Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

January 24th is a special day set aside to encourage adoptions and create awareness for animals in need.  There are many ways you can change a pet’s life, no matter your budget or skill set, so pursue some of these all year long, but choose one to do this month to make a difference in the life of an animal!

Ways You Can Change a Dog’s Life

Make a positive change for your pet

No matter how great a pet parent you already are, there is always something you can do to improve your pet’s health, quality of life and bond with you.  Start walking your dog daily or change up the routine for new sights and sniffs, research the best food your budget will allow, schedule a check-up with your veterinarian or just carve out special time each day, one-on-one, to create special memories with your best furry friend.

Get involved in a cause

Animal testing, puppy mills, chained dogs, dog fighting, spay/neuter and senior dogs are only a few of the many issues you can play a role in to better the lives of dogs and cats.  Farm animals and wildlife need our help too.  Going vegan saves 100 animal lives each year!  One person CAN make a difference, so eating a plant-based diet just one or two days a week will make an impact.

Spread the word for homeless pets

Are you into social media?  It’s easy to click the “share” button and help animals get seen.  Spreading the word about a dog or cat in need, may just bring them to the attention of their soul mate human creating a happily ever after!

Sponsor a dog or cat

If your budget allows, most animal shelters and rescues can always use funding, especially for special needs pets.  Some animals require a particular diet or dental cleaning to help them thrive, while others may need a surgical procedure or medications that could be out of a potential adopter’s means.  By donating dollars, you might make it possible for a dog or cat to get the medical care they might not otherwise, along with a forever home.


Socializing, exercise and developing a bond with humans are some of the things you can provide a shelter pet.  Not only will you enhance the animal’s time during his stay at the shelter, but you can prepare him for his future family.  A well-socialized pet is friendly and more adoptable.  A well-exercised pet is likely to be healthy and more readily adopted.  A pet who creates magic when he meets a human, will tug at those heart strings and quickly get a home.  All thanks to you.  It’s a chance to get down and dirty scrubbing kennels and crates, washing dogs, transporting pets and giving back for all the blessings in your own life.


Just because you can’t make a lifetime commitment, doesn’t mean you can’t provide a loving short-term home to a dog or cat as they heal from a medical procedure or just need a place to live until their forever family finds them.  Most shelters and rescues furnish fosters with all the food, supplies and medical treatments needed.  You just supply a roof and lots of TLC. It’s icing on the cake, that by bringing a pet to your house, you are freeing up space at the shelter for another dog or cat to be cared for until they too are adopted.Adopt


pets have lost their families due to a death, economics or other turmoil.  Other animals have been waiting their whole lives for a family to love them.  Proving a forever home to a dog or cat is the greatest gift you can give, and it gives back with the adoring eyes, tail wags and amazing greetings you will receive every day of your life together.  Choose wisely as adoption is a commitment for the life of the pet.  Assess your lifestyle, know what time you have and what your budget will allow.  If your schedule is busy, consider a senior pet.  Most know their manners and are happy to gaze adoringly at you, laying quietly by your side.  Hear what these four comedy legends have to say about adopting an older dog!


Although only one day is designated to change a pet’s life, you can do it any and every day of the year! By being there for a dog or cat in whatever capacity best fits your lifestyle, you’ll make a difference that can truly change a life.

Click here for inspirational stories about 10 dogs whose lives were changed.



Denise Fleck is the Pet Safety Crusader™ having personally taught more than 31,000 humans to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better.  Her mission is to help YOU make a difference in the life of an animal through Pet First-Aid, Senior Pet Care and Disaster Preparedness classes and books.  Learn more at