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9 Ways to Help Your City’s Animal Shelter

GUEST POST BY katie pemberton, community engagement specialist for Memphis Animal Services.

Animal shelters across the country are struggling, and Memphis Animal Services isn’t immune to that.

Some of the challenges making our already difficult industry even harder are staffing shortages, lack of pet-friendly housing leading to more pets being surrendered, more animals coming in and then staying longer, and fewer adoptions.

Your local animal shelter needs you!

Here’s how you can lend hand to help out a furry friend:

1. adopt

If you are considering adding a pet to your family, try the rescue route before purchasing from a breeder or store. There are a number of ways to rescue a pet in need:

  • Adopt from Memphis Animal Services! In 2021, we took in 8,000 pets alone. We care for so many animals, there’s bound to be at least one you can’t live without! Our adoption fees range from $20-80 and include spay/neuter, microchip, vaccines, collar/leash, and a customized ID tag!
  • Adopt from another local animal shelter or rescue group. Find a list of local rescues and shelters at
  • Adopt a pet that is being rehomed. We assist pet parents with rehoming the pets who need to find better fitting homes.

2. foster

Whether it’s for a few hours or a few days, there are plenty of ways to foster a fur baby, and we’ll provide everything you need to do so!

dog people

There are two main types of dog fostering:

  • Short-term transport fostering: foster a dog for up to 2 weeks while they wait for their ride to be transported to another animal shelter. That’s it! 
  • Open-ended general fostering: foster a dog and help them get adopted by keeping them in your home, teaching them How to Dog, getting lots of cute pics and bio info, and sharing those to your network while we share to ours! We work together to find the perfect home for the dog.
  • Foster field trip: sign up for a foster field trip to spend a few hours with the goodest boy or girl on a Saturday afternoon.

cat people

Our previous column about Kitten Season has tons of details about kitten fostering!

3. volunteer

Sign up below to volunteer with Memphis Animal Services

Volunteers are needed both in and out of the animal shelter.

Remote opportunities

  • Post lost pets on Nextdoor (currently Tuesdays/Wednesdays are needed).
  • Deliver heartworm medications to local vet clinics every Thursday.
  • Email MAS if interested.

in-person opportunities

  • Socialize and exercise animals.
  • Photograph and write bios for incoming pets. 

The first step to volunteering in person is to attend an upcoming orientation for dogs or cats .

4. make a donation

Memphis Animal Services is currently accepting donations


MAS relies on donated items to improve the quality of life for the pets in our care. 

  • Most used items are Pupperoni dog treats, wet cat/kitten food, and unopened dry dog food.
  • Gently used, clean items like blankets, towels, dog beds, pet toys, and more are needed.
  • MAS has local wish lists for Hollywood Feed (they’ll deliver to us!) and Superlo, as well as an Amazon wish list and a Cuddly wish list which also delivers the items to MAS.

check out our previous column about hosting supply drives if you want to help out on a larger scale!


When you donate money to Memphis Animal Services, you are supporting lifesaving programming like:

  • MAS Pet Resource Center, which helps keep pets with their families
  • Heartworm treatment medication, which helps make adoption possible for the half of all adult dogs that come to MAS with heartworm disease
  • MAS foster program

5. help lost pets

If you find a pet you don’t recognize, can you help them by fostering them while you look for their family? We’ll support you with our Found Foster program, provide you any supplies you need, and take care of medical needs for the pet.

6. share a social post

Let's help Memphis Animal Services find our boy Roco a forever home!

We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Help us stay ahead of the algorithm by following us and interacting with and sharing with the content we share.

7. follow the law

Local organizations like Spay Memphis offer high quality, affordable spay/neuter services.

City of Memphis Ordinance requires several things of dog owners. Make sure you’re following all the laws, but these two in particular are laws that you may not be aware of:

  • Dogs and cats over 6 months must be spayed or neutered. Make sure your pet doesn’t contribute to the pet overpopulation in our area! Check out Spay Memphis for affordable spay/neuter.
  • Dogs must be contained. While cats legally have the right to roam, dogs do not. Dogs must be on a leash or behind a closed fence if they’re outdoors. Nearly 80 percent of the bites that occur in Memphis are owned dogs allowed to be loose.


Moira is available for adoption at Memphis Animal Services! Click the photo for more details.

You may worry that this will hurt you financially, but it’s actually likely to benefit you! Check out this guest column in the Daily Memphian from MAS Director Alexis Pugh for more details.

So you see, we can all do something to help animals. Even if you’re not in the position to adopt, you can still make a difference in a pet’s life. If we want our community to be kinder to animals, we all have to participate.

stay up to date on memphis animal service's needs:

GUEST POST BY katie pemberton, community engagement specialist for Memphis Animal Services.

Looking for more ways to give back to memphis?

We’ve got a guide for that!

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