Spring Clean for a Cause
As winter makes way for spring, many of us will be taking part in that annual ritual known as spring cleaning. The warmer weather makes us want to let in some fresh air and clear out the old to make way for the new. Spring cleaning is not only a wonderful opportunity to freshen up your home and create more space in your closets, it is also a great time to do your part to help animals in need, give the environment a helping hand, and save your community some money by prolonging the life of your local landfill.
How can a little spring cleaning do all that? Let me explain. You can do multiple good deeds in one fell swoop when you clean out your linen closets. In the United States alone, nearly 15 million tons of textiles are sent to landfills every year – which breaks down to an average of about 70 pounds of textile waste being generated by each of us annually. Nearly half of this waste is perfectly reusable. Diverting this usable waste away from landfills makes good environmental and economic sense. Wouldn’t you rather let your old linens bring warmth and comfort to a shelter dog or cat instead of clogging up a landfill? Give your old blankets, sheets, and towels a new and worthy purpose by donating them to your local animal shelter.
So, what does a shelter do with your old donated linens? Dogs who have been surviving out on the street need some serious grooming, and your old towel will help at bath time. Most shelters have cold, hard cement floors which are easy to clean but not very comfortable. Your old blanket or towel will provide a warm, soft spot for a cat or dog to sleep. Shelters and rescue organizations can go through thousands of towels and blankets every month, but they rarely have sufficient funds to purchase such things themselves, and so they depend upon the public to donate these items. Many shelters will send a blanket along with a newly adopted pet to provide something comforting and familiar while they are adjusting to their new home. Cats and dogs appreciate having a comfy blanket to cuddle up in on a chilly night, just as much as we humans do. Blankets make a cold shelter feel more comfortable and help to make animals feel safe and secure in a strange environment.
New and unfamiliar surroundings can cause both dogs and cats to become extremely stressed, which can be damaging to their health and wellbeing. Anxious and frightened animals are also less likely to be adopted. A study done by The Compassion Action Institute in New York City showed that shelter animals who were given a blanket or comforter were less anxious, more relaxed, and significantly happier – which greatly improved their chances of finding a family to adopt them. Animals without a soft, warm blanket are more likely to be depressed, lonely and just plain uncomfortable – and will, therefore, have a harder time finding someone who wants to make them a part of their family.
You Can Help!
When I visit an animal shelter, I want to scoop up every single cat and dog and bring them all home. Unfortunately, I can’t, because I have already reached maximum capacity at my house. Many animal lovers can’t open their homes to new pets because of allergies, or perhaps they live in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Even if you aren’t able to adopt, there are numerous other ways that you can help animals in need. Check with your local shelter to see exactly what their needs are, and help them out with a donation of clean towels, sheets, blankets, fabric scraps, and even old t-shirts. All of these items can have a useful second life making an animal’s life more comfortable. When you donate old linens to one of your local rescue organizations, you’ll be helping yourself by creating more room in your closet, but much more importantly, you’ll be giving animals the gift of comfort, warmth and security, and the hope for a better life.