October is national adopt a shelter dog month. Even if you can’t adopt, here are some creative ways to support your local shelter.

Most people are familiar with the standard ways of helping out at the dog shelter: volunteering to walk dogs, volunteering to clean cages, donating food, money or treats. But, other than the basics of a clean kennel with food and water, what does an adoptable dog need?

Skills to make it easy transition to a new home, of course!

These skills often mean something as easy as sitting, or walking calmly on a leash. It only takes a few minutes of practice to teach a dog to sit for a treat.

Since it’s almost Halloween, how about making some pumpkin cookies and sharing a little bit of time and a cookie with several big dogs at the shelter? (See below for recipe.)

Training starts every time you catch the dog sitting. Just give a cookie nibble and say “yes, good sit!” There are some great books about dog training – but training is something the shelter volunteers often don’t have time to do.

Of course, a well mannered dog is a more adoptable dog. So, a little bit of training may just help them find a forever home sooner, rather than later.

Other ideas? Take pictures of the adoptable dogs.

Another great selling point is if dogs are good with children. So if a shelter dog gets along well with one of your kids, take a picture!! You’ve heard the saying a picture is worth 1000 words – a picture of an adoptable dog sitting with your cute two legged child – priceless!

You could even sponsor a fundraiser and give a portion of the proceeds to the local shelter.

How about taking an ice bucket challenge and donate an hour of your time for every $50 raised – or whatever works for you?

Hopefully this sparks some ideas. In the meantime, here’s a pumpkin cookie recipe safe for dogs. And the occasional adventurous cat!

Pumpkin Biscuits (from Dinner PAWsible)


2 eggs, raw
1/2 cup (125 ml) canned or fresh pumpkin
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly ground cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) sea salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried parsley or 1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) cinnamon
2.5 cups (625 ml) brown rice flour (or almond meal flour)


Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together eggs and pumpkin. Stir in cheese, salt and parsley (or cinnamon). Add flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands (dough will be very stiff). Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press flat with a fork. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until edges begin to turn brown. Baking time will depend on thickness of cookie. Cool on a rack.

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