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The holiday season is a time of giving and a time of giving back.

Sadly, this season many animals will spend the holidays without a home to call their own. However, there are plenty of ways you can help them feel the love this holiday season. Keep reading to learn how you can impact those animals waiting to find their forever home this holiday season. 

1.  Adopt, Don’t shop

If you are considering adding a pet to your family soon, make adoption your first option. Visit your local animal shelter or search online for adoptable pets near you. Be sure to do your research before you decide where you adopt your pet from. Research places that are prone to being puppy mills and that are prone to having dangerous living conditions for animals.

2.  Foster a Pet

If you are unable to make the commitment to adopt a pet, consider being a short-term foster parent to a pet in need.

Rescue organizations can pull dogs and cats from local shelters with the help of foster parents who provide temporary, loving homes and socialization for shelter pets. By fostering, you also free up space for a pet in a shelter.

3.  Donate Supplies to your Local Shelter

Most animal shelters operate on small budgets and rely on donations of money and supplies from the community. Keep in mind that shelters and rescues are always grateful to receive donations of blankets, towels, pet toys, unopened bags and cans of pet food, and paper towels.

Many rescue organizations post their wish lists, making it easy for you to help them out while doing your own holiday shopping. Y

You can also check out your local shelter’s website for a specific list of needed items.

4.  Volunteer your Time

Animal shelters can always use an extra set of helping hands, and the holidays are no exception. Shelters and rescues never shut down. This means they still need people to care for and feed animals, clean the housing, walk and socialize dogs, transport animals to and from veterinary appointments, fill water dishes, keep track of medication, shred papers, and numerous other tasks.

Why not relieve some shelter workers this year and enjoy some time cuddling with animals. We guarantee you will find it a rewarding experience.

If you don’t know where your local shelter or rescue is located, find a shelter or rescue organization in your area by using the Petfinder Search Tool.

5.  Use Social Media

Follow your local shelter, favorite rescue group, or humane society on social media. Share their adoptable pets with your social network. Your share just might connect a pet with a forever, loving home!

6. Be an Animal-Friendly Shopper

Not done with your holiday shopping yet? Or are you looking to buy yourself a little something special this year? Consider buying from companies that donate a portion of their proceeds back to animals.  

7. Consider Giving the Gift of Pet Insurance

Do you have pet owners on your shopping list? Pet insurance could be a good gift. If you haven’t gotten around to buying insurance for your own pet yet, it just might be a good way to kick off the new year for you and your family as well.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.