Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 12: For the animal lover and the philanthropist

By Giselle Wedemire

Today is the last day of our 12 Days of Christmas (Shopping) Gift Guide. We hope we've helped to inspire you to shop locally, and we hope we've alleviated at least a little bit of the stress that comes with Christmas shopping. For our last day, we'd like to talk about gifts that give back.

If the overt commercialization of the holiday season has gotten you down, but you've still got an animal lover to shop for, supporting an animal shelter is a great way to do some good while giving a really thoughtful gift. 

Donating to any charity is always a fantastic way to spread joy and, unlike traditional gifts, that joy has a ripple effect that spreads to improve the life of more than just the recipient of your gift. And, since these gifts can all be purchased online -- and they require no shipping time like most other gifts you buy online -- they make for great last-minute gift ideas. (You know, just in case the sad state of mall parking lots have scared you away from the idea of going out to shop this close to Christmas.)

For the animal lovers and philanthropists in your life, we suggest gifting a donation to any one of these great local animal rescues/shelters with these gift ideas:

  • ARF's Dog Secret Santa ($75)

Screenshot via ARF
Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) has a lot of great ways to donate that stray from the traditional donation setup. They've also got an entire catalogue of donation options called Creature Comforts which, according to their website, is an "alternative to traditional gift giving". Out of the many options available in ARF's Creature Comforts catalogue is one of the most adorable gift ideas we've ever heard of: a doggy secret Santa.

This $75 donation provides a deserving canine at the shelter with proper care over the winter months, as well as a "special holiday treat and toy from Santa". If that's not enough to convince you, you'll also be able to give your animal lover the above e-card which is basically Christmas distilled.

Photo via Facebook
Located just outside of Calgary in De Winton, Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals (R.A.S.T.A.) is a cage-free, no-kill sanctuary that is open to all animals in need.  Domestic and farm animals alike roam freely at R.A.S.T.A., allowing them to live their lives the way they deserve to. The sanctuary is strictly run by volunteers, which means that every little bit helps as far as donations go. Luckily, there a few options to help out this great cause, including one-time donations and non-monetary gifts listed on their Wish List, like coconut oil for their pigs, clumping litter for their cats, and hay for their horses. 

Our favourite way to help R.A.S.T.A., though, is to sponsor one of their animals. Whether it's a cat, a mini donkey, or a potbelly pig you choose to sponsor in the name of the animal lover in your life, you'll be making a huge difference in the lives of animals who really need it. Plus, when you donate through Canada Helps, you can get a festive e-card sent to your animal lover's email address, which beats having to wrap a traditional present!

  • MEOW Foundation's Guardian Angel ($25

Screenshot via MEOW Foundation

Like the other charities mentioned above, the MEOW Foundation has great ways to donate to their cause and improve the lives of animals in need. These include monetary donations as well as non-monetary donations like volunteering your time at the shelter and donating various items on their online wish list. For a really thoughtful gift this holiday season, we strongly suggest becoming a Guardian Angel to one of the foundation's many adoptable cats.

The MEOW Foundation's Guardian Angel Cat Sponsorship Program is a great way to show the animal lover in your life that you care -- especially if their favourite animal happens to be of the feline variety. A $25 donation helps provide some TLC and a temporary home to Calgary's homeless kitties -- until they are adopted and given the new, nurturing homes they deserve, of course. Plus, you'll also be able to give the animal lover/philanthropist in your life a Christmasy e-card (pictured above) to commemorate their sponsorship.

Check out these great charities and give a gift that keeps on giving: love and compassion. From us here at Picky Bitchez, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a picky new year!

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