We’ve all seen stories about pet adoptions surging over quarantine, but fostering or adopting a pet isn’t always possible for everyone. Have you ever wanted to adopt a pet and help give an animal a loving home, but weren’t able to due to constraints in your space, availability or means? Adopting and fostering are both great ways to help animals in need, but not everyone has the resources to open their homes to a new life. You don’t have to miss out on helping an animal just because you can’t physically house one! There are so many ways to save an animal’s life and feel like you’re making a difference. Here are a few ways you can help an animal live their best life (and even receive updates on how they’re doing!) when you’re unable to foster or adopt a pet.
Wildlife Alliance works with animals it rescues from illegal wildlife trafficking, helping to care for them during their rehabilitation. From a pangolin named Roux to a slow loris named Pey, you can browse their list of current residents and choose one to support today. When you decide to join Wildlife Alliance’s journey you receive quarterly updates on your “adoptee,” along with a personalized certificate, a photo of your animal and a sheet of facts about them. For $5 extra a month you’ll also get a subscription to Wildlife Programs Director Nick Marx’s e-newsletter, which has regular updates on all of the animals at the rescue center.
The Snow Leopard Trust works every day to protect snow leopards and their habitats from poaching and encroachment, conserving these rare and beautiful animals while investing in the human communities they share their land with. You can choose to adopt a snow leopard out in the wild, sponsor a snow leopard family or even fund a whole “flurry” of cubs. Adoptions come with all kinds of goodies including a tote, a matte photo of your adoptee, and a snow leopard plush!
Best Friends Animal Society is devoted to rescuing animals from kill shelters and giving them a second chance at the life they deserve. The society currently houses more than 1600 animals at their sanctuary in Utah, giving each one love and care while they await their forever homes. For a donation of $25 or more you can “adopt” one of hundreds of pets from a cat named Coraline to a pup named Caboodle. When you donate, you receive a printable card describing the difference you’ve made in your adoptee’s life. If you make a trip out to their Sanctuary (which is currently open to visitors) and fall in love with one of the animals there, you can look them up when you get home and virtually adopt them.
Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation’s mission is to help foster more connection between humans and other species, working to help animals that have been injured, orphaned or displaced eventually return to their homes in the wild. They also provide permanent care for animals who can’t be re-released, and invest heavily in programs to help show the public how to have a respectful and sustainable relationship with wildlife. The Wildlife Rescue Sanctuary has many different animals you can support with your funds, from wild ringtail cats and parrots rescued from the pet trade to red-tailed hawks who have been injured by hunters.
The David Fossey Gorilla Fund isn’t exactly a gorilla sanctuary; instead, it’s the largest and longest-running organization fully dedicated to gorilla conservation, making sure that the gorillas in its care stay free and wild. When you choose to “adopt” one of the Fossey Fund’s gorillas, you not only get a photo, profile, and a special video of “your new gorilla family member,” but you get yearly updates as well. You can invest in the freedom and happiness of any of their gorillas, from infants to silverbacks to parent-child duos. If you don’t know where to start, the website even has a personality test you can take to see which gorilla you resemble the most!
The Penguin Foundation is based out of Phillip Island, Australia and is focused on maintaining a diverse and healthy environment for the little penguins that call the island their home. And, yes, “little penguin” is the species’ official name! When you sign up to sponsor one of the Penguin Foundation’s little penguins you get access to so much information about the animals you’re helping and even get to provide a name for your chosen penguin.
Like many shelters, the staff at Kitten Rescue LA is devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating and recovering as many cats and kittens as possible. One thing that’s special about this specific rescue is that it has an entire section devoted to special needs cats. This is a space specifically created to provide care, love and affection for cats who, because of health complications, might find themselves living at the shelter for their whole lives. The staff at Kitten Rescue are invested in making these cats feel loved, safe and happy within their walls, and you can help! When you pick a special needs pet to “adopt,” you become a part of their story and get to know that you made a positive difference for a particularly vulnerable creature.
For the cost of a one-time donation, you can adopt a sloth from the Sloth Conservation Foundation and help an individual sloth as well as contribute to the safety and happiness of many sloths in the wild. Read through the profiles of each sloth to pick your favorite and you’ll receive a photo and certificate for your new sloth friend as well as a copy of Sloths: Life in the Slow Lane, the Sloth Conservation Foundation’s best-selling book.
With locations in Los Angeles and Upstate New York, Farm Sanctuary’s mission is rescuing abandoned or at-risk barnyard animals, giving them a safe place to live and a better quality of life. Farm Sanctuary’s animals become ambassadors for animal rights, reaching thousands via social media to advocate for ethical treatment of animals everywhere. Farm Sanctuary’s most famous resident might be Finn, a cow who went viral in 2019 for running around the New Britain woods while evading capture.You can adopt animals like Finn, Albert the donkey, Stephen the rooster or Adriano the sheep, while learning their stories and receiving periodic updates on their status in the sanctuary.
If you want to help out closer to home, you can adopt a shelter pet by agreeing to sponsor one at a location near you. Pets that are up for adoption still need help before they reach their forever home; fostering is a great option but it’s not the only way to support these deserving animals. You might know Petfinder as a resource for finding pets up for adoption, but did you know that you can also choose to sponsor any animal on their site? Homeward Trails is another resource that can help you find animals that need your help— sponsoring them now can get them one step closer to a brighter future tomorrow.
Fostering or adopting a pet is a great gesture of kindness, but it’s not the only way to make a difference. If you’ve ever felt burnt out by all the bad news in the world, or felt unable to make the world a better place, the easiest cure is taking that first step. One small act like choosing to symbolically adopt a pet can make such a big impact, whether it’s helpling a wild animal maintain its freedom or keeping a shelter pet safe and happy. The next time you feel the call to help out, or want to give someone else a gift, try looking at a few of these sources for endless ways to do some good.