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The holiday season inspires many to donate their time and money to charitable causes.  The November/December 2010 issue of the American Kennel Club’s AKC Family Dog magazine reports that for dog owners, volunteering at a breed-club rescue is a great way to help dogs in need of homes, medical attention, or simply a good scratch behind the ears.

AKC clubs operate the largest network of purebred rescue organizations in the nation.  Each rescue organizations’ needs vary according to their focus breed, geographical location, and the number of dogs in their care.  To help dog lovers get started this season, AKC Family Dog offers the following ideas from AKC breed-rescue volunteers on what and how to give.  Among them:

Money.  Most rescue groups agree that this is the most versatile contribution to make, as it can cover anything from veterinary expenses to squeaky toys.  A 2007 AKC-survey of parent and affiliate club rescue organizations showed an average of 95 percent of clubs spay or neuter their rescues before adoption, and 84.4 percent provide annual shots, rabies vaccinations, microchipping, and other preventative care to their rescues.  Kathie Shea, Great Dane Club of America rescue chair, says gift cards to places like Walmart are also helpful for miscellaneous items like cleaning supplies.

Food.  Maryanne Johnson, of the Pug Dog Club of America, says food donations are always welcome.  Johnson says coupons from food companies are a tremendous help, and Shea says gift cards to major pet-store chains are often easier than an actual food donation.

Flea and tick medication.  Leanne Dayvolt, of the American Bloodhound Club, says flea-and-tick preventive medicine is greatly needed, as well as heartworm prevention.  This is especially important when dogs enter foster care from poor prior living conditions.

Fostering.  "Foster homes are a big deal," says Lynne Bunten, Chihuahua Club of America rescue chairperson.  Since few breed club rescues have facilities to house their rescues, they rely heavily on foster homes.  For those who are unable to physically foster a rescue dog, Shea suggests "virtually" fostering a dog worth monetary donations to cover regular veterinary expenses, such as food and other needs.

The AKC recommends first contacting a representative from the rescue organization for their individual wish list, as well as to see if donations are tax-deductable.  AKC rescue groups can be found online at

Additional items to donate – including supplies for new homes and even some non-doggy needs – can be found in the November/December 2010 issue of AKC Family Dog magazine.   To subscribe to AKC Family Dog go to

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