re also hard for pets. True, they don’t have to shovel snow but unless they’re pulling sleds in Alaska, their activity is mostly limited to indoors. So take advantage of the many summer animal activities available in your area before those cold months return.

WATER. There are different forms everywhere; oceans, lakes, rivers, swimming pools. If your dog loves the water, this can be a great break from the heat. Make sure to take safety precautions when allowing your pet into the water:

  • Be aware of currents in oceans and rivers.
  • Life jackets are made for dogs too, and available in all sizes.
  • Use canine ear-drying solution to avoid ear infections.
  • Make sure the water is clean. If you wouldn’t go in, don’t allow your pet to.

CANINE AGILITY COURSES are popping up all over. You don’t have to be in training for a competition to enjoy the fun these courses have to offer. Dogs of all shapes and sizes will find something fun to do. Most courses are equipped with obstacles like tunnels, ladders and jumps. You can even build a DIY course in your own backyard.

PARKS are a haven for our four legged friends. Just make sure to check each park’s leash rules before releasing your dog. Some parks offer specific off-leash hours. If you’re camping out for the day, don’t forget to bring your pet’s favorite toy, a blanket, water, food and maybe even a small collapsible tent for shade.

NIGHT TIME ACTIVITIES are great during heat waves. Wait until the sun goes down then bring your pet along for your run, not only good for him but healthier for you.  Take your dog to a lit tennis court and toss her the ball or better yet, let her play “doggie in the middle” as you and a mate hit the ball back and forth.

OPEN THE WINDOWS in the house. Cats love to look outside, even if they’re too “scaredy“, or not allowed to go out there. When windows are closed they only get half the show. By opening the windows they get the smells and sound effects too.

No matter what animal activities you choose for you and your pet make sure you protect them from common summer dangers like fleas & ticks, heartworm, dehydration and heatstroke.

Have a safe, happy & fun summer!

Dog Blog

October 30, 2013

Are you and your dog getting bored with the monotonous walks around the neighborhood? Of course you are! Humans and dogs alike need to change it up once in a while. Luckily, there is a website for dog owners to get their  next adventure for them and their furry friend to go on. Just copy and paste this URL into your web browser http://adventure.dogtime.com.  This website also informs dog owners on pick-up tips from outdoor experts, allows owners to share their own stories with fellow dog lovers, and earn point that can be used for donations to non-profit animal organizations and prizes for themselves and their pup. You’ll never run out of activities to do with your dog!

Okay, I know you’re excited with the points so I’ll start with that. The way that you earn these points is by sharing the featured articles, posts, images, videos, etc., submitting a post, and getting your post approved and posted on the site. Check out this page to see exactly what your points get you http://eukanuba.voicestorm.com/Page/Points. Now, all you need to do is start making memories with your dog, posting them on this blog, and earning donations for great causes.